Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tyga = Crossover Rap's New Jesus Christ

It's no secret that I'm not the biggest Gym Class Heroes fan. I could go on for another three paragraphs on my usual onslaught of comparing them to Crazytown, but what's the point? You little kids wouldn't know a good emcee if Rakim the God was in your living room doing "My Melody" for you and your mom.

This sentiment is proved by the unexplained popularity of Tyga, a Compton-based rapper who's currently shilling for Pete Wentz's Decaydance Records, also the home of Gym Class Heroes. Also, this Tyga kid the cousin of that Travis dude from said Heroes group. And who says nepotism doesn't pay off?

Earlier I shaved minutes off my life by watching Tyga's video for his debut single "Coconut Juice." First off, the beat is a total rip of circa-2001 Neptunes. It sounded too much like something that would've been on Clipse's "Hell Hath No Fury." In fact, Chad, Pharrell, Malice and Pusha T should pay Tyga a visit...with a cease and desist. The video also boasts a really odd cameo from Lil' Wayne who's just sitting behind a soundboard, playing with his cell phone.

The song as a whole sucks, and Tyga's not a very good rapper. I would liken him to Domino, and at least "Getto Jam" was catchy. "Coconut Juice" is pretty much a filler song that a DJ might play to take up space between "I Get Around" and "Big Pimpin'." What I find more disturbing is that little pop-punk kids will buy this shit and think of it as eclectic because they bought what they've been tricked into thinking is a rap record, when it's really a pop record with makeshift street cred.

Tyga, along with his Gym Class brethren, is just another dude who's joining Skee-Lo, Biz Markie and Kanye West in the line of Black rappers that White kids can listen to around their parents. I'm not trying to discount the talents of Skee-Lo, the Biz and (to a far lesser extent) 'Ye, but man, how about some Dead Prez? X-Clan? Poor Righteous Teachers?

I suppose my big gripe about Gym Class Heroes and Tyga is that for these kids who don't listen to hip-hop on a regular basis, the buck stops there for them. Most don't go off to discover Gang Starr, Blahzay Blahzay, The Click, Mac Mall or Shyheim. All these non-threatening rappers are just a clean, glamed up version of LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) Rap -- their records are cheaply put together, not well thoughtout and exist to only sell units and simultaneously destroy communities. If anything, Crossover Rappers like the ones who are signed to Decaydance only perpetuate the stereotypes of African-Americans that long-in-the-tooth rappers such as Common (Sense) have spent years trying to dismantle.

My solution: don't buy Tyga's new record and send his wannabe Sean Kingston-sounding ass back to flippin' meat at Fatburger. Instead, spend your money on the new Joell Ortiz record, or throw some money towards Crooked I -- there's a real Compton rapper who could use an album or five.

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