Saturday, February 02, 2008

From the chronicles of why it gotta be like this!

Today, I was listening to an interview on a hip hop station. It was interesting in all kinds of ways... Informative? Nah... and I definitely aint trying to put down hip hop in any kind of way but I just found today's interview of Prodigy from Mobb Deep interesting. It had me wondering what folks will remember about the music and the artists from the genre, twenty years from now. No doubt, there's some great history in hip hop but the way they were talking on the radio today the only history they celebrated was violence rather than the...MUSIC. Prodigy talked about being able to afford a bullet proof car. He spoke about various beefs aka disagreements he had with other rappers that would lead to violence if he had run into that person. The interviewer brought up questions about Tupac's ability to fight because of things she's heard, which really doesn't matter.. Around every corner there's someone who could get the best of you in a fight and vice verse, but my main point is, what does that have to do with the music??? Me being a huge fan of Tupac, I didn’t really appreciate the comments made about him but everybody got their own perspective. The interviewer to me sounded like she was motivated by the very same hearsay and unnecessary bravado which fueled the kind of environment that brought down such a prolific artist. He had his issues and was at times a victim of his own young ego but he was an amazing artist, a brilliant mind, very well read, and was extremely driven, albeit the motivation could’ve been because he feared the end was coming soon but he was able to accomplish a lot in a short time. Funny thing though, in the four or five times I’d seen him around LA, when he was driving he was alone and had the top down on his convertible. When I saw him hanging out at the Glam Slam niteclub many years ago in downtown LA, he was alone. But the bottomline with respect to how I’d like to remember him most is by his contribution, which was music and film. There's some incredible hip hop musical moments and great artists that have come and gone and that's what should be talked about/celebrated.

As I listened to the interview, it made me think about a conversation I had not too long ago with a friend of mine. We talked about music and brought up memories that had us both smiling and feeling the goose bumps all over. This fella is older than me so he could recall a little more than I could, from Miles to Hendrix on forward but then I brought up Parliament/Funkadelic and he laughed in a proud way... "Ahh yes, the mothership!" I told him about how as a kid, I got into a few of those Parliament shows for free because my father promoted some of the concerts in Houston along with a couple buddies of his.
He asked me "what year was that?"
"Around 77, 78, 79..."
"Ahh okay, then you got to see them in they prime. Eddie Hazel, Hampton, Glenn and of course George was on top of his game then..."
"Yeah, I even saw them that year when they had that funny lookin dude from the Spinners singing with them.."
"Phillpe Wynne... yeah, okay... You seen some music history back then, man."
"Yeah, but I didn't know it at the time, being so young. I would just be lookin at how crazy everybody was dressed!"

The conversation continued on to other musical groups and artists that became legends and/or well respected musicians, singers, performers but the thing is, all we talked about were these artists contributions to music. We didn't need to go into who shot who, who had beef with who, etc etc. Of course there's always been a shady side to the music industry and there are stories that go way way back; tragedies, early loss of life but music folks from back in the day wear a badge of honor that reflects what they accomplished musically... Think about Curtis Mayfield and all the incredible songs he wrote for others and himself... Isaac Hayes and his amazing body of work... Barry White, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha, Minnie Riperton, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, the list goes on and on forever and again, despite whatever tragedies and behind the scenes drama that might have occurred, it's all about the music.. I dont think any of those folks still living or no longer around are thinking to themselves, "I wish I would've bought a bullet proof car..." Just my two cents as I wonder why stuff has come to be the way it is or as I said, why it gotta be like this! *smile* Anyway, peep out Parliament live from the Houston Summit Arena. I was there backstage representin with my father and company...

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