I haven’t made a habit of posting on the weekends, but I decided that various odds and ends warranted a day of miscellany, overlooked items or unsolicited submissions. It’s a good way for me to catch up, and maybe give the readers some breezy weekend material.
The first installment of the Grab Bag starts with the new E-40. I’ll be honest: I’m more of a “backpack rap” (ugh) kinda guy. Gimme some Hiero, some De La, some Digable and I’m a happy dude.
Seems the backpack vs. street rap debate has been heating up, with Pitchfork contributor Tom Breihan staunchly defending placement of certain artists (Beanie Sigel, Young Jeezy, etc.) on P-Fork’s year-end Top 50 list. Breihan calls the indie-rock backlash against mainstream rap “more than troubling, it’s shameful.” He makes a valid point – that “indie-rock supposedly prides itself on open-mindedness and liberalism and independent thought” – though I resent him calling De La Soul “granola-munchers.”
I’m not one for arguing this point, as my grasp on the latest surge in street/mainstream rap is limited. But for some crossfire, listen to Oliver Wang’s excellent commentary on NPR: “Has Hip-Hop Lost Touch With Reality?” In it, Wang states, “As hip-hop gained popularity and power it’s become more enraptured with its self-created worlds and less engaged with the actual world around it.”
To that end, I will say that seeing these videos and MTV’s Cribs, who can relate to this stuff? Breihan argues that there is no discussion of the rap itself, as an art; it’s more “outright dismissal.” But the image some rappers put forth is a turn-off. There’s nothing in the lyrics that strike me personally, and that’s what part of the listening experience is about. (Did I say I wouldn’t argue the point?)
So, with all that as a backdrop, I present Tell Me When to Go, the new track from E-40, who might well fall under that “street rap” category. The song has a cool beat and catchy chorus (loop copped from Run-DMC’s Dumb Girl).
E-40 | Tell Me When to Go