Money, sex and power is a dangerous triune, fraught with a troublesome downside. In the right place, a blessing but ain't nothing like Hip–hop to express a desperate and tawdry vision.
But the beats are banging and the raps are full of verve and swagger. Forget the analytics: "it's fun, fun, fun... till daddy takes the T.Bird away". Or in this case, until the next on the conveyor–belt gets plugged in to appear and bring a new and bizarre twist to it.
Kick myself in the post–seduction and an emerging sense of stupidity, in how easy it is/was — to groove along. Yet, not my lot or on my playlist, so for research purposes indulge away. Get to like a lot/a lot but... then comes the qualm: What unimpressive nonsense and the joke is on...
Now, who would that be?
Ain't the middle-class jump-about festy pups, rapping line by line with Drake. Somehow they can celebrate along and make the song their own. It's proud, ruckus and the excitement like little else going.
Don't too often, have quite the environmental challenges of the broken US inner-city. Not that it's where Drake's story is at. It's best of times and try not to gloat.
Will get to the redeeming aspects but in the main, it's more naked emperor and the empire. Not for disclosure or discussion, else, the bubble pops and the substance turns into a sham. Might be oh–so flash and hypnotic. The sounds are colourful and inviting, words a clever and memorable lick. Forms a culture and language that feels fresh and sexy. The identification is in poetry that's big on being rude and bravado. Full of developing slang, which the initiated–into, repeat until it becomes their own. Hey, gotta say, have been doing this myself.
A computer programme checks the spell works. Oh yes, most is a form of linguistic programming that defies a rational understanding alone, and why–works.
All a blast, if not looking too deep and its design for mental enslavement and shekels, for the few, who're never seen.
Sure, it seems from 'the streets'. The talented talkers, the glam and glitz, but it's closer to teen TV. Suits Drake.
Yet, it got warped into an empty but effective idol, to sedate and manufacture consent. All straight out of the top-floor executive class. No surprise then and the direction, considering where the vision came from, and what it's about.
OK it's fun, art, entertaining and what interests its in-crowd and fans. What is anything else so better than, or a cut above? What rock, or this, or that... No. Fair enough and Hip-hop can charge me up, quicker than about all else.
What gives me a hangover is where they pretend and blindness gets talked up as true life. Where it tries to get serious about itself and preach a message of hope. When the girls, gold and gaudy materialism is set up to disempower and impoverish. For all the meaning talk of better times and the masses.
It's a wind-up and a white-man initiating con. About as ghetto and black as the US local Walmart, or here in the UK and Tescos.
Might be rapping on and on about downtown inner-city. Supposed trickle-down empowerment in the example of riches and opportunity knocks. The handful hit-makers and crew did it — "and so can some of you". The way out is to rap or produce, make the media, or benefit through the surrounding industry.
Yet, it only existed and exists, to suck every last cent and penny profit it can into the posh rulers' pockets. The lords of the manor are not the tough black men fronting it in their shiny cars. Sure, here and there, a representative one or two, make many millions. All in all though, even they're forced to bow and suck. Not something to smash home in a lyric and bounce along on a banger.
Informed in more recent years by first–hand witnesses. It was about ten years or so from the turn into 80s start, that rap got knocked into Babylon shape. The 'Majors' marched all participants into their boardrooms and dished out the instructions. Not a discussion or something to resist. Who held the distribution and pre-internet means of sales? Out the boot of the car was good to get going. As for radio, TV, larger venues, festivals and CDs in stores? Banker-based moguls held the strings and laughed at the tough-talking rap star in a dream.
The line told the crowds "you can be like me and here's your escape route from social exclusion". An opportunity to be a superstar. The glamour and girls, the toys and attention. Sell, sell, sell for us, us and... well, us. You get the beads and mirrors, we are your conquering invaders and robber–barons. Smile for the camera, and grab a girl now.
In the film King of Comedy, Rupert the dreamer, looking for a crown, explains it like this:
And all that leads straight in one direction, Rita Hollywood. That's when we really start living. How does this sound to you, a beach house in Malibu, right on the ocean. You'll get a beautiful tan, believe me. And we'd keep a suite at the Sherry. That's the only place to stay when you're big. We could get something on a top floor and look down on all our old friends in Clifton and just laugh. How does that sound to you?
Hip-hop came up in the shadow of the early 80s new production and classic electro–dance music. NYC radio hits and mixes. It seemed a novel and who–knew where it would go? White boys and girls were into the UK and post-punk. Reggae was the main black music and it began to combine with electronic and — yes, Hip-hop.
The initial response to Hip–hop was of a novel musical experiment. It somehow appealed to the overwhelming white majority who were yet to get into 'disco'.
The US and UK were getting over the initial wave of punk and reggae.
By '81 about the first taste of something that different came to the UK in a hit and tour by Afrika Bambaataa. Black music. Not at all a big thing. Few nights and DJ's, a late-night radio show. All about imports with a smattering of homegrown outfits.
Today a release of a second video for Drake's summer smash with Chris Brown. Lots of gorgeous looking gals and an encouraging message: Self-deprecating humour and dancing.
Seems a clear attempt to set an example and tone to take hip-hop that–a–way.
If — and anyone still reading — here's me on a Saturday spit and get on my horse. In a grumpy vein and struggling with my love/hate experience.
BUT: Must admit, after reading loads and watching this and that, am encouraged about Hip-hop. My take is Drake wants to do what good he can with those he rates as comparative and peers. About the last thing I saw, was yesterday's release and a second video with Chris Brown and what a cracker. In some ways, it's a bullshit antidote. The message is a lead and hope, and influence.
Here are my two redeeming and no–issues with Hip-hop. First; Hip–hop did not come out all swinging and happening. Apart from what looked like working-man's-club in the Bronx called Jungle Fever.
(One difference was the sign on entrance booth, requesting people hand their guns in).
Aside from three Grandmaster' hits, Hip-hop never played on the radio. There were three ever–blaring and everywhere, all–day and night, radio stations. These were in the throws of the new electronic production of these now-classic songs. The change was ad-free long mixes.
Hip-hop found space for live shows and DJ–ing in the small clubs catering for post-punk/new wave. Still more or less Brit–centred and yep — put colour into it — white people.
For the record. There were no dance clubs in NYC from 1981 to '84. Not ones anyone at all, had any idea, existed. The dance/disco hits were not that recognised. Considered the music of the masses and if anything were of Puerto Rican influence. In NYC, Salsa was equivalent to Reggae in the UK as the ethnic street sound.
In the late 70s, two spaces the Loft and Gallery had begun what we all now know in our era and a dance club. These were small party-like affairs. By the turn of 80s two underground and off the cultural map places, became the first proper 'clubs'. The larger one — The Paradise Garage — only let in members/guests.
The all-night through till mid–morn crowd were — might as well say, ALL... — gay people. A few women and, hard to recognise, straight-men. The other was smaller and called the Funhouse. Another gay oasis. Larry Levan at the Garage, and Jellybean Benitez at the Funhouse.
Labouring this to explain where the lights out/stacks of speakers/all–nighter's began.
It was gay people who got it. No one else and clubbing, except say, Jungle Fever — as mentioned.
And to get round to where Hip-hop/Rap was at and my first, all-good and no-fussing, aspect. It was backing music for dance–crews, busking in the streets of mid/uptown, Manhattan.
Had the best blast going through clips of dance-classes and showcase routines on a Drake song. No indigestion here and something wonderful to behold. Life and energy are genuine and often magical. Nothing pretensious and awkward here. It's where Hip-hop works.
On to yesterday's Drake/Brown new video. Sure is a pro-set-up and the message is it's better to dance than spat about like childish idiots and mouth off. Worse, see violence.
The other positive and Drake the goodie message is the humour. Not least self–deprecating Drake. Marvellous and again, clear on, being–political.
Drake is the catalyst for an upsurge in Hip–hop and the influence in combining up with R&B.
My thoughts are Drake wants to do what can on the peace and let's get–online. Could see him make a final album and the movies, and who knows what–else, will be his next move. He can act and do comedy. He can compare and would run a TV show of some kind, with a high level of confidence. All things being equal, he's on the way to being the most recognised person in media and the arts.
Another encouragement is the arse he makes of himself. Mr smooth and formidable, the champ among champs, looks like signs of independence. Whoever makes up Team Drake, doesn't seem to protect him from certain foolishness.
Once he gets to have a love–up with Kanye, my bet is music–retirement, except the odd jump–on, once in a while.
A final inevitable Nos. 1 hit and he'll glory in claiming an undefeated run.
The nuts spending and thrills at expensive things are asking for a slap and re-think. Kanye can't shut up about the meanings and morality. The dumb trinkets are not befitting.
To close. Any thoughts and exaggerating the claims about the financial. Here are some approximate accounts.
(Note: Drake's been the catalyst for a new wave in Hip-hop. The broader appeal and a final take over from rock and be the biggest of pop. (Yes, I thought it already was but it must have been its combo with R&B that assumed the claim. It was only a recent, knock rock/and the rest off).
Do the numbers thus-a-way:
Drake makes 11% from album sales. $300 million sold, he gets about 30.
Touring gets him 85%, although there's a crew to look after. His 2010 tour alone earned him more than half of all he'd earned in total, thus far. By 2016, he managed in three months to pull in 72 mill. Of which he pockets, 54 mill. That's 1.3 mill a show. He's made about 180 million before tax – so after that? And the endorsements are unknown. One cutsie number is a company gave him a £185 mill. plane, for the publicity, he might generate.
The property he's bought and the building is all the manifestation of a lost and seeking in stuff. For instance, he has bought a ton of purses and handbags, for "the wife to come". Somewhat an investment, it's still berserk. Talking another mill. and more.
One clip had him show a near–on, million quid watch. All somehow reveals, the childhood struggle over–done and looking for outlets. Got all that watch and on it are schoolboy–level sexy sayings, that come up like something you'd write as a nipper on a homework folder.
Final knock — but is so funny and reading The Guardian fool for it — to suggest he can freestyle, that well. 'Fire in the Booth and Drake' is making a recording of a song, and pretend. Not a word, off the cuff.
Drake is an actor but is endearing and has reconfigured Hip-hop over the past three or so years. His background isn't as straightforward as supposed. The maturing Drake could rejuvenate Dance and Humour. While who-knows-what might go down with Kanye. Not playing a certain kind of silly-buggers, he's all about finding what matters and how to win friends and influence.
Nonstop opens with, I just flipped the switch...
Need some switching. Need some credible ones, who see what Hip–hop is —and— isn't.
(Done Saturday — now got a Plant A Seed to do, to keep my self-disciplined end up by close. Ah well, keeps me bashing out and something... else)