Old and new hip hop

90s Hip Hop VS Now

The so called ‘Golden Era’ 90s Hip Hop VS Now is something that is regularly debated.  Often in favour of the former.  People want to talk about how the youth of today just don’t understand Hip Hop.  I hear the arguments but to be honest I think it echoes that of the older generation moaning about Hip Hop when it was first developed.  Or similarly the older generation before them complaining about this new ‘evil’ Rock music, or ‘devil music’ as some would have referred to it.

Golden age advocates will say Hip Hop used to be about digging for old vinyl to find those rareOld and new hip hop samples to build your music and how Hip Hop DJs used to have to display ‘genuine skill’ unlike the laptop DJs of today.  But this to me is very much the same as the adults from the 80s and 90s complaining about how these Hip Hop kids don’t understand music because they sample others work rather than writing their own, or how they ‘talk’ over a drum beat rather than sing.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I loooooooove Hip Hop from the 90’s golden era.  I’ve done my fair share of crate digging for vinyl and still know how to use an MPC2000XL, a machine that many golden age Hip Hop purists still think is the best thing since the first James Brown loop.  I still got my ton of vinyl, still know how to cut and scratch on vinyl with 1210’s and know how to mix by ear rather than visual cues.  But seriously…. Why are we still complaining about the new music technology and the kids of today?  Just because the old technology was more difficult doesn’t make it better.  Opening a tin of baked beans with a rock isn’t better than using a tin opener…  I really don’t see what the problem is with using DJ software like Serato.  Or sampling from wav files, or using midi mixdeck controllers… If people find them easier and they manage to get the same effect more power to them.  All the fans really care about is how you make them feel and whether they enjoy the music or not.  How it’s done or created is of far less importance.  

The arrival of DJ and production software and midi mixdeck controllers is an inevitable progression.  Much like the development of sleek mixers with smooth cross faders made especially for turntablist DJs.  Can you imagine how things would have been if technology stayed the same and never progressed beyond the 70s?  Half the amazing skills developed by the likes of the ‘Invisibl Skratch Piklz’ would never have been possible.  

There are people that are either of the golden era or emulate that era and I got nothing but love and respect for them!  I’ll still be there supporting them and parting with cash to see them at shows and hear their music.  I still spit curmudgeonly bars with nostalgic whimsy for the old school too but I really don’t understand all the hate for today and today’s music industry blah, blah, blah… The only constant in life is change.  Don’t like it?  Go fuck off back to your coal mine hahaha (….kidding :P).

As far as music is concerned I still find tons of brand new stuff that I actually enjoy.  Let’s stop whining that it’s not the 90’s anymore and let’s learn to accept that things change.  Every era has good and bad music.  There’s been throwaway music for tinny boppers since pop culture began.  I love music from the 90’s, also from the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s…. Fuck there’s some shit from the 40’s I’ll shake my arse to!  What up Glenn Miller and all the man dem??

BUT there’s 00’s shit I love to death and some of the new shit that comes out today is cool still… 

An older Hip Hop fan I know made a very good point with regards to this 90s VS now debate.  He argued that in some ways the new school is in fact closer to what Hip Hop was originally about than the 90’s…. His quote being “Hip Hop was started to move kids away from gangs and drugs and in many ways it was used in the 90s to glamorised them and appear macho. The current era is returning to a more open and fun centric attitude, more peace unity and having fun than mean mugging and having a gun.”- Big up to Mark ‘Badbelly’ Lang for that one!

Golden age advocates, I hear you and respect your view.  But let’s try to be balanced about it and let’s try to avoid sounding like our conservative parents 🙂

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  1. My only prob with today’s stuff is it seems that a lot of acts are not trying lyrically, and lack creativity. They also miss the mark on opportunities to emotionally connect with their audience.
    It might be my personal preference, but it’s like a fair few tracks are way too treble-ly (is that a word? LOL) as well. I like stuff with more bottom.
    That said, you are right about the attitude people have about today’s hip-hop. I notice purists call today’s artists rappers and eschew “rap” in favour of “real hip-hop”, when one comes from the other, period. Hip-hop is a culture, and the rapper is part of that culture. If you rap, you are a rapper, end of story. All emcees are rappers, but not all rappers are emcees. I also notice that some acts seem to have forgotten that the whole purpose of the rapper was to get people on the floor; I’ve seen complaints about “this dance shxt” all the time, that it’s not real. Even the pioneers seem to be forgetting that. It’s sad.

    • Big up Gata!

      Yea I agree. Many peeps get it twisted and forget what ‘Master of Ceremony’ really means…
      I notice some mainstream rappers have a much more gimmicky style and that tends to lack in emotional and perhaps lyrical depth. But then I guess that’s the case for a lot of pop music in general, regardless of style.

      I think the ‘treble’ly’ issue (great word, haha) is a reflection of the ‘loudness war’ we are now in. As a large number of peeps now listen to music on smart phones and iPods there’s been a quest to make music as loud as possible without having to turn up the volume. This means a lot of music has been compressed to fuck with large chunks of the audio essentially being chopped out. When you blatantly chop out audio, the bass is often the first thing to go. Leaving a nasty ‘tinny’, yet louder master. It’s annoying and I certainly prefer beats with more low-end too. The good thing is that it’s not just you and me. Plenty of other people notice it too. The over compression of audio has become over-saturated to a point where even general middle market listeners notice it and want to give their ears a break. That’s why you’re starting to hear songs with more dynamic range become popular in the charts again and also why vinyl is getting a resurgence.

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