Wednesday, 20 June 2007

What Is Hip Hop To You?

So, what IS hip hop for you?
Is it about intricate lyrics?

Is it about bangin' beats?

Is it way you speak?

Or the way you dress?

For me, hip hop is two things:

Having fun + being yourself.

The beauty of hip hop is that anyone can listen to it, and appreciate it (and I'm not talkin' bout this kinda 'hip hop'). You don't have be wearing your baggy denims, your slammin' kicks and your white tee. You ain't gotta bling out, carry a backpack or talk like you're a veteran of It's a party where everybody's invited (man, how gay does that sound?).

This diverse nature of hip hop is the reason that I love it. You can be serious and listen to some Public Enemy one day, smoke your shit listening to Devin The Dude the next, and relaxing while listening to some Tribe to top it off. You can be wearing jeans, tracks or khaks, it's all good.

It's great when you hear an album where the artists aren't trying to prove anything to anyone. They don't have to act like they're defending their credibility or reputation, they can even take the piss out of themselves and still love hip hop at the same time. Which brings me to my album post for today...

Ugly Duckling - Bang For The Buck

Ugly Duckling consists of MC's Andy Cooper & Dizzy Dustin, and the DJ Young Einstein, all hailing from Long Beach, California.

To make my first point clear, how 'hip hop' do these guys actually look?
Not very is probably the answer most of you will think. But one listen to their fifth studio album, 'Bang For The Buck', and most of you will conclude that these guys have more skill on the mic and turntables than 90% of the acts out there.
The self-deprecating style of Ugly Duckling is actually quite refereshing to hear, especially if you've just listened to the album after recently watching most of the videos on MTV. To hear lyrics like this on 'Breakdown'...
"When I try to fit with a clique or pick up a chick, I felt like I'd been hit with a brick,
Cos all I ever get was chills from a cold shoulder, thinkin' this'll all would all change when I get older"
However, 'Smack' shows the best example of the group just straight taking the piss outta those gangster rappers. This attack on the mainstream is everything that UD are all about. From just one listen to 'Bang For The Buck', you can tell that UD know what they're doing, and they're doing it well. The beats on the album are remeniscent of the old school, with heavy use of the turntables provided by the skilful Young Einstein. He even has an ode dedicated to him on the album, where his DJ skills are at their best.
This album would never work if UD didn't have the skills to match up on their criticism of the mainstream. Fortunately for us, they have that in abundance, and show it on this album. 'Bang For The Buck' has one message for it's listeners...
Have fun, and don't take yourself too seriously.
I hope you have as much fun as I do when I first listened to this album.

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