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(TV) rap

"And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools trying to anaesthetize
the way that you feel."    Elvis Costello

In all fairness I can't categorically dismiss the entire genre of rap,
that's in part why I signed my post "Philistinely yours". Of course I liked
Public Enemy, Spoony Gee, The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and few
others. I met Professor Prince Paul once and he turned me on to a lot of
old-school R&B, weird New Orleans stuff, tons of soul music that is great. I
think from a production standpoint, sampling or spinning, it's an art. I've
seen some great dj's in action, and to talk to them their knowlege about
music is broad. The best ones see connections in all sorts of music, from
Euro-pop to R&B to rock and roll. I acknowlege that there is an adventurous
spirit in some of the best of it, but in the end I find it to be just party
music, and to me music has got to be more than just being funky. A lot of
the old-school R&B that is most frequently the source in hip-hop, James
Brown, the Meters, Parliament et al., while funky as it gets, is incredibly
interesting in terms of it's tight, contrapuntal ensemble playing. The
musical shapes they make are timeless. Part of my visceral response to rap
has to do with the fact that much of this music it uses as a base now sounds
played out to me. Whatever initial creative spark there was in hip-hop has
been so thoroughly marketed to sell everything to everyone that it has no
credibility to me anymore, and that's too bad. Also, a collective amnesia in
terms of musicianship seems to have taken hold, I think in large part due to
the influence of hip hop. I taught a few years ago in some high schools in
NY and to listen to anything other than hip-hop was anathema. This is
definitely because of pop-culture mass-marketing, and there is no other
culture offered in the school. This is what you get when you have a
conservative government elected by liberals wanting security, "culture"
becomes a tax-deductable program sponsored by Starbucks. We have a president
who cuts social programs and professes his favorite jazz(!) musician is
Kenny G! And yet most liberals champion him. Meanwhile our kids are going to
grow up never hearing about Charlie Parker unless it's in a textbook warning
of the dangers of heroin, or a hip allusion in a Spike Lee movie.

I think it's interesting that a list like this one even exists. All of us
have a yearning for the sleazy 70's it seems to me, a time when the freaks
ran the show, and musician/poets like Tom Verlaine, Patti Smith and Richard
Hell had a brief hold on fashion and taste. Joe Hartley's posting of the
Zappa quote about today's so-called "happening" record execs who actually
promote the most insidious form of convention perfectly illustrates my
point. Our collective nostalgia for this interesting moment in the past I
hope would spur us on to making interesting work that has some meaning. All
artists need a network of like-minded folks around them, as Television and
the whole CGBG's scene did, maybe this list in a way can serve part of that

See you all,
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