@voyou I shall prefer to believe with the cheerful Fourier in all these stories rather than in the blockchain, where there is no lemonade at all 21 Jul 17 Reply Retweet Favorite

Hip-hop is dead

You can tell, because KRS-One made a record saying that it wasn’t.The funny thing about KRS’s track, and (even more) the video, is that it’s all about the past.

Watch: KRS-One – Hip Hop Lives

A friend of mine said to me when Kanye West’s last record came out that he liked it, but it wasn’t hip-hop. I didn’t really get what he meant at the time (I mean, it’s a bloke talking over records, what more do you need, right?). But then I saw a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel with a performance from West, which got me thinking, and then Tha Carter III came out, which got me thinking even more. Maybe this is the early moments of a new genre, in much the same way that R&B arouse out of soul and disco in the late 80s. With Graduation and Tha Carter III (or perhaps Common’s Be is a better place to tag as the starting point?) hip-hop has generated a new form of pop music, something which has been implicit in hip-hop’s de facto position as the dominant genre for some time, but is perhaps beginning to lead to a formal reorganization only now.

This makes sense of KRS-One’s “Hip-Hop Lives.” He misses the point, of course: hip-hop’s death doesn’t mean that no-one listens to hip-hop any more, or even that no-one makes it. But it does mean that hip-hop is a specific and closed set of tropes: exactly, in fact, the set of tropes reproduced and reinforced by KRS’s video. Hip-hop now occupies the same position as jazz, in that it’s a genre as an object of curation, rather than as a catalyst for a movement. Hip-hop continues to be produced, then, but either as a kind of painstaking old-school reconstruction or a mainstream pastiche; the latter, of course, is best exemplified by 50 Cent, the Harry Connick, Jr. of gangsta rap.