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Context: HipHop

Quora Answer : What is your favorite Rap song?

Sep 1, 2018

Digable Planets : Black Ego

The intro / skit is pretty long and, frankly, boring ... just jazzy widdling ...

But hold in there ... with the volume up ... because that moment Mecca, the Ladybug comes in on the first verse is one of the most chillingly beautiful and spine-tingling moments in any piece of music , in any genre, ever.

The first time I heard this (I'd just bought the tape and was listening to it on headphones) I literally had an eargasm at hearing Mecca's mix of ASMR intimacy and black radical self-confidence; all set against that weird desolate cosmic backdrop that makes you feel you're watching nebulae dancing at the heart of the universe.

And then when the drums hit 12 seconds later I was (metaphorically) spurting all over the place. (Apologies for the imagery, but I have a point to make here, people.)

Then it gets boring again ... why do they love that jazzy guitar riff so much?

It gets pretty good again when doodlebug and butterfly do their thing over the verse music. Then the playout it execrable. Unless you like some dude actually doing live jazzy widdling for about 3 unnecessary minutes. (Sorry jazzy guitar dude, I had a friend who loved that part, it just wasn't for me.)

But, really, it's Mecca's first verse which is one of the most sublime, perfect 40 seconds of music ever created by human (or insect) kind.

Quora Answer : What is your favorite rap music video? Why?

Aug 20, 2018

It's hard to love hip-hop videos.

Most of the time they're just "me and my teenage mates goofing off". Or "me and my teenage mates pretending we're either a) gang-bangers, b) billionaires, goofing off". Increasingly, goofing off in some soft-porn fantasy.

There are a few that go beyond that. Anything by Tyler, the Creator is usually pretty striking. Innovatively weird.

I think Danny Brown's "Ain't it Funny" is great. But grim.

Alt. rappers sometimes have some pretty good videos.

But it's definitely hard to "love" them.

Pushed I'd probably say this :

Outkast's B.O.B.

It's not that it's immune from a bunch of hip-hop cliches but Outkast manage to make this look like they're hosting possibly the best party in the galaxy. A party that you'd actually want to go to.

It's full on, high-energy assault from the first few seconds, and never lets up.

It has those amazing, lush inverted colours. Which really does make it look like another planet and does justice to Outkast's ATLien afrofuturist / funkadelic aesthetic.

It feels like it's a community thing, everyone wants to, and can come to this party. Rather than it being some vain exclusive ritual to show off and flatter the egos of the rappers.

Even the girls actually come across like hot girls going to a party to strut their stuff and enjoy themselves, not just bored models faking sexual stimulation. This thing might actually be fun for them.

That white-faced goth /mime girl dancing during BigBOI's verse is awesome. The gold-toothed girl driving the car is awesome. The gospel choir are awesome. The guys drumming on their MPCs are awesome.

It's a whole interstellar carnival where people can be what they want. Communitarian, creative, inclusive, individualistic. While there are several examples of hip-hop videos that aim at this community party vibe, few manage to be quite so spectacular and frenetic. And do it with such verve.

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