Sunday, February 28, 2010

Debate Topic: Old-School Hip-Hop

You always hear people talking about old school hip-hop, or sometimes the golden age of hip-hop. Do these periods overlap or are they different? What are the time periods for them?

For me, I'd say that Old School is stuff like Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Sugarhill Gang, Run DMC, early Beastie Boys, etc. Even Tone Loc would count. It started at the dawn of hip-hop. That style can still be done, but most old school hip hop ended with the release of The Chronic.

The Golden Age of Hip-Hop I'd argue started with NWA's Straight Outta Compton and ended in the late nineties when Jay-Z came to prominence.

Any other thoughts?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Nick Jonas moved up and down the cool meter in just one day.

About a week ago, one of the Jonas Brothers actually did something that grabbed enough of my attention to elicit more than the usual eye roll: he went solo. Nick Jonas will be the first Jonas brother to make a solo album, which could be good as it might mean that the brothers will go on hiatus. Of course, it could mean three times as much Jonas product on the street....

The reason I don't treat a solo Jonas project with complete fear is that the article I read about it mentioned that Jonas is backed on it by the New Power Generation, Prince's back up band. I'm not sure exactly which members he has playing, but this might include such luminaries as Maceo Parker, the saxophonist from James Brown's golden days, and Larry Graham, who invented slap bass while playing with Sly & the Family Stone. Renato Neto is an amazing keyboardist, the kind who can make a 17-minute instrumental solo out of an inconsequential b-side like "God." This had the promise to be something truly great.

The next morning, I woke up to read about Nick's comments on Lil' Wayne and the rerecording of "We Are the World" for Haiti. Lil Wayne was chosen to sign the part of the song originally sung by Bob Dylan, and he was humbled by this and despaired to the producer that he couldn't sing. Nick joked on some talk show -- Leno? -- that Dylan couldn't sing either, so it was perfect to have Lil Wayne sing his part. Maybe Prince should be a little more careful about who he loans his band to, but then, at the original "We Are the World" recording, Prince walked out despite being the guy to walk away with all the Grammys that year.