That you can have a nice conversation without talking about the latest rap lyric?
I love how this genre of music has been around since the 70s but I still can’t quite get over how much I love listening to it. I have a collection of records with all sorts of tracks and it’s impossible for me to listen to a song and not think about the time period that it came from. It’s like learning a new language. You start learning and it’s difficult to pick up a new phrase. Hip hop became more and more accessible to a larger population of people as they saw the success of Jay-Z and I’m sure a bunch of other artists, but at the same time the genre became more difficult to listen to and it kind of felt like it was going away. It’s like reading history book where you’re like “ah but I heard it, I know it”, “but I can’t understand it”. So when someone told me to read a book about hip hop, it was like this huge breath of fresh air.
The first thing is that the history of hip hop has been written. It’s been done all the way back to 50s. We have like a hundred years’ worth of history that we know the music from. So it’s actually really interesting because I was just looking through the liner notes of any hip hop album I listen to (like a new album that’s just released), and it’s like there’s a list of the artists. “Jay-Z… Yeezus… Big Boi… Kendrick….” And when I heard Kendrick’s new music I was like “oh that’s a good one”.
That’s one of my favourite parts of the book, when Kendrick is saying “I never saw this coming”. But it didn’t hit me until I had just started listening to hip hop music (and it’s just in my mind) and I saw the songs and realised that it wasn’t coming to me as I was reading the liner notes. It was like they went a little further.
And you have an interview with Big Boi…
Yes. I interviewed Jigga and I asked him if he remembers when his first record came out and he said “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know it was out” [laughs.] And it’s really interesting for me that there’s no particular record that came out and I could not care less about it. It’s like you walk into an ice cream parlour and they have like
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