I’ve been occupying myself in a rediscovery of sorts in recent days, engrossing myself in the mystique of various hip-hop artists. The first idea that took root was that what I was listening to was somewhat removed, at least upon first impression, from the accepted image of “Rap” music (hip-hop’s synonymous term). This is a given to the connoisseur, but I think that it’s safe to say that the image of hip-hop at large is that of the one seen on television and radio, one that isn’t necessarily wrong, (that part of the culture does indeed exist), just not encompassing.
Beyond the wonted image of ego-driven characters lies a genuine pursuit of lyrical prowess, enhanced by rhythmic sounds (dare I say beats?), that is not present on the culture’s surface. It is dejecting, then, that this part of the genre, its creamy center, is simply overlooked, as if it were an apple core (I’m done with food metaphors for today). The image presented isn’t one that people are seeking to gain a deeper investment from, dismissing it for its face. These are very shallow people that I’m talking about, I hope.
What struck me immediately thereafter was just how much this mirrored video games. The accepted image is either ignored completely or taken as proof for the entire medium, again a false idea, existing as an invisible barrier, doing its barrier thing, blocking prospective consumers from exploring the medium further. There’s a large emphasis on these things as consumer products, rather than art (or at least, attempts at art). The medium as a whole is not praise-worthy, to be sure, but searching for hidden gems is quickly becoming a lost practice. Dismissing the whole for the face is fairly common, but rarely recommended.