June 17, 2010
Last week, we talked about a brief resurgence in popularity of 30s and 40s big band music, aka “Swing.” Swing was wildly popular for a hot minute, the bands critically accepted (if not always acclaimed), and lots of hip people dumped lots of money into zoot suits, dance lessons and the various other accoutrement’s of the genre. A few bands made some big dollars, got to perform on Leno, and then that was it. Nobody bought Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s second album, because nobody cared about swing, once popular culture had deemed the movement passé, and labels stopped pumping money into them. Eighteen months after the 90s became the 40s, it was over. Britney Spears came around. Things got dark for a long time.
Most fads (for swing was truly a fad-no one gets dressed up like that every Friday night forever) happen just like this. The 90s were chock full of them: Tamagotchi, sour gumballs, punk-ska (which lasted longer than swing, but still died a lonely death), etc. I’ve begun to realize that part of the reason there was no great guitar hero in the 90s-note that Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White weren’t joined by a 90s counterpart in It Might Get Loud-is that the 90s; even more so than the 2000s; were all about style over substance. Even in the wake of Nirvana, the radio was inundated with cut-rate imitation groups, bands that copied the sound but never approached the heart. It’s amazing to me, now, that the Goo Goo Dolls are experiencing a resurgence in popularity, trucking out the familiar old hits on a culture that never (non-ironically) asked for them. I imagine it’s the same feeling folks who grew up in the 80s felt when I was laughing and screaming Eddie Money songs in 1996.
There’s one group, however, that gets lumped in with all the other ridiculous fads of the 1990s that deserves a hell of a lot more credit than they get. This is a group who have weathered a declining music industry and universal ridicule by all the world except their fans. Despite zero support from radio or MTV, they’ve sold millions of records over the last twenty years. That group is the Insane Clown Posse.
October 17, 2009
THIS WEEK IN HIP HOP
On Tuesday, VH1 aired the 6th installment of their annual Hip-Hop Honors awards ceremony. While in previous years the show has followed a format similar to a Hall of Fame induction ceremony, this year’s program was dedicated solely to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the most important Hip-Hop record label of all time: Def Jam. One would hope that all music fans know at least a little about Def Jam, but even if you have been trapped under a sunken ship for the past 25 years, and think you’ve never heard of the label, I guarantee that your ears have frequently come in contact with Def Jam’s music. Def Jam has been home to Hip-Hop’s most elite artists since day one. Their untouchable roster has included: The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, EPMD, Jay-Z, Nas, The Roots, Scarface, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Ghostface Killah, and DMX among hordes of other influential and extremely talented musicians. These artists combined with the visionary genius of Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and Lyor Cohen literally changed music forever.
VH1 deserves a ton of credit for putting on this event. For a TV station that built itself upon safe music for the middle-aged, and then developed into a reality TV powerhouse, when it comes to shining light on what Hip-Hop is all about, they surprisingly drop a steaming shit all over BET and MTV. Let’s try to forget about the White Rapper Show and focus on the fact that they have not only included hip-hop artists in Behind The Music and Storytellers since the hit series’ inceptions, but additionally, have consistently used Hip-Hop Honors as a great way to expose younger generations to the great rap artists of the past. We should all be thankful that at least one station has done the wonderful deed of dedicating a miniscule 5% of their programming to quality Hip-Hop.
More on VH1 Honors Def Jam’s 25th Anniversary
New Jane’s Addiction Songs Have Frontman Farrell on the Edge of His Seat [Billboard]
Patrick Wolf Plays New Songs at Le Poisson Rouge [SPIN]
Vampire Weekend Wins Over Wordsmiths with “Oxford Comma” [Stereogum]
Green Day and MySpace Set Up “Secret” NY Gig [Rolling Stone]
Oasis Gets All Altruistic [Live Daily]
Interscope Signs Gossip Girl After First Gig [Idolator]
Checking In on Camp Cocker [Stereogum]
If You’re in Detroit This Summer, Crash Kid Rock’s Party [NME]
Murdoch’s Musical for the Females [Prefix]
compiled by Elana Jacobs