hip hop music

December 22, 2005

Some Good Hip-Hop Reading

When I see a writer on a site like Slate, covering a topic like "hip-hop and jazz," I usually brace myself for a painful ride. But this take from David Adler was a happy surprise, showing no signs of wackness whatsoever:

Two Turntables and a Saxophone
How jazz plays off hip-hop.

When I e-mailed a knowledgeable friend that I'd be writing on jazz and hip-hop, she replied, "Man, can people stop talking about this already?" She's right, in a way. The jazz/hip-hop nexus is simply a cultural and genealogical fact. Turntablists, MCs, and jazz musicians are collaborating every day. And yet the impact of hip-hop on some of the best new acoustic jazz still isn't widely understood.

To borrow a term from DJ Shadow, jazz and hip-hop are omni-genres, held together more by musical and cultural philosophies than by any limiting parameters of "style." While hip-hop has devolved time and again into disposable pop, it has never lost its vitality as an underground, alternative art form. This is the aspect of hip-hop that jazz musicians are responding to; they're encountering hip-hop on creative rather than commercial terms. And they're refuting the popular view that today's jazzers are stuck in the '50s and '60s.

Also weirdly intriguing, if you missed it: Rappers' rivalries create totally weird social-network science

Posted by jsmooth995 at December 22, 2005 8:52 AM

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