April 13th, 2009

Now That’s What I Call Music Industry

@noz sez sometimes RT can mean “real talk”; here it’s both re: Lil B (RT @noz):

The 19 year old Pack frontman currently maintains 114 myspace pages (not accounting for the “SECRETE” [sp] pages he hints at in blog posts) all launched over roughly the last eight months and each showcasing five or six original songs and freestyles. He calls them “NOVELTY PAGES”, but that’s a disservice to the music within. The pages are numbered chronologically and listening to them in order is like reading an abandoned space journal, a slow descent into madness. Except it’s the good kind of madness.

On the earliest ones he was rapping regular over hit instrumentals and beats that could have been out takes from The Pack’s major label album. The songs have actual hooks, the lyrics about girls and partying. But as time goes on he gets progressively looser with it. The beats get faster and more adventurous, the fidelity lower. He starts to abandon traditional rhymes completely around the page #60, veering towards some sort of spoken word hybrid. By the late 90s he shouting on Chicago juke records and mumbling about shooting bitches in the bra over distorted as all fuck house. In the hundreds he’s rambling about eating with monkeys in space and having flashbacks to the East Bay Vivarium where he was moved to lie about having a pet iguana in a poetry contest. Sometimes he’s singing, sometimes he’s half rapping, sometimes just talking. Always he sounds just a little gone, but mostly joyous even in dark moments. The cynic could chalk this oddness up to trend hopping, a natural outgrowth of the cool-to-be-different Kanye/Wayne era. The realist might say drugs. It may be a little bit of both, but a third factor looms apparent on B’s suddenly immense catalog.

“When you’re on the internet time speeds up.” It almost sounds like a mission statement when B gargles these words on “Time”. …

See CBRAP for audio — oh, and about 100 MySpace pages.

5 Comments

  • 1. lucien  |  April 13th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Whoa! Awesome. I love how abstract and electro hip hop is getting. I feel like Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em deserves as much credit for this as Weezy or Kanye, but don’t tell GZA I said that.

    For what it’s worth, The Pack’s “Vans” from 2006 is a seminal cultural marker in the mainstreaming of skate punk and hipster style into late 2000s hip hop (even though they’re wearing baggy jeans in the vid).

    As they say in the song, “It’s a punk rock shoe with a logo in the back.”

  • 2. lucien  |  April 20th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Also, check Jerk jam “White Girl Clothes” circa early 2009:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTvWSL1VdSM

  • 3. wayneandwax  |  April 21st, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    WOW. thx for that, lucien. that really dovetails with these discussions we’ve been having lately. (thx, btw, for your recent comments on this post.)

    seems to me — not that you’d know this by listening to “mainstream” scholars and commentators on “hip-hop” (i.e., black youf cultcha) — that contemporary black youth self-fashioning is getting rly interesting/weird/extra-playful w/ all these putative signifiers of whiteness deployed (semi)ironically.

    i know there are all sorts of drag/minstrel/passing precedents for this kind of thing, but this seems somehow different, perhaps even “progressive” or “postracial” (hesitant as i am to use either of those terms). interesting at any rate.

  • 4. lucien  |  April 22nd, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I agree about “mainstream” scholars. In many ways, mainstream scholarship isn’t prepared to deal with these things, and it certainly isn’t responsive enough in terms of time and technology, but that’s partly why the work you and Raquel do is some awesome/important. I feel that for mainstream scholarship to even remain relevant in relation to pop music/pop culture phenomenon it’s going to have to restructure itself — and fast. Like you said somewhere, eventually a collaborative blog or like is going to have gain some traction in academia, or academia is going to be left dazed and dizzy as the rest of the cultural world laps it a hundred times over. Also like you said, maybe this is why the Pop Conference at EMPSF is so much fun.

    Thanks for the feedback. I agree that this “different.” In some ways the Jerkin trend is like a reverse minstrel — something about the dance itself is dorky and gangly (and dare I say “white”) — but unlike drag/minstrel/passing there seems to be an underlying creative exuberance here.

    I would say:

    “Progressive” — yes/maybe.

    “Postracial” — No. Then again, this might be impossible for someone of my generation to spot. Ask the kids, but I’m still skeptical.

    What this tight jeans/skater/Jerkin electro MySpace YouTube stuff seems to be to me is “post-gangsta” or “post-bling,” at least in a musical and fashion sense. If it wasn’t already over, that stuff definitely is now.

    People have been talking about the “power” of the internet for a long time, but something about the convergence of tech, culture, and world affairs at the current moment makes me sense that were on the cusp of something really exciting.

  • 5. Presentations in Week 10 &hellip  |  September 15th, 2009 at 12:30 am

    […] Playful use of social networks? The network as playground : Lil B’s musical universe of 122 myspace pages.. […]

Wayne&Wax

I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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