|Anthony Gregory: |
"When I listen to The Roots, Jurassic Five, Blackalicious, Dr. Octagon, Del Tha Funky Homosapien or any number of other decent rap artists, I do not come away thinking their music "almost always consists of little more than a single beat repeated over and over, with scant or nonexistent harmonies completely drowned out by the sound of the drums."
I completely agree with your short list of top notch hip-hop acts, and would add Arrested Development, Digable Planets, Common, Sage Francis, Quannum, and Handsome Boy Modeling School. There are, of course, many many more acts that don't follow the "gansta rap" trend, and offer solid, entertaining, and even inspirational music.
Rhythm isn't to be feared, for goodness sake, and I can't understand why people shy away from the magnificence that can be "the drums". DJ Shadow, The Dining Rooms, and The Avalanches come quickly to mind (in a hip-hop/dj context).
In addition, American acts like the Beastie Boys, Chemical Brothers, British acts like Tricky, Massive Attack, the Icelandic Bjork and the Canadian crew Bran Van 3000 have taken rhythm and rap to new levels of sophistication and aural pleasure. Certainly this music isn't for everyone, but to attempt to wage a war against it simply because it may be labeled as "rap" or "dance" music--well, seems laughable and deeply misguided. I will be the first to admit that I don't always agree with the "politics" or personal philosophies of many of the bands I've listed, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating and enjoying what is happening musically or rythmically in any given track.
Rand may have had puritanical tastes, but that certainly doesn't mean everyone ought to be forced to only appreciate the same limited set of artistic experiences. I'll be holding on to my Mozart, my hip-hop, my pop, my rock-and-roll, and my electronica--thank you very much.
"Quite a bit of pop music is rather sophisticated. I'd go so far as to say that modern popular music often exceeds Baroque, Classical and Romantic music in rhythmic sophistication, and sometimes rivals even the most advanced 20th century art music in harmonic sophistication. "
I completely agree. Brian Wilson and Stevie Wonder come to mind when I think of true genius in pop music.