Give this post a soundtrack

[…] The mini-fad for referencing turn-of-the-'90s hip-hop may just be
an accident; the samples Pretty Ricky, Lloyd and Musiq Soulchild employ
have been mined by other artists, including Nelly and Ini Kamoze.

But
by vocalizing these hooks instead of just interpolating them, the
younger artists claim a legacy. Lloyd and the members of Pretty Ricky
were barely in grade school when Salt-N-Pepa and PM Dawn were at their
peak; Musiq probably admired De La Soul as a teen. This music echoes
forth like a favorite children's story, a hint of a more innocent, if
not simpler, time.

Perhaps the pumped-up Lotharios of today
want a break from all the bump and grind, and dream of eroticism as a
realm that celebrates not just performance, but as Prince Paul said,
bodies of all kinds.

"The talk turns suggestive," Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times

[…] During her '90s crusade against rap's habit of degrading women, the
late black activist C. Dolores Tucker certainly had few allies within
the hip-hop community, or even among young black women. Backed by folks
like conservative Republican William Bennett, Tucker was vilified
within rap circles.

In retrospect, "many of us weren't
listening," says Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting, a professor at
Vanderbilt University and author of the new book "Pimps Up, Ho's Down:
Hip-Hop's Hold On Young Black Women."

"She was onto something,
but most of us said, 'They're not calling me a bitch, they're not
talking about me, they're talking about THOSE women.' But then it
became clear that, you know what? Those women can be any women." […]

"Has rap music hit a wall?" Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press

[…] Local hip-hop artists Boots Riley from the Coup and rapper and producer
Kirby Dominant express reservations about hip-hop university classes. "One
time, someone came up to me, and said, 'I know so-and-so, they're a professor
at Harvard, they're a big fan of your work,' " Riley says in a phone interview.
"But that doesn't impress me more than any other people feeling that way. I
don't need to be validated by academia because that presupposes that academia
is a pure endeavor and not guided by market forces, which is not the case.

"Anthropology, for instance, was all about studying the natives so they
could figure out how to control them. Again, the natives are being studied."

Dominant, a UC Berkeley alumnus who actually attended the much-publicized
class on Shakur in the late '90s, says that he finds value in hip-hop studies,
provided they take the long view. "With hip-hop and all black music, you can't
talk about the art separate from a lot of other things," he says. "You can't
talk about hip-hop as an art form without talking about the people, the
economics, how and why it was made. You have to be pretty thorough." […]

"Academic hip-hop? Yes, yes, y'all" Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle

Vox Hunt: A Favorite Song from ’06

Audio:  Share one of your favorite songs from 2006.

Pitchfork: There was a track written about on Pitchfork recently, "Something Isn't Right", the first track on Scale,
and the writer, Mark Pytlik, said that you could tell in a few moments
it was a Herbert track. And I think that's true; despite how different
your records sound from each other, there is something there, a thread
through them. I know that at various times you've talked about music as
a way of getting away from ego, but I do feel like there is something
you can't get away from. I'm not sure exactly what it is; to me it
seems like a rhythmic sensibility that informs your work, a swing that
sound like Herbert. Are you aware that a part of yourself is in there,
regardless of the materials you're working with?


MH: I'm not. I'm really not. I know I have patterns and I've always
tried hard to avoid them. There are definitely certain things in my
music, if I'm looking back, "Well, that was a period where I was
experimenting with a certain kind of chord structure or a certain kind
of sound." I've tried really hard, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you
what that sound, what that tangible sound of "me" is. I think rhythm
is, when you talk about rhythmic sensibility, quite perceptive in that
I like to have at least one thing that is at least common or familiar
to the audience. Other than rhythm, the only thing I could say is that
I take a great deal of pride in every single sound I use. I'm always
making sure that I'm not using a pre-set or something that everyone
else has done. I try to be original in every piece of music I do, and
of course I probably fail every time.

Pitchfork: Let me ask you– that moment in "Something Isn't
Right" where he sings, "Do you re-mem-ber?" First time I heard that it
reminded me of "September" by Earth Wind & Fire. I was sitting with
my wife and I asked her, Do you think that's a direct reference to that
song, or is it just a few notes that sound similar?

MH: There is a very slight reference there. It's a reference to the
11th of September because that's what the Earth Wind & Fire tune
was called. I almost had it "Do you remember? The 11th of September?"
But there was no way I could possibly put that in.

Pitchfork: So that's the kind of reference you're talking about, where you embed those kinds of things in the music.


MH:
Exactly. And the record's full of them in different places. It's
kind of like, trying to use every weapon in your arsenal to point
people in a certain direction.

Reaching for the stars

There are boxes and boxes of paper and newspaper and receipts and CDs in my room. They can't stay there forever, but they certainly can't stay in the storage unit about a block away from us. I am hopeful that somewhere in there, perhaps in the three green regulation Government Printing Office ledgers, are lists of some of the AT40 lists I used to keep. It's a hope against hope. I have much clearer memories of legal pads snuck out of my mom's home office and pencils honed on the sharpener in the kitchen. When I stayed home and listened to Casey Kasem, I couldn't have imagined the Internet, much less music blogs, Last.fm or Pandora.