Friday, February 19, 2016
PEN & PIXEL ART SCOPED THRU ROSE-TINTED STUNNA SHADES
BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!! - Kanye West
They say Bill Cosby rapin' people / Not the Jell-O man! - Boosie Badazz
In spite of the premise that rap forgets its history, the genre increasingly shows reverence for its past in the form of Cash Money (and No Limit) homages. The shortlist: Bankroll Fresh's "Hot Boy," Nef The Pharoah's "Big Tymin," Jacquees's "Like Baby," "Get It How U Live" by Zoe Realla & Baton Rouge's freshmen class*, and 23.7% of Lil B's catalog. Future retooled "Ha" on Beast Mode. Kodak Black owes outstanding debt to the estates of Juvenile and Soulja Slim. This month Boosie threw his rag in the ring with "BG Shit," while Shady Nate and Lil Blood flip "400 Degreez" on the Bitches On Dope collaboration. Both are somewhat easier to explain than some of the trend's more mystical entrants. Bitches on Dope is a collection of new takes on old standards, and BG is Boosie's peer, roughly—a real person, not a play-actor in a multimedia Southern rap ideal. Trickles in a groundswell, maybe, but what does it all mean?
A pinkied-up treatise on nostalgia is not hip-hop, so we ain't about to prance down that lane. Suffice it to say that while nostalgia is a trap, it's a shot of Botox that not every moment in time enjoys. It might devour songs good and bad, but it doesn't happen without reason and cause. The Cash Money homages wouldn't exist if they didn't satisfy a common demand. Kanye West, a man obsessed with his own place in history, borrows the ándale and E.I. from Nelly's 2000 hit on "30 Hours"—a campy tip o' the hat in a song engaging directly with the past. It's a blatant act of Millenial pandering from the guy who invented Millenials, and one not likely to take root as anything more than another ironic swatch in the great Post Malone patchwork. In 2016, Cash Money is cool and Nelly is not, except maybe in some inverted way. Yet Nelly was more popular than any Cash Money artist, and the "E.I." and "Hot In Herre" callbacks will inspire winces of recognition from everyone who had them play soundtrack to the erectile mishaps of 7th grade slow dances. Which begs the question: is nostalgia more about self-love or self-loathing, or does it operate on a sliding scale?
All these Cash Money homages, and Meek Mill still won't release the unabridged "Ha." Ya boy still tryna process The Life Of Pablo over the din of a thousand white bloggers typing with reckless fury. For a son of College Dropout, there's no exercise in nostalgia like wallowing in an album where levels of Old and New Kanye fluctuate like the balance of urine and water in a kiddie-pool. Sustained by the search for truth and a big box of porn, this is RAP MUSIC HYSTERIA! signing off from the darkest corner of your public library.
* Credit: Hotbox