January is winding down and we here at GrownHeadz realize that everybody else has already published their lists of hopes, dreams and ‘can’t-wait-for’s for 2010. But missing firsties has never stopped us before.
Our Christmas cards routinely arrive around Martin Luther King Day — we buy afrocentric ones to hedge our bets (they’re going out this weekend, mom, promise). So embracing the spirit of procrastination, we proudly present the last post to welcome in the New Year:
Hip Hop Wishlist for 2010
5. Real Death of Auto-Tune
We remember a time, not so long ago, when a rapper would get his boy from the block who can “sang” to do the hook on his song. Think TJ Swann with the Juice Crew, or the man who took it to the next level, spawning multiple hits and an imitator or two, Nate Dogg. No gimmicks, no hook ups, just one man, one mic and usually, only one note but we aren’t getting into that right now.
With the popularization of Auto-Tune, EVERYBODY is unleashing their inner Al B. Sure (not even close to being a compliment). Enough is enough. We’re not saying we want to see T-Pain’s kids in the poor house or anything, but we’ve been checking our clocks and that trend should be hitting the 15-minute mark any time now.
4. Positive Paradigm Shift
Alright let me get my grownhead, grown up rant on for a second. Can some rapper somewhere please, PUH-leeeze have a huge street/radio hit talking about something positive? Better yet, can two or three artists have big street/radio hits on some non-gangsta, non-clubbin, non-materialistic subject matter?
It doesn’t have to be an anthem, just be something we can really feel. Let it blow big enough that the labels and powers that be run out and try to find more rappers like that. And that the artists have good lawyers.
3. Adult Hip Hop Radio Station
All the kids who used to bump Run-DMC, the Fatboys and Whodini and now have kids of their own, stand up.
Alright, sit your big ass down, but I made my point: Us grownheads are all growed up now and in a prime demographic that advertisers like. Once some smart radio jock figures this out and spins hip hop from 1984 to 1996 exclusively, they will rule the adult urban market in their city.
2. Dope Female MC Catches Fire
We’re not asking for much, just for a female emcee to bust above ground who’s so brolic she’s undeniable. You know, like the first time you heard Em and thought, damn, whiteboy can flow. It’s been a long time since a dope female had a hit.
Back in ’92, there were actually enough female emcees to have their own concert festival. You may recall ‘Sisters In The Name of Rap,’ hosted by Dee Barnes and featuring Yo-yo, Lyte, Latifah, Salt N Pepa, Roxanne Shante, and about 20 other lesser-known rappers. Our own Resident Alien won a copy from Black Beat. But now? They can’t get enough ladies together onstage to give away a Grammy. The culture is suffering from the lack of female perspectives, and young girls need lyrical champions, too.
1. Strong MC from the Freshman Class
B.O.B, Kid Cudi, Asher Roth, Wale, Drake, Jay Electronica. Throughout 2009, this was the shortlist circulating on the interwebs for the Next Big Thing: the few, the proud, the fresh who would carry hip hop into a new age.
Several of the gents, like Asher and Cudi, dropped B- projects; the albums were decent, but their success rested mainly on one hot song. Wale and B.O.B. promise more brilliance than they actually deliver, and half of Drake’s appeal is just from being so out of left field. C’mon, ‘Degrassi Jr. High?’ Only Jay Electronica hits that heart, despite no major release.
We understand that it’s hard to live up to the hype, but when talking about game changers, WE think names like Rakim, Snoop Dog, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy. Things weren’t the same once they dropped, and their songs became classics.
The new cats got a few nice songs, but we can’t really picture a 20th anniversary release of “Day and Night.” But I guess we shouldn’t judge too harshly. On the strength of their first releases, we might have misgauged PE, BDP and the Fugees’ skills, too. Keep hope alive.