Jack Richardson offers a decent review of Daubi Abe’s “6 ‘N The Morning,” a book on West Coast rap music (particular what is called “gangsta rap”). The review is very practical in its critiques and kind words for the book, and does not give away excessive details. In other words, it does what it’s supposed to do.
However, in and of itself, the review did not particularly increase my interest in rap music, or even the book. This is probably due more to my own personal preferences, though, as the topics mentioned in the review are certainly potential grounds for anyone’s investigation, for any number of reasons.
Though it’s not my favorite musical form, I have listened to rap music at various times in my life. I even have more than one Ice T album in my possession. On that note, one issue the review emphasizes is misogyny in hip hop, and how it came to dominate so much of the culture. I’ve always seen this phenomenon as some bullshit macho posturing, which isn’t something only rappers do. Look at lots of metal and hard rock bands and you’ll see more or less the same thing, sometimes taken to lengths that are just as ridiculous (some arguably even more so).
Maybe that’s something that would have interested me more — not so much a book about hip hop or about rock, but something that doesn’t examine one milieu, and instead compares and contrasts many of them. After all, just about every genre becomes stale when it becomes about blending into a uniform lifestyle. That phenomenon — that struggle — is fascinating in its own right, especially when examined from a broad perspective. I realize this is not that book, and maybe I’m simply sick of how rap has practically became a dominant form.
Like most music, rap was better in general when it was more underground. At the same time, if a musical style is kept deep underground, less people get to hear it in the first place and the scene dies away. I get the impression that this book may deal with that topic, as it does discuss the social environment that helped give rise to the style in question. Clearly thee culture changed.
In fact, gangsta rap does not seem quite as relevant as it once was, as Snoop Dogg (or “Snoop Lion?”) is seen in Kay Perry videos and Ice Cube is totally Disney-fied. How can these people still rap about life on the streets when they’re living in mansions? At the same time, I can only hear songs about “the streets” so often before I’m willing to “Ride The Tiger” with Dio or something anyway (and I don’t even listen to Dio).