Since the release of “Mastermind” — Rick Ross’ sixth studio album — there has been a renewed focus in the media surrounding the rapper’s personal life and, more specifically, his history as a Florida correctional officer.
Dear Billy Ray Cyrus, I am writing to you on behalf of the entire human race concerning your recently released hip-hop remake of your 1992 song “Achy Breaky Heart,” as well as the accompanying video, and would just like to ask you a few questions.
Remember the days when musicians used to keep to themselves and genre-lines were always clear cut? Yeah, me neither, but it seems like these days especially, genres, labels and categories in contemporary music are in their most nebulous state; previously segregated styles are being mixed, and styles and trends are being imported and exported at an alarming rate.
The dingy basement of a frat house would not necessarily be one’s venue of choice for a nice Saturday night concert, but given the nature of this particular concert, the low ceiling and tightly packed quarters served as a suitable setting for what was about to transpire. The event, a performance by South Florida rapper Denzel Curry at Theta Delta Chi, was organized by the University of Virginia chapter of Student Hip-Hop Organization, a CIO dedicated to spreading and celebrating the music and culture of hip-hop.
It’s amazing what credentials can do. Last Tuesday, credentials proved the only way to differentiate between a lengthy diatribe on pop culture from a man on the street and a thought-provoking discussion led by famed media critic Tom Breihan at Open Grounds.
Rappers these days can be put into a few different camps: the hold-overs from the golden age of hip-hop, emcees who emphasize lyricism, storytelling, technical dexterity, and often some sort of message and, on the opposite spectrum, energetic rappers who rely on adrenaline and sonic bombast, rather than lyricism, to make loud, instantly gratifying music.