Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jay Z on how Autotune is to Hip Hop what Big Hair Bands were to Rock Music

In the early 1980s, “we were getting hit with a stream of singers who weren’t exactly flying the flag of blackness….Male singers were taking the bass and texture out of their voices, trying to cross over and get some of that Lionel Richie money. It wasn’t their fault—and there was some good music that came out of that moment. But it wasn’t exactly affirming.” Black people start hating themselves. (176). Hip hop changed that….

249. “I remember in the 1980s, when rock music started losing ground, which created a lane for hip hop to become the dominant pop music. Once MTV launched, rock music started to change. Style started trumping substance, which culminated in the rise of the big hair bands….the thing that made rock great, it’s rawness whether it was Little Richard screaming at the top of his lungs or The Clash smashing their guitars, disappeared into all this hairspray….I wasn’t mad, because rap was more than ready to step in.” He feared something like this was starting to happen to Hip Hop in the first decade of the 21st century, and saw it in Auto tune; again, the bass and texture being taken out of the voices. “I wanted to kill auto-tune like Kurt Cobain killed the Hair bands.”

Excerpts from Decoded, Jay-Z, 2010

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