June 6th, 2007


Dear hip-hop artists: stop posturing

Dear hip-hop artists,

Don't get me wrong; I do like hip-hop. The form is great, and I particularly like Aussie hip-hop and its local flavour. But for God's sake, will you stop wasting your considerable talent on expounding your considerable talent and actually use that talent?

Yes, I know there's a long history of this posturing, or whatever you want to call it, but surely you have more in your arsenal than that. I can understand it in battles, where you're trying to prove yourself against a competitor, and you're piecing together whatever flows you can grasp. And a track on the album to establish yourself can be good lighthearted fun. But track after track? Give me a break.

Take Bias B for example. The music's not groundbreaking, but the songwriting is adept and clever. And while I bought the album for one particular track, it has a few other tracks that are funny, clever, or have a message. Most of the tracks, however, are about about his own skills or about the problems with other artists in the hip-hop scene.

To me, hip-hop really shows its strength when it has something to say. After all, it has a very political history, and political or social commentary is common. Do I want every track to sound like political activism? No. But say something. Two of the best songs from The Herd are Under Pressure (a boy learns that he can cope with life through writing) and Full Moon ("busy boom town has now become a backwater"): not political, but not self-serving fluff, either.

And if you can't tell a story or write something meaningful, at least write something funny (take Butterfingers as an example).

In short, save your self-praise and say something interesting (especially if you're in Australia, where self-deprecation is well-regarded). Please? Thank you,