No Trivia

Madlib, Cutting-Edge Producer.


Noticed that Madlib’s on the cover of the latest issue of Wire magazine and this, coupled with the hub-bub about Passion of the Weiss’ whatever whatever “Top 50 Rap Albums of the 2000s” list has me thinking it’s 2003 again–when you know, making an argument for why rap that wasn’t exactly capital-R rap was just as awesome was a new enterprise or something. When I’d have to explain to people that got in my car that indeed, my enjoyment of Three-Six Mafia wasn’t just because I hadn’t yet been exposed to El-P and The Roots. It was years-festering frustration with that sort of thing that really got this blog rolling.

Anyways–why isn’t Zaytoven on the cover of Wire? Bangladesh for “A Milli” alone? Or if it’s legacy, well I already bitched about Juicy and Paul covering the magazine. Surely that shit’s roving around the sounds of Reich or Riley (and Rubin and Rick Rock and RZA too) much more than Madlib’s stoner boom-bap. Imagine Dilla without the craft or the context. The point is, rap’s really weird and awesome and still kinda folk-oriented because it’s often in the mainstream or close to mainstream that all the brain-busting stuff’’s going on.

That’s to say, totally normal people are dancing every night to the melancholy electronics and sound-effect percussion of “Turn My Swag On”…and obsessing over the wordplay of Gucci or Lil Wayne. Even something like the layers of corporate-sheen synths heard on a Runners track has more in common with a group like The Skaters (also featured in this month’s Wire) than Madlib’s stuff.

Ignoring this hyper-mainstream avant-garde or wandering around it to celebrate Grind Date or the mannered dystoproduction of El-P or the third-generation mumbles of Aesop Rock or MF Doom, is odd when an avant-garde and a sincerity deeper and kinder’s no longer bubbling up out-of-reach on cassettes and mixtapes but becoming the dominant musical force for the entire decade.

It’s similar to the critical think-pieces that highlighted “the death of irony” or a “new sincerity” in art during the 2000s as if being sincere and real, not being ironic, wasn’t how much of the world has lived for most of time. Suddenly, Madlib or El-P grafts some explicitly weird weirdness onto their beats and the motherfuckers doing this in their basement for years get pushed to the side. De La twirl around in their own assholes and people gulp it down like its Buhloone Mindstate. Huh?

This isn’t anything new, but it’s an extension of something connected to the significance of provincialism/regionalism–it’s always been the provincials that create that new new shit–and the reality that regular ol’ people are the ones setting trends and it’s the hip, cool, and with-it that follow.

Written by Brandon

August 8th, 2009 at 4:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses to 'Madlib, Cutting-Edge Producer.'

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