Monday, August 18, 2008

Has hip-hop gone downhill?

Do you sit around and mutter, "Hip-hop ain't what it used to be"?

Apparently Dorian Lynskey of the Guardian does:

Homer Simpson famously declared: "Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. That's a scientific fact." I may not share his admiration for the work of Grand Funk Railroad but I admire his certainty. I've long been convinced that hip-hop reached its zenith in 1994, and it seems that Jonathan Levine, the director of Sundance-acclaimed new movie The Wackness, agrees with me.

The villain in the movie is Rudolph Giuliani. Before bravely defending New York City against al-Qaeda, he bravely defended his city against hip-hop.

[The movie] takes place in New York during the summer of 1994, when incoming mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced his plans to clean up the city, and hip-hop, both in the city and across America, was in its prime.

But hip-hop itself is also the enemy:

Hip-hop's worst impulses had not yet got the better of it. Tupac and Biggie still drew breath, Puff Daddy was just a canny producer and A&R man rather than ubiquitous pest, and the word "bling" wasn't even a gleam in Damon Dash's eye.
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