Tales From the Bishop

Word. This is Bryan Bishop, AKA Hawiian Bryan, AKA …er … some other stuff. A lot of you know me already. That’s good! I’m a good person to get to know. What else should you know about me … hmm …

Well, for starters, I’m a college student, majoring in ending up a down-and-out freelance writer. But hey, don’t hold that against me. Somebody has to be a down-and-out freelance writer. I should probably shut up and get to my column before Bear starts yelling at me again. He’s always so abusive when he’s drunk.

Allright, column time. Here we go.

The De-Evolution of Rap as a Cultural Art Form

Don’t be nervous by the big words, this is a rather simple observation. With the exception of a few artists such as Mos Def, Outkast, and Common, rap is slowly turning away from it’s origins as a way of expression of many things (anything from bad food in ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by Sugarhill Gang to Arizona’s decision not to celebrate Martin Luther King day in Public Enemy’s ‘By the Time I get to Arizona’) to a manner of self-glorification. Perhaps the only reason Eminem did not come across as a new incantation of Vanilla Ice was by not coming out draped in platinum and gold. And for such a revolutionary figure, what does he rap about ceaselessly?

Eminem.

It gets annoying after a while, doesn’t it? Turn on your radio. Go to any top fourty station. Listen for the rap or hip-hop in there (avoiding such calamities as Justin Timberlake and ‘Jenny from the Block’). What do you hear? What is being said? Let’s take some choice lyrics out of the collaboration of Ludicris and Mystikal, ‘Move Bitch’.

‘I’m doin’ a hundred on the highway
So if you do the speed limit, get the F*CK outta my way
I’m D.U.I., hardly ever caught sober
and you about to get ran the F*CK over!’

and, a wee bit later, Mystical adds his humble presence to the song.

Young and successful – a sex symbol
The b*tches want me to f*ck – true true
Hold up wait up, shorty
“Oh wazzzupp, get my d*ck sucked, what are yoouu doin’?”
Isn’t that magical?

OLD SCHOOL – I hate that phrase, ‘old school’. But it doesn’t really have any negative connotations, does it? I have yet to see something that totally sucked being described as ‘old school’. Maybe old shit, but not old school. And being old school doesn’t mean your done. Check out ‘The Art of Storytelling’ by Slick Rick and Outkast. Old School meets the best of New School.

When I listen to rap (and even though I’m a southern white guy, I do listen to it) I listen to old school, mostly. Why? Because it’s better, in my opinion. Next time you’re out and about, give some Project Pat a listen. See if your IQ doesn’t drop. Then pop in some Public Enemy. Not only did they sound good, but they had a point. Give NWA’s ‘Express Yourself’ a little listen sometime. I know what you’re thinking. ‘This idiot got all his songs from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.’ And to that I say… well, yeah.

Dammit. Now I look stupid, and it’s only my first column.

A Vain Attempt to Regain My Dignity

Okay, so I don’t know anything about rap or hip-hop. So sue me. You know what I do know about? Eighties music. Not the underground stuff that never made it to the top, or the famous powerballads. Nope. I know about the baby-blue Micheal Mann bubblegum sound. I know that ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ has a whiny girl version done by a whiny girl band called ‘Frente’. And you probably know that too.

Dammit, I’m still looking stupid. Okay.

All I’m saying is I have a passion for those long-lost days when Reagan was president (although I am a staunch independent somewhere left of the Democratic platform), when big hair and sneaker-stealing was in style. I also miss Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird. Was there a better rivalry in the history of the NBA? Although Yao Ming and Shaq looks promising….

I’m off the subject again. Dammit, Bear’s gonna take me to the woodshed.

Allright. So, music. Okay.

I’m from Arkansas. Country ain’t as big as you’d think here. We have shoes. We even have some nice lookin’ broads. We almost never wear straw hats and marry our cousins.

Almost. (sigh)

Well, I think I’ve embarassed myself enough for one column. Next time I’ll go into how ‘Dead or Alive’ re-invented the eyepatch, and I’ll also investigate hidden meanings in songs such as Madonnas ‘Like a Virgin’, Oingo Boingo’s (?) ‘Turning Japanese’, and many others.

Well, that’s it. Bye!

2 thoughts on “Tales From the Bishop”

  1. hi,

    i agree to a certain extent rap is de-evolving, being a close follower of rap i have found that the trends you talk about are mainly seen through the mainstream rap circle from the like of as you said ludacris, chingy, nelly and 50 cent. This is the trash i usually try to avoid, but it is what is coming ever more common on the radio because of the appeal it has on young kids (and this is the stuff i mainly listened to as an 11 year old boy) who are the majority of buyers in the hip hop industry these days. This is why the huge rap empires are the labels who release the most garbage but still rake in the most dollars where as true lyrical talent such as common mos def talib kweli is goin a miss because they do not follow the trend of the mainstream rappers who are now flooding the airwaves today. But i still do see some light of hope in rappers such as nas rakim krs who will hopefully bring bak the glory days when being a rapper took more than having good production.

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