Old School vs New School

Now I haven’t talked too much about music, but for those who has known me for years understands how much music has been apart of my life. About two weeks ago I heard a song on satellite radio that sounded like LL Cool J, one of my all time favorite artist.

I’ve followed LL since “Radio” his first record back in 1985. I even have rare original versions of two songs from that album. So when I researched to see if he was releasing another album I was excited. I’m a true Old School Hip Hop fan and can dig deep into the crates of the genre. Not just back to the “Golden Era” of Hip Hop, but back to King Tim III, DJ Hollywood and Sugarhill. I’m not old at all; I was just introduced to it at a very early age.

So you know that an article like the one I read on MSNBC about a report of LL Cool J (James Todd Smith) was upset over being beat out by Jessica Simpson you know I had to read it.

Now I can say that Hip Hop has dramatically changed. I’ve started to put it in two categories: Hip Hop and Rap. You may think it’s the same thing, but it’s not. Most of the crap you hear repeated every hour on the radio with DJ slurring their words and screaming is not a far cry of what Hip Hop use to be about.

Speaking of DJs, where did the DJ go?

I’m not talking about the so-called disc jockey in the club, but the real DJs. Like DJ Babu from Jurassic 5 and Rob Swift. I see the rapper, but where’s the DJ?

I admit there are some songs that has no meaning, but a good beat that I listen to, but I can count the number of artist that you may hear on mainstream radio that has paid their dues and songs has substance such as Nas, Jay-Z and Common. We see others make their way into television and film like Will Smith, Ice-T, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Mos Def and I can’t forget my favorite Rev. Run. There are a few others, but not much more.

Kanye West, Slum Village & Jurassic 5 are a few of a handful of Hip Hop artist that you hear, but they can’t do it all. I don’t think you’re ready for Jean Grae.

I don’t get to hear groups like Mobb Deep or even Public Enemy on the radio anymore unless I’m listening to XM Radio 65 “The Rhyme” or “Backspin” on Sirius Radio and of course the occasional “Old School Friday” on your local radio station. I don’t have anything against the newer artists, but everything doesn’t have to be chopped and screwed or talking about how much of material possessions you got. I heard one group sample “Money (Dollar Bill Y’all)” by Jimmy Spicer recently. Now I can guarantee that some of you reading this now who are Hip Hop fans don’t even know who that is or remember the song.

LL Cool J’s newest album “Exit 13 is worth buying if you love Hip Hop. I know eventually I’ll have to confront the reality of his last record, but let that is at least 5 or more records down the line.

A 16 year old may blast Sojah Boy in an ’88 Oldsmobile Cutlass, while the 36 year old is bangin’ LL or P.E. from ‘88 in his BMW 530i.

I understand where a lot of these artists are coming from, but think that Hip Hop has finally reached a point where it has two distinct generational audiences. I would love to see a revitalization of Hip Hop or an Adult Contemporary Hip Hop music category.

Bottom line for me LL Cool J is Classic.