Following Footsteps into the Dark
One step beyond
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - "First of the Month" (Instrumental) (mp3)
The Game - "Why You Hate The Game" (f/Nas & Marsha of Floetry) (mp3)
"Y'all lazy... complain about labor pains / N***a, show me the baby"
How do you properly pay your propers? The thought crossed my mind a number of times during CMJ, a marathon dedicated to spotlighting "new" music. The week-long event still lives up to its name by highlighting numerous acts that hope to find relevance on the college radio circuit and beyond, though it has always made sure to include its past success stories: on one end, Stephanie McKay stepped out from the background and the Bird and the Bee touched ground in the east, while on the other the Knife made its U.S. debut and Cody Chesnutt debuted a new soulpera. That said, it was disappointing to see a profound lack of age diversity -- being considered passe after dropping an undie hit single a year-and-a-half ago is a shade sad, isn't it? Sure, the Fall, the Slits, and Suzanne Vega were plugged in amongst the PYTs, but few bands even bothered to mention their venue colleagues. In the increasingly rabbit-paced industry, must we all be so absorbed in our own "artist development," that we can't even give it up to our predecessors? Do they only serve as people to replace?
I've been thinking about propers since Eazy got his nod during Hip Hop Honors. Was happy to see Bone Thugs-N-Harmony get dressed to recap the hit that got them their national stride, an ode to their mentor ~ actually brought a tear to my eye (no Swaggart). Say what you will about the swagger (jack) of his son, but the folks on stage paid their respects. So, a quick nod to Bone's dedication to welfare. Because I'm reliving 1995 all over again.
Next week, hip hop fans will get to put their Game theories to test when The Doctor's Advocate kicks off a mad rush to the 2006 endzone. Sure, some expectations will be met, most won't, but this mixed bag of vets and (relative) newcomers is a good look. Each one can tell stories (or, at least name-drop) for days about the whos, whats, and hows of their upbringing, which can hardly be said for many young'ns comin' up. So, when the Game and Nas, two ems from opposite ends of the pop/class/coast/intellect spectrums, can pay each other back with a pair of verses, I'll believe a line about "rekindling" legacies.
Darker times lay ahead, so it may not be such a bad idea to ask for the help of our seniors.