Saturday, August 30

B.I.G. & Tupac: Did music die along with them?

Okay, most of you will slowly start to realize I am a huge fan of the Golden Era in Hip-Hop and by Goldern Era I mean 1994-1997. During this time, music was everything to me. Everything that came on the radio was in heavy rotation in my car and walkman. It was even more exciting that I was actually working for some of the record labels producing this music. But back then, it wasn't just Bad Boy and Death Row giving us hits, every artist was at their peak around that time. From Nas dropping "Illmatic" and Jay blessing us with "Reasonable Doubt" to true talented rap groups like Wu-Tang & Tribe Called Quest blessing the mic. And what about R&B? It was at it's peak in my opinion. Mary had all her greatest albums (My Life, What's the 411?, Share My World), Faith, Jodeci, SWV, Xscape, and even Total and 112 was holding it down. No T-Pain voice encoders to save your singing back then.

Which brings me to the subject at hand. I started analyzing the time frame of Biggie and Tupac's existence in music and I came to a very eerie conclusion. I am huge Notorious B.I.G. fanatic. Possibly one of the biggest you will ever meet, but I do respect Tupac's work. Even though I never bought or played most of his music, I do acknowledge his place in rap history. I also know that his presence is still missed and emulated by many artists that are out today. This is happening to a blatant extent. I knew once I saw 50 Cent tatted up and dissing artists for promo with his infamous underground single "How To Rob" that this is the niche' these new up and coming rappers were going for. The slick talking gangster image was born. DMX embodied it a bit, but I've met him before and I don't think his image is fabricated. I do however have a hard time believing 50 cent is a "rider" or "gangsta" when you are surrounded by New York's finest police men at all times. It's just screaming "gimmick" to me.

What happened to music after 1997? It almost seems like things died down and didn't know what direction to take. Do you remember when there were tons of male & female R&B groups to choose from? It was an era where there wasn't just Beyonce being a bad bitch, we had Toni, Mary, Faith, Deborah Cox, Mya, Monica, Brandy, and our very own Whitney Houston even had sick music on the radio. The list is endless. These two men had something that pushed other artists (even if they weren't in their genre) to the limit. I dare you guys to name more than 5 major artist who were slacking around that time, LOL. Don't worry I can give you time to think because you'll need it. Even recording artists who weren't that big, appealed to us and made us buy their records. There was so much style and variety. The sound was unique and fresh. It was a new palette. A new canvas they painted from. There were many references and influences but it was tastefully done without obvious copying. BIG was inspired by Big Daddy Kane, and managed to not sound like him. Pac is a known poet, which has had excerpts praised by everyone down to students in college courses, and he didn't write like Langston Hughes. These days I can't hear a record without the robotic T-Pain effect or anything not produced by common producers. So what did these two men posess that brought the best music out of our favorite artists? Guess we'll never know, but I know this, no other two lyricists will ever be close to equivalent. The Notorious BIG never wrote a rhyme on paper. What does that tell you? Natural talent at it's best :)

Till next time readers