Today's Wash. Post: "Sorry, rock fans. Hip-hop is the only genre that matters right now."

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Typical WaPo pablum. It's less about hip hop vs rock than it is about the author writing a self-aggrandizing monument to his own sense of superiority, lived vicariously through the achievements of people (hip hop artists) who have little in common with him. No wonder newspapers are dying when half the editorials are consist of a writer trying to passive-aggressively prove that he's better than you and your bourgeois taste. He spins his false rap-vs-rock dichotomy through the lens of hot-topic socio-political grievances, which have only ever been one aspect of either genre and shouldn't be used to establish the value, popularity, or "relevance" of any type of music.

The real explanation for the rise of hip hop vs rock is pretty simple and completely ignored in this article. For one, the Old Media, from newspapers to their wheezing online equivalencies (Buzzfeed, Pitchfork) to late-night comedy shows to radio stations, heavily favor it. Its values and worldview are in total sync with the monolithic ideology of mass media. It is easier and faster to create and produce since much of it is made on a computer, as opposed to a live band setup demanding considerable resources for recording instruments (on top of the cost in time and money for more musicians to compose, learn, and play the parts.) This also makes it easier for kids to start creating it, I imagine.

Hip hop and EDM are extremely efficient and play to the strengths of immediate appeal, radio airplay (heavy compression, brickwalling), and cross-promotion, as hip hop artists frequently feature collaborations with other famous artists, which is much rarer in rock, and seems to help create and perpetuate additional stars. To say nothing of sampling familiar songs, which can also be a hook. There's no shortage of interesting rock artists, but their music is mostly under the radar because nothing about it lends itself to the market compared to the immediate appeal and promotion of hip hop. The change in the marketplace, who is consuming the music, and how they do it, is more responsible for the de-platforming of rock than anything else. Finding good rock music takes effort; good hip hop albums are frequently blared from the rooftops and get conspicuously rewarded with Grammys. Every so often a rock artist like The War On Drugs breaks through, but it's pretty rare these days.

Music should be judged on its own merits, not whether it plays into some larger socio-cultural narrative. I can't relate to much of anything in the sentiments of hip hop, which doesn't add to its appeal for me (which peaked in about 7th grade, when every other suburban white kid was listening to hip hop nonstop mostly to annoy their parents. I quickly realized this is a pretty dumb reason to listen to any type of music.) That's fine; I'm not the target audience, and I don't presume to be some great judge of hip hop music or anything like that. I'm sure there are lots of objectively great hip hop albums out there. They're just not very interesting to me.

Beyond that I don't care about the rhythm or complexity of the rapping vocal style. Musicians who do interesting rhythmic things on guitar, bass, or drums are much more interesting to me. I realize some hip hop artists use live bands and instrumentation, but it's clearly the exception. The interaction between members of a band playing their instruments together is a huge part of what makes music interesting to me, and hip hop is mostly about the vocalist.
 

stratovarius

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The thing that amazes me is that rock music could linger on life support as long as it has.

The joke in all of this is that rock musicians continue blaming the audience. We have met the enemy and it is us.
 

jerrycampbell

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The author is making it sound like Hip Hop is the first to use music as a vehicle for commentary.
No it's not, you're being defensive, confused and angry.
The author is making the point that hiphop is currently a more vital and immediate art form for youth, which is hard to deny.
TGP doesn't handle hiphop well.
But apparently some guy got kicked out of Ratt, and that's what really matters here.
 

OldRicky

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From most publications I've read today :

"Stunning"
"Brave"
"Complexities of Modern African-American Life"

I can't wait until they brag about how it's terrible music full of racial slurs that isn't made by old white men, especially considering that it's from the Washington Post.
 

kwicked

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It's poetry to be sure, but computers ain't music. And yes it is exponentially more important than rock music in today's youth culture. I don't have a real problem with rock fading, but would have liked to see new music rather than computers replace it.
 

dansworld

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We sound like our parents did describing how horrible rock music was.

Yes, we are becoming our parents.

I do not, however, appreciate the tone of the article. A little snarky, part condescension and trying too hard to justify the premise. I have to admit that I just don't get it (the genre), but that's understandable because this is the next gen's music, not ours.

Plus so much of the music many of us enjoy is out of the mainstream of "rock" anyway, so perhaps this doesn't hit as hard home as we think it does. There will always be guitar music, creative endeavors for guitar and interesting and eclectic music made naturally by human beings and not machines.
 

dansworld

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Amazing ... people still read The Washington Post!

I do, it continues to be a reputable news source who also picked up a few Pulitzer's recently as well. I especially enjoy Carl Leonnig's investigative reporting.

Plus, their mobile app is the best of it's kind I have EVER used. Some of them out there are miserable.
 

bforest4

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I actually had some hope, after hearing Kendrick Lamar's last album with real jazz musicians, that was rather groundbreaking. This latest album is back to the usual programming, huge step backwards, can't believe this was awarded a pulitzer, what a joke... I blame the music business for burying rock music and pushing it out of the spotlight.
 

Hugh_s

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I still say this is Hip Hop's shark jump.

The Pulitzer for music isn't awarded to modern and vital stuff, ever. The WaPo writer can say whatever he wants, that doesn't change this fact.
 

Blanket Jackson

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Perhaps we should look at Op Ed pieces like guitar solos - interesting to consider, to appreciate skill of execution, to discern influences and personal interpretations, to break up the flow of the day, but understand that they are essentially self indulgent and if you are basing your own playing on them then you have not yet really found your own voice. Just a thought.
 

nycLPplayer

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Derp derp rock isn't dead and I don't even like rap therefore this Opinion article does not compute and cannot be true and I am triggered. Also I blame the newspaper(s) because "they don't like" a certain person who I have tied my personal identity to. Also John Legend is not talented at all because he also does not like that particular person.


 

Blanket Jackson

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I still say this is Hip Hop's shark jump.

The Pulitzer for music isn't awarded to modern and vital stuff, ever. The WaPo writer can say whatever he wants, that doesn't change this fact.
I thought that Dylan's Pulitzer was as much for his body of work as for the object being considered. That of course does not mean the object being considered was modern or vital, just the Pulitzer Committee wanting to acknowledge that the body of work had been.
 
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