Hip Hop Math

I once criticized the musical genre of Hip Hop thus: “It’s not actual music.”

After some persuasive arguments by my youngest brother, I have since redacted that statement. Some Hip Hop is actual music. A lot of it is not.

A good deal of Hip Hop is essentially 1/4 to 1/8 of a song repeated 4 to 8 times over the course of a “track”. I dislike pointless repetition. I HATE repetition of mindless concepts such as “I lust for you and I am attractive/have money/am good at having sex, so let’s go have sex.” and “I am the baddest nigga in my hood.” But I shall put side my utter loathing for the basic premises of the “songs” for a moment. Regardless of the fact that the sequences of noise often technically follow the principles of music, most Hip Hop “songs” are disqualified from being music in the same way that basketball dribbling by itself is not a sport.

Let me give you an example: Over the last four days I have heard the “song” Right Now by Akon eleven and a half times. The premise of the song (the guy regrets breaking up with his girlfreind and wants to get back with her) is acceptable, and the first few verses by themselves are tolerable. As for the rest of it, let’s do some simple quantification:

Number of times I’ve heard the whole song: 11.5
Number of choruses: 4
Number of lines per chorus that contain the words “up right”: 8
Number of “now” is repeated per “up right”: 3

Multiply those numbers together. That’s over ONE THOUSAND times I’ve heard the word “now” repeated, along with several hundred “up right”s. To be fair, it does also have four distinct verses, though the last verse contains abominations such as ending eight lines in a row with “with me” and rhyming “dine” with “grind” twice. Also, to be extra fair, there isn’t a single “yo” or “hey” and the subject of sex is implied in a relatively classy manner.

Right Now is by far not the worst I’ve heard, though it’s also not the most tolerable/enjoyable I’ve heard. It’s illustrative of most of the Hip Hop I have been exposed to: utterly mediocre, and contemptibly repetitious in the attempt to make up for it’s mediocrity.

I like Jazz. I like Rock & Roll. I like Rhythm & Blues. I like Heavy Metal. I like Classical. I like Orchestral (movie soundtracks). I like JPop. I like Indian. I like Salsa. I like Bluegrass. I like bagpipes. I like Weird Al. I even like The Most Unwanted Song. I like a lot of music. I just don’t like music that doesn’t qualify or barely qualifies as music.

All of this is a round-about way of saying: I seriously need a frickin’ iPod.

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