My Guilty Pleasure 06 May 2007

Reminiscent of Michael Bolton, Peter's side-kick, from Office Space I find myself indulging more and more in one of my numerous, geeky, guilty pleasures. Hip-hop. Not just any hip-hop, dirty south hip-hop. Sideways-sittin', wood-grain grippin', screwed and chopped, smoked-out dirty south hip-hop. One of the few exports that I'm proud Texas has produced (ahem) in the last ten or fifteen years. Texas hip-hop in general is a weird mix between the "roots" of rap in that a lot of it focuses on the ghettoes and hardships the artist has experienced growing up in places like Houston's 5th ward, to the "more modern" hip-hop which has become more and more about women, cash, and cars; mainstays of any good hyper-masculine artform.

There. Now you all know. I'm a sandals-wearing, Volkswagen driving, computer programming, book reading, hip-hop fan. Chances are, if I'm driving somewhere, in between points A and B, I'm bumping in my blue Jetta to some David Banner, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Slim Thug and even some good old Geto Boys. Forget the east coast-west coast nonsense, with the exception of artists like Mos Def, the new home for hip-hop is in the south.

While working, I listen to a few internet radio stations whose collections of hip-hop far exceed my own. In the past I have listened to a great bit of which is a more traditional hip-hop and rap station, but since leaving Texas I find myself listening to far more. I recommend them both if you're in the same ackward cultural boat that I am, or if you just loves you some hip-hop.

The hip-hop scene has definitely embraced the internet with independent artists like Slim Thug and Mike Jones using it to get their music out to their audiences without relying on rich, prodominently white, record executives to decide which music was more fit for black America. Fortunately for the suburban white kids among us, who have been able to side-step the mainstream media and enjoy the works of artists who may be only from a few miles away but are on the other side of a deep crevasse of social precendence and economic class-structure.