Why is it that rockists and purists have anxiety attacks at the sight of an MPC? What is it about the presence of a single, solitary person on stage, unaccompanied by session musicians with over-expensive guitars and M&S blazers on, that internally aggravates them so much? And how come some people refuse to see genres such as Hip-Hop as main-stage worthy? This sort of conservative thinking is on the rise in 2015, which is pretty much the polar opposite of a lot of generation Y’ers. From looking at Twitter, we have a generation divided, half embracing this 21st century progression of music, art and culture, had rejecting it and regressing back to the ‘good old days’ when people played ‘real music’ on guitars. There’s nothing wrong with outgrowing your youth, we would’t have ‘Dad-rock’ or 80’s dancefloor classics compilation CDs otherwise, but the main culprits of Yeezy hating are surprisingly young, spawned from a generation who are being fed the lies that ‘all rock is good’ and ‘pop, hip-hop and other music are lazy and cheap’.
One rule for the rockists, another for the boom-bappers.
What’s peculiar about this rockist view, is that it tends to break it’s own rules; because rock ‘n’ roll, as we know it, is only around 60 years old, making it a new, progressive form of music when compared to the last few hundred or so years of musical history. Rock is of course a progression of a number of blues-based genres: rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, country, blues, gospel, field hollers and more. But let’s not forget that other, almost inescapable timeline of music (in chronological order): field hollers, rag-time, jazz, soul, funk, disco and hip-hop. Why is the second chain of events not as important as the first? does anybody really believe that rock could’ve grown the way it dd without the evolution and integration of soul? funk? Hell no. Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruits’, Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’, and Bobby Womack’s ‘Across 110th Street’ are not cheap imitations of The Rolling Stones, so let’s not do away with the fact that the British Invasion, a movement that left us with The Beatles, The Stones, kinks and The Who, built their careers on Black American music, their soul and R&B covers filled up the majority of their early singles and albums.
Synths, Samples and Stealing Bastards
A big argument haters and rockists put forward is the old ‘they just steal bits of other songs and uses computers and stuff’. Again, synths were around from the 1960s and are hardly a new thing, whereas electric guitars in music only proceed them buy around 20 years at most, 10 if we’re talking being commercially popular.
Sampling is also neither a ‘new thing’, nor is it exclusive to Hip-Hop; DJs have been experimenting with chopping and joining parts songs since the 1970s. And what even is sampling anyway? It is to take a part of a song and re-use it in a new way; it’s basic intertextuality. Look at rock covers of old folk/pop/blues songs, that’s sampling, look back further to the days when poets would ‘shout out’ to their main influences just 200 years prior. We’ve gotten to a point in music where pretty music everything has been done before (or we think!), so why get hung up on artists using 2 second chops of soul classics when rock bands are bumming out that same 12-bar blues riff that’s been knocking about for decades?
Anyway, just what is a Rockstar?
Let’s get to the point, is Kanye West the world’s greatest rockstar?
I’d say Yeezy fits the bill on this one, and here’s to all the people judging him on the basis of his one festival headline performance:
Let’s skip the run of albums and have a look at Kanye’s production discography.