Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rap Music and Funny T-Shirts

I'm still a fair few years from grey but I can tell that with every passing year I slow down a little. I'm rarely out of breath any more. I plan. I drink less. I'm finding more time to think before I act - or speak. I'm rarely rushed. I have time to read, and swim. I relax. Why is this? I don't think its the Aussie heat - I think I'm just getting older - and I like it.

But some things don't change - and I hope they never do. I still love rap music and I still love funny t-shirts.

T-shirts are easy to defend. What can be more selfless than putting a smile on the face of a stranger - and asking for nothing in return. And there's a lot to smile about. Life can be very funny assuming the necessities of living are all sorted out. We can only speculate about why we're all here or what might happen tomorrow but we can be absolutely sure that laughter is good. It's healthy, it's harmless, and it feels sooooo good. So to every single person that has ever worn a t-shirt that has made me smile. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Compared to a funny t-shirt, the rap in my headphones is more difficult to justify at 31. The truth is, I agree with the critics to some degree - most rap is terrible. But I appreciate that in those few cases when the tune works and you hear a few lines of lyrics that are absurdly creative - it's pure genius. I eat it up. There's nothing better for me. 'I'm sick for it'... as the Aussies say. If you can't appreciate the wit and creativity of some of the best rappers - I don't think it's their fault.

I'm no musician or avid listener but I know what I like: a slow rolling base drum. I don't have a good ear for 'la musique' so to me the average Oasis song with all the overlapping guitar sounds like a complete mess but a slow rolling beat with one or two simple instruments added - that's crisp. I like pauses, I like simple melodies, I don't like noise. And if I can't hear the lyrics - forget about it.

The best part of rap are the lyrics. Like many fans of the genre, I'm able to largely overlook the topics and themes (which are often - but not always - repetitive, cocky, masoganistic, dirty, usually a bit angry or 'criminal') and appreciate the creativity and the cleverness. The message is often blatantly sarcastic anyway. To me 'over-the-top-cocky' is much more appealing than just 'cocky' because of the obvious sarcasm. Plus, I love the wit and I love the slang - the 'invented words' - the 'shorties' and the 'knots'. I might also point out - incase you're wondering - that I obviously don't care in the least about the fact that I'm white while most rappers are black. And no, I can't relate to anything in their songs and I don't care about that either. We can't relate to 'James Bond' either but we still find him damned entertaining. If the concept of 'black vs white music' is actually something you think about - I'm sorry to tell you that you're a bit behind the times. Jay Z said it well recently in a fantastic song called 'Off That' - 'it's 2010 not 1864'. I just listen to what sounds good.

For my ideal rap song try this. And here's one more, a recent Jay Z jingle that expresses his displeasure with audio-editing software that makes singers sound better than they actually are: here ya go.


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