Friday, February 25, 2011

Hip Hop is Fearless

Just when I thought I'd gotten a handle on the whole hip hop thing, here come these cats.

I remember when OutKast's Aquemini album came out back in 1998. I had been anxiously awaiting its release. When I bought it, I put it in the cd player of my car and began listening to it everyday on my way to school. I hated it for about two weeks.

But it wasn't Outkast's fault. It was mine.

You see, anytime an artist makes a significant and extensive leap forward in statement or aesthetic, the folks who consume their work have difficulty fully integrating the new information. We need time to catch up. These cats go into their studios, theatres, and writing rooms and devote hundreds of hours to advancing their work. The good ones are taking huge risks and making real progress, inevitably cruising right on by the artistic sensibility of their audience. So it can be a challenge for us observers and commentators to stay on the leading edge of the movement. It absolutely requires us to be completely open and witness the work with the mind of a beginner.

That's why I'm completely enraptured by this video. These cats scare me, in a good way; not because they have masks on or sound like death metal rap. But rather, they are hip hop artists that are taking an extraordinary risk in the type of music they chose to make. Their risk challenges me to envision an entirely new avenue down which hip hop may travel. I'm excited to see where their journey takes them. I'll be checkin' for 'em.

Because Aquemini is a classic.


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