Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

A Civilized Debate on whether Jazz and Hip Hop are Compatible

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by David Kaczorowski, Dec 4, 2001.


  1. One of the most important musical elements. I can't believe I haven't seen the relationship between jazz and flip-flop sooner.
     
  2. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    open your mind unless it's already ossified
     
  3. One of the greatest fallacies of contemporary society is the notion that thinking something sucks signifies having a closed mind. In fact though, utilizing one's capacity to reason to form an educated opinion is a uniquely human capability and signifies the mind is operating as it should; as opposed to the brainwashed masses who think that to hold a negative opinion of something which is generally regarded as hip indicates mental ossification. These brainwashed masses are as in control of themselves as jellyfish in rough seas.
     
  4. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Wow!! I love that; it's the most well thought out expression of the way I have felt for the past few years. I'm going to use this as a signature (with credit to you of course).
     
  5. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Unfortunately, if you are referring to what I said, that's not what I said at all. I am actually exhorting you to actually go out and listen to non commercial forms of hip hop, just as you would seek out non commercial jazz. I never said you don't have the right to not like a type of music, but I do gather from the lack of detail in your stated opinions that you probably haven't listened to very much hip hop.

    Don't extrapolate your misinterpration of my remark into some indictment of society.

    I do agree that many of society's ills would be solved if people were taught to think and make their own decisions. A well oiled mind is the best tool.

    However, I'm getting a vibe of someone who has inculcated certain ideas of what is good and what isn't without doing the proper research to form a credible opinion.

    You have the right not to like hip hop, but I think you don't like what you think it is.
     
  6. If you reread my original post you'll see that nowhere did I state I don't like hip-hop (but don't interpret that as my stating I do.) Either way though, I don't have to detail what my experiences with the "art-form" have been. But without dropping names and going into detail, I will say that over the last decade I've hung out on many different scenes and had many different working associations. I am probably, in some ways, better acquainted with hip-hop and the culture than you.
     
  7. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    That's fair. I guess we should be talking about why you think the two genres are mutually exclusive, not whether you like hip hop or not. I have pre-empted myself from any retort about "how would you know my experience with hiphop" (even though i've had plenty) by being presumptious about your background. Sorry, I don't want to flame, just to point out that there is a difference between saying something sucks and saying something sucks and backing it up.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    WORM BALLET,

    Well DUH...anytime anybody likes or dislikes something, they are doing so on the basis of what it is TO THEM. Let's not go down that road, shall we? Especially since the finer points of this distinction are unverifiable...

    However, since we've all been given permission to like or dislike Hip-hop as we see fit, I would just like to mention that, in my somewhat limited exposure to "hip hop", every single nanosecond of it that I have been exposed to has sounded like unmitigated masturbatory CRAP to my ears. Personally, I find it pretentious, repetitive, and insipid. At the same time, I have a brother and some friends and students who I believe to be highly intelligent who enjoy certain hip hop "artists", and I'm cool with that...there is no right or wrong when it comes to taste.

    My wife likes some pop music that I can't stand. I like some "out-there" jazz that makes her want to yank her hair out. We're still crazy about each other, but in these matters we have agreed to respect the other's personal taste. AND, we made a verbal "contract" to always wear headphones while playing stuff that the other hates when they're around. It works fine. It's OK to think - and say - that something sucks if you are simply holding that view as your personal opinion.
     
  9. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Where the heck did I say anything to the contrary of this? Please respect my right to question the basis of people's opinions however, people have a lot of stupid opinions sometimes. In MY opinion.

    I wonder what it is about hip hop that makes people be so categorical about it.

    I'll leave it at that, and I'll remember never to question someone's opinion on this board again...I mean give me a break, obviously everyone is entitled to an opinion. The great thing about America is that I can disagree with what I preceive as categorical and over simplified opinions. That's an opinion too!

    What would happen if I said JAZZ sounds like unmitigated crap? Or is it a loftier artform? What if I said hip hop is the descendant of jazz? Would you break out in hives?
     
  10. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I would just like to add, that as I said before the real point here is why would "jazz hip hop" be "self-contradictory?

    I think this implies an elitism with many jazzers that has nothing to do with opinion. You can not like hip hop but still concede that the genres can be fused into another thing you don't like.

    But saying they don't fit together is implying that you have a priveleged knowledge of what jazz is and isn't, and what those playing it hear it as. This is the primary problem with with many jazzers as I know them in this day and age - some sort of tacit agreement to apply artifical boundaries. Correct me if I am wrong, but all jazz really means is spontaneous musical expression. It also traditionally implies some play on either popular tunes or traditional structures and theory - creating a tension between the reconizable and the unreconizable.

    But nowhere did I read the "jazz and hip hop are self contradictory" bylaw.
     
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If you said, "Jazz sounds like unmitigated crap", I would make a mental note: "lermagalieu thinks jazz sounds like unmitigated crap". End of story. My wife doesn't care for much of the music I love. I've never gotten any hives over it, and it doesn't keep me from relating to her in any way except it makes certain concerts off limits for us as a pair. When this happens, I go alone or with a friend. Lots of people think that jazz sounds like unmitigated crap - if that's your feeling, you're not alone, and it's no skin off my backside... on the other hand, if you're trying to start a flame, I'd suggest going back to nitpicking about the basis of other people's opinions, since that seems to get the desired job done quite nicely.
     
  12. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    1) For the THIRD time: Why are jazz and hip hop self contradictory?

    2) Why is it nitpicky to try to dig deeper into the nature of two genres and whether they can intersect?

    Out of conflict, true dialog will arise.

    You're telling me I am petty and basically saying I have no right to question your opinion. But I do! That's the thing! I DO! You don't have to respond, but you choose to do so, and to embed your little slings and arrows into your response.

    THREE times I have tried to say enougbh about the opinion thing and to try to get an educated response as to issue #1 above. No one responds. If there can't be a justification other than the justification that I am somehow being nitpicky, then I feel it MUST be a valid question.
     
  13. They are as exclusive of one another as most other musical genres, they share a common root. Have you ever given any thought to the origin of hip-hop? Off the top of my head, let me run it down for you. Sometime back in the '70's the art of DJing took hold (use of multiple turn tables, spinning more than one tune at a time and mixing them, etc.) In some neighborhoods, in Philly at least, cats would set-up systems on the sidewalk, any where, but I think this mostly sprang from rent parties. Having a DJ spin is cheaper than musicians. The records they were playing was the dance music of the day (funk, soul, and r&b). Those musical forms all grew out of the blues, which grew out of Spirituals, etc. The original rappers were MC's who just rapped over the records being played. The blend was the seed for what is now hip-hop. Then cats like Grand Master Flash and Afrikaa Bambata started concocting original beats to rap over instead of using other songs. Over the several years the trend has been to move away from total reliance on electronics to using more real instruments which bring us to the hip-hop you're talking about.

    As far as I know, one of the first hip-hop groups to use real instruments was the Square Roots. Today they're known as the Roots. They're bassist is a cat named Leonard Hubbard. Hub was who I'd consider my first real bass teacher (I'd been playing awhile but hadn't studied). I use to go to his studio on Germantown Avenue, a block off Chelten, in Germantown. I guess that was 1992 or so. Around that same time I guess is when Digable Planets first got together. I used to do sound in a lot of clubs, warehouses, and house parties. I knew King Brit (among others) from working all the time. They spun a lot of techno and house then, and what I'd consider better, hipper, hip-hop was usually spun later at night as the party thinned out a little. I admit there can be a jazzy vibe sometimes, but that music grew out of Funk and Soul.

    The only thing I hear in common with jazz is that jazz also grew out of the blues, though directly, not several generations removed like hip-hop. Jazz is harmonically complex, and is not repetitive. The beat is not stressed like in hip-hop.

    I could probably write more, but I have to do something now.
     
  14. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Thanks for the response. However the question isn't whether jazz and hip hop are somehow the same, but whether they are compatible. Jazz successfully brought in and played with popular music, funk music, and many other styles, but it can't do the same with hip hop? Hip hop pulled in pop music, funk, metal, but it can't do the same with jazz?

    Yeah, I am familiar with all the music you describe, and definitely with the Roots. I don't need a lesson. I also know that early hip hop artists used the funkiest break beats they could find to rap on, and the idea of the groove trancends both jazz and hip hop. As you yourself note, many musicians have taken this a step further with live instrumentation and good workingman's rhthym sections - oddly double bass is one of the best sounding intstruments in this context. So yeah, they are two different genres, but I think for the above and for many other reasons, they work very well together. I have heard jazz pulled into hip hop and hip hop pulled into rap. Both can work exceedlingly well.

    IN MY OPINION.
     
  15. #1. Regardless of the rythmic complexities of hip-hop, the reliance on *the beat* makes it static. Jazz does not rely on a beat. In most jazz there is no beat per se, just time. "Jazz" implies a certain harmonic language and subdivision of the triplet, hip-hop is devoid of both of those elements. Jazz has melody, hip-hop (and most popular contemporary music) is devoid of melody.

    #2. As I pointed out previously, they share a common root in the blues, though hip-hop is several generations removed. You'll never hear jazz musicians embrace hip-hop though because it lacks musical substance as I described in #1. I think you've already heard hip-hop use elements of jazz.

    Your quest on this topic sounds like a need to legitimize hip-hop. You don't need jazz musicians to embrace hip-hop to legitimize it. They used pop music from the mid-20th century because that provided a vehicle in which they could do what they do. Hip-hop doesn't offer anything a jazz musician can use. There is little or no melody and harmonic substance. To put it another way, there's nothing to shed on.
     
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    And now that David has attempted to answer your question, you say that we're still not getting the point. Maybe you just don't like our opinions?
     
  17. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Now that you have successfully stated your opinion(s), I can finally disagree with them. To say that both (all, you imply)hip hop and (all, you imply)contemporary music are devoid of melody is so patently untrue it is laughable. To say hip hop has nothing jazz can use is once again laughable, because even if I were to concede your point that it has no melody, there are plenty of advanced harmonic and rhythmic components that have nothing to do with melody.

    Also interesting to note this: "And now that David has attempted to answer your question, you say that we're still not getting the point. Maybe you just don't like our opinions?". David didn't send that explanation until after I said you guys weren't getting the point. His previous explanation hadn't answered my question at all, but rather gave a overview of the history of hip hop and why it is different than jazz, not why it might not be compatible with it.

    Also, for the record, I am not questioning your opinion because you don't agree with me. I am simply questioning these opinions because they were presented with unananimity, and so quickly. Which makes me suspicious. And there wasn't a lot in the way of backup info. Not to mention, Don's original point wasn't presented as an opinion, but as fact, e.g.: "self-contradictory".

    Finally I am questioning this because it is so ludicrous to me. i think jazz needs fresh ideas and air just like anything else, and I don't know why everyone is so quick to throw a blanket on that.
     
  18. If you're so up on sh*t why don't you hip us a little.
    All you've done is tell everyone else they know nothing about hip-hop, even me who was there when the sh*t that's going down now was in it's embryonic stages. I studied with Leonard Hubbard and personally knew King Brit and Josh Wink for for Christ sake. I was hanging out at house parties and laying down bass tracks for local Philly rappers when you were still in f***ing diapers. I *know* about f***ing hip-hop. You're assertion that hip-hop has some kind of advanced harmonic component is either a f***ing joke, or you've swallowed so much of the bullsh*t that the morons who promote this sh*t spew you don't even recognize that you're regurgitating it out of your own bullsh*t spewer. And hip-hop rythm is just some variation of the funky backbeat that was invented in the '60's. Get over it, it's still ok that you like it. And by the way, you're a real twerp.
     
  19. If you think jazz is in need of fresh ideas, you're obviously not up it. You need to start listening to some new jazz. Start with the two most recent Dave Holland discs, then check out Orrin Evans, _Listen to the Band_ is a good one. Try to find a CD by a group called Seed on hypnotic records, go by Reggie Workman's _Summit Conference_, and Andrew Hill's _Dusk_. After you've absorbed this you can come back and start a thread about how stale jazz is and how hip-hop could fresh'nit up.
     
  20. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Yeah I was just at practice. Ok Dave, urinate off to you too, you self important phallus. Talk to you later. By the way the reason there is some good jazz out there is because there *are* some people who listen to new ideas. Just like anything else.