prelistening thoughts on Lil Wayne’s Rebirth

When rap-rock was very big while I was in high school, I didn’t like it, but it made sense to me why people were trying to make that music. I understood that rockers were getting something out of rap, even if that something is a little hard to put into words.

Rap-rock coming from rap artists used to get something from the borrowing too–because rock had better access to gravitas and authenticity.Additionally, appropriation for appropriation’s sake has always powered all versions of rap-rock as well.

But now, with a series of rap artists making “career changes” out of their experiments, I’m not exactly sure what they think they’re gaining. My little-thought hunch is that rap has become associated with a particular set of emotional expressions, and rock with another. When Kanye is sad about his mom, there’s still a triumphalist tinge about it, because his mom helped make him the big success he is today, and hip-hop is okay. It’s weird that a genre known for braggadocio and creative appropriation has become so rational-minded. When his emotion exceeds logic (like his ALL-CAPS blogging) he needs something else and turns to R&B, and electronic music.

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