Is Kanye West The Number One Rock Star On The Planet?

Well, why the fuck not? Kanye says Rap is the new Rock and Roll. He’s absolutely correct. Had he said Hiphop, it would be questionable, but he said Rap. But what the fuck is Rock and Roll? The first thing is: Rock and Roll was the White man’s way of keeping his daughters and wives from getting moist while listening to and watching Black Blues artists. Blues didn’t need another name; it didn’t need Jazz and it certainly didn’t need Rock. But here we are.

Rock and Roll has never been about music. It’s about doing and saying the most ridiculous shit under the guise of art. If that is so, right now, Kanye is The King. But how many barriers must kings break through? Louis Armstrong broke the racial barrier; James Brown; MLK; Michael Jackson; now Kanye. And as Kanye’s “New Slaves” suggests, racism is still alive and well. So are Black people really breaking barriers?

We ain’t cracking the glass ceiling as much as we are poppin’ bottles.

The mantra throughout his recent BBC interview is Kanye saying he needs backing to do all the shit he wants to do. So, that’s where we are with it. A multibillionaire needs backing to build his dream of the world’s first trillion-dollar company. In one breath he acknowledges that his people were brought over to America against their will on ships, then he follows with what the same people won’t give him. Quite a quandary.

I don’t get Rock and Roll—more accurately—I don’t get the fascination with Rock and Roll. I don’t get the decadence and the attitudes that come along with it. They should just drop the euphemism and call Rock what it really is: Undeserved Entitlement. The highest honor in Rap—or any music—is an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; just another pat on the head from Massa for being a good boy.

Why do we still seek the White man’s approval?

But, he’s gotta know, right? I think he does. So Kanye’s need or desire to get backing to further his vision reminds me of what Louis Armstrong said years ago as told to him in his youth by Black Benny:

“Always have a White Man who like(s) you, and can and will put his hand on your shoulder and say, ‘This is my Nigger and can’t nobody harm ya.’”

But in order to be a game changer, you gotta be in the game. I kinda scoffed at Kanye when he first fancied himself as a Civil Rights activist, but upon reflection, maybe he is. Someone has to do the work at the level he’s doing it. I’m not going to talk to Fendi, I’m not interested in going to Cannes, I don’t care to live in Paris or hobnob with billionaires. He’s doing the work in that strata and I applaud him for it.

Kanye is not crazy; he can act like a little whiny bitch sometimes, but so fucking what? And he’s not a musician, but he’ll tell you that himself. He’s an artist and a genius and should be taken way more seriously than he is. For Jimmy Kimmel, or Kimble as he was called on the Flavor Flav roast, to reduce his recent BBC interview with Zane Lowe to two kids drinking milkshakes is insulting and endemic of today’s passively racist culture. And, yes—once again—I’m making it about race.

So, do yourself a favor if you haven’t seen it already and watch the BBC interview in its entirety and see proof that Kanye is not out of his mind—at least not in a bad way—but is one of the most astute and brilliant minds of our times.

Here, I’ve made it easy for you:

#BAM

— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

Why Hiphop Isn’t Cool Anymore

Hiphop is dead.

Kiss it goodbye, because it’s gone.

Hiphop was doomed from the moment it became Hiphop.

All forms die; only the formless lives forever.

Drake can’t save Hiphop and Kendrick can’t save it.

It’s gone.

Whenever Niggas come up with some hip shit, all it takes is a White man to come along to see how he can exploit it for profit to kill it.

But what is Hiphop? What does it mean?

Is it new or just the same ol’ shit Black folks been doing since the beginning of time?

Hiphop ain’t new.

As Gil Scott-Heron said, “Ain’t No New Thing.”

Bird was playing Hiphop in the ’40s.

Miles Davis’ “On The Corner” was one of the first great Hiphop albums.

James Brown’s “Mother Popcorn” is a great Hiphop record.

Donald Byrd was Hiphop before Hiphop was Hiphop.

So why we keep holding on to Hiphop like it’s the last great thing Black folks will ever invent?

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When White people latch on to something in Black culture it has always been the cue to switch gears and regroup.

We been stuck on Hiphop for the past 40 years and it’s killing Black music.

The problem with a lot of Hiphop cats who know better is that they won’t call “Bullshit!” They protect bullshit producers like the Catholic Church shuffles around sex offender priests.

It used to be we produced great singers, musicians and artists. Now all anybody wants to be is a beatmaker or MC.

We are losing our music for the sake of Hiphop. And I say, if Hiphop is getting in the way, let it go.

What was magical about Hiphop at its best was that it was linked to Afrikan Tribal DNA.

Afrikan Tribal DNA is the rhythmic code that exists in all great Black music.

From Armstrong to MJ, from Duke to Dilla; all great Black music has that rhythmic lilt to it.

As Ellington said, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

Hiphop doesn’t swing anymore.

Hiphop today is a long ways away from “Funky Drummer.”

Most of the young MCs out here today have no rhythmic inflection to their flow.

An album by A Tribe Called Quest still sounds good today.

You’re not going to want to listen to most of this shit today 10 years from now.

Funk is the only thing that lasts forever. This other bullshit has a short shelf life.

“You say Fan-Ta-Saraw. You say hahn, what, you know. It’s that sh–!”

^^^That’s that shit. Funk!

Hiphop don’t feel good no mo’.

Stop chasin’ “Voodoo” and Dilla and get back to the groove.

Everybody’s flamming all over the place and loping the beat tryna sound like machines.

Fuck that; be human.

Don’t let the instrument be you; be the instrument.

All these faux-ducers out here ain’t shit if you take away samples and their machines, but a real musician can make music without a device.

And the argument that Hiphop turns younger people on to older music is wack.

If people didn’t suffer from having short attention spans they could learn the history by doing their homework.

Expand your mind and listen to a vintage Ohio Players album or Kool and the Gang.

There’s way more information in those records than any sample could give you.

Sampling culture has turned in on itself.

It’s not even sampling anymore; it’s a sample of a sample of a sample.

It’s incest.

Sampling has turned Hiphop into the deformed child of a mother who’s been fucked by her own son.

This ain’t no anti-beatmaking campaign; it’s an anti-bullshit manifesto.

Stop looking for great moments on other people’s records to steal and learn enough music to create your own great moments.

The Beat ain’t in a machine; The Beat is inside you.

Time to go back to what made Black records great in the first place; real people playing real music.

Let Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus have Hiphop.

Let Kenny G have Jazz.

Like the Special Man say, “Let ’em have it.”

Stop bullshittin’ and play some real fucking music.

#BAM

— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

An Open Letter To Pharrell Williams (Blurred Lines Vol. 3)

 

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Well, it’s about time Pharrell Williams has decided to speak on the issue. He was eerily quiet about it all until just recently. And now that’s he’s opened his mouth, I can throw him some of the shade I was generously giving Robin Thicke.

“I’m a huge fan of Marvin Gaye. He is a genius. He is the patriarch.”

— Pharrell Williams

Really, Pharrell? Since when did it become okay to preemptively sue our patriarchal geniuses of Black music after you knowingly stole their songs?

… Oh, never mind. I remember: Hiphop.

“If you read music, all you have to do is read the sheet music. It’s completely different.”

— Pharrell Williams

I read music, do you? And what sheet music are you talking about? From some wack publishing company that did a transcription of Marvin Gaye’s work? Since when do people learn funk tunes from sheet music? Many funk legends can’t even read music. Marvin Gaye couldn’t read or write music, yet he wrote the tune. So what does that say, really?

Pharrell goes on to say:

“[Gaye] is the king of all kings, so let’s be clear about that. And we take our hats off to him, but anybody that plays music and reads music, just simply go to the piano and play the two. One’s minor and one’s major. And not even in the same key.”

Okay, Mr. Williams. You are wrong. Both of the tunes are actually in Major. The difference is that your song is just a major triad “G-B-D over G” and Gaye’s tune is in Dominant Major which means he flatted the 7th degree of the scale (G-C#-E over A), which would explain why y’all’s song sounds like Oktoberfest and Marvin’s song sounds like the Blues. And Marvin’s tune doesn’t go into minor until the bridge. If that monotonous piece of trash you call a song had a bridge, you probably would have stolen it, too. And just because you and Thicke lowered the key a whole step from A to G and removed the Blues doesn’t mean you didn’t steal it. Thicke has already admitted you did.

“Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it.”

— Robin Thicke

So, how you have the hubris to pretend you didn’t steal it is jive.

Let me just explain a couple things to you:

1.) Sheet music may be the legal reference for copyright in the court systems of America, but it has never been the be-all end-all for Black music. A lot of our music has never been written down, it’s an oral and aural tradition passed down generation-to-generation from master to student.

2.) Many of our Kings of Kings could not read music themselves, either because they were blind or just never learned to read. Reading music is certainly helpful, but it isn’t necessary to do so to be a great musician. All that is required is that you have ears. And anyone with ears can hear that you clearly stole this song.

And to those of you who say I know nothing about Hiphop, if “Blurred Lines” is Hiphop, I don’t want to know anything about it. So let me officially go on record now and say that I hate Hiphop. There are certain artists who claim Hiphop that I dig, but Hiphop as a whole is wack. It’s a parasitic culture that preys on real musicians for its livelihood. I may not know anything about Hiphop, but I don’t have to. Without real artists and musicians like me, you’d have nothing to steal. I know enough about it all to know that.

One of the world’s most renowned producers can’t tell the difference between a minor chord and a Dominant 7th, something that you learn the first week in music theory class. It’s like a doctor not knowing the difference between your ears and your eyes. A musical illiterate has the nerve to tell people they would understand he didn’t steal Marvin’s song if they read music. And we wonder why today’s music is shit?

#BAM

— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

AmeriKKKa: Are You Syrious?

It seems that there is a bit of naiveté concerning a lot of the information folks have been getting from whatever media sources they’ve gathered information from about this whole Syria thing.

It’s amazing to me that the American people can be so easily mislead time and time again, foolishly believing the narrative that somehow a more just system can be brought about by violence. It will never happen.

1.) You cannot trust anything a high-ranking political official says or any story some news outlet has manufactured. Most politicians lie and they are not to be trusted, especially the ones in question here.

2.) America is in no position to be world police for anyone and typically the only time the U.S. ever gets involved in foreign conflicts is for its own interests. It’s never for justice.

3.) We set the tone for the world. America has its dirty hands in pretty much all of the wars that exist anywhere on this planet, so the hypocrisy that somehow we’re going to come in and “save the day,” is bogus. Even if America is not directly involved, it’s complicit in some way. The violent world climate is but a domino effect from this imperialist country.

4.) Bombing people for peace makes no logical sense. It’s like suspending a kid from school for skipping class.

America has bombed the shit out of other nations ever since they’ve had the capacity to, and there doesn’t seem to be enough weapons in the world to bring about the so-called justice this country loves to rhapsodize about. It’s all lies and illusions.

America should try something different: Lead by example. Bring about a peaceful and just system in the world by creating one at home. Truth is, all these other nations terrorizing each other are just vying to be the world power that America is. It’s mimicry, plain and simple.

So, if others are just going to repeat what America does, let’s create peace and change the paradigm. Being the bigger bully is not the way.

My opinion is let Syrians and whomever else, bomb and gas the fuck out of each other until they get tired of fighting. Sometimes the best way to resolve conflict is to ignore it. You can often exacerbate an issue by giving it your energy and attention.

What’s happening in Syria is unfortunate, but if you want to diffuse a chemical catastrophe, clean up the radioactive poisoning in the Pacific that will serve to kill a lot more than what’s going on in the Middle East if something isn’t done about it.

US-NRC-Japan-Fallout-Map-From-Destroyed-Fukushima-Daiichi-Nuclear-Plant

The President can make the world better by minding his own business. If America wants to fight for something, fight for better wealth distribution, education, health care, clean energy and equal rights for all of its citizens. The only effective way to eradicate injustice in other spheres is to create a model that works at your core.

If you can’t cure the disease within, your efforts to relieve sickness elsewhere will only result in you infecting others.

You want the world to be more peaceful? Start with yourself.

#BAM

— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop