Monday, July 9, 2007

Country Music

I was surfing through my email and I came across this girl's page where she professed that she was only into country music and some rock music. But, no hip-hop, that's unacceptable.

As someone who likes both forms*, I wondered how this dichotomy grew. The music, at its core, isn't much different. Both forms talk about the desperation of the American experience. The country artists talk about it from a rural perspective while hip-hop talks about it from an urban perspective. Both have general touchstones for sound: country with its twang and slide guitars, rap with booming beats and snare hits. Both sets of artists dress in the appropriate manner for their lifestyle. Country wears cowboy hats and boots. Hip-hop wears jeans and sneakers. Even if you look at it now, both forms have lost their edge. Country is pretty much whitewashed, sounding like easy adult contemporary listening with a slide guitar. I feel like the only thing it has going for it is that most of the current personalities are ridiculously attractive. This is both men and women. Hip-hop is also baseless like hip-hop, caught up in pure materialism. It gets by because of white kids's want to be Black and the fact that it is the sound of commercial teen radio now. Also, both sides claim that the other isn't real music. Both forms now sell tons of shitty records, so I don't really understand this on this level.

The only thing that I can figure is that it is a cultural division. Country music is assumed to be the wasteland for beer-drinking, lazy rednecks who watch NASCAR and fly the Confederate flag in a vain attempt to celebrate something which, at its core, is fundamentally flawed: Southern Pride (note: My family's heritage is all below the Mason-Dixon line. All of it.). Hip-hop is assumed to be a wasteland for beer-drinking, lazy negroes who watch BET and live in the ghetto while milking the government for money. As I read this to myself, these aren't really all that different. There needs to be a convention between country music and hip-hop. Not in a rap-metal sort of way, but in a we need to iron out this stupid beef sort of way.

Hip-hop is music. Country is music. Both suck now, but both have had halcyon days in previous decades. And there are people in both doing successful things currently. How? I'm not a scientist; I can't answer questions that ridiculous. Maybe someone can elucidate why country music fans hate hip-hop so much and vice versa. And don't give me the "it's not music" argument. I've listened to a lot of country. Most of it is three chords. It's not hard to make country music. I would argue that it's harder to make hip-hop, as you have to learn how to use a sampler and a drum machine. So, any input would be greatly appreciated.

*As I would later note, modern country music sucks. It sounds like generic pop/rock, and that's boring. I like the old school country about fistfights and drinking Colorado Kool-aid. Just like with current hip-hop, not all of it is bad. Some of it is actually tolerable, but most of it isn't. Now, don't get excited, you most likely won't catch me blasting country in the whip because it doesn't relate to me. I'm into the old school stuff because I can relate to that stuff and like the rawness of it. The new stuff is too shiny. And if there is one thing I don't particularly like, it's shiny things.