IS BLACK “MUSIC” DEAD?
Let’s begin by identifying what “BLACK MUSIC” is…(or was). This is all opinion….my opinion. Maybe I should start with MUSIC in general…you know the stuff that Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Issac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, James Brown, The Funk Brothers and even The Beatles (to name just a handful of people) did “Back In The Day”… Those MUSICIANS exemplified what MUSIC is and what it SHOULD BE. These people studied Music, Musical Instruments, & Music Theory…could pick up an instrument and make something MIRACULOUS come out of it. There are still many CURRENT MUSICIANS within todays Music Industry but they are grossly overshadowed by the Kanye Wests, Jay-Zs, Rick Rosses, Lil’ Waynes, etc….. These are the names at the TOP OF THE LIST with respect to BLACK MUSIC TODAY. HOW!!!!!???? (Money replaced Pride).
Who is ESPERANZA SPALDING? Do you know? …AND…. Why was there no mention WHATSOEVER of Donald Byrd last night? “WE” had TWO POPULAR MUSIC PERFORMANCES with the main artist playing an instrument… Alicia Keys and Frank Ocean. However, there were any number of performances by bands and musicians playing REAL MUSIC representing different genre of music than “OURS”… instead of some Sampled or Electronically Produced Beat or DJ with two turntables on stage providing the background “music” for a GLORIFIED POET…better known as a RAPPER.
I do not want to diminish the talent Rappers do possess… but at the same time it’s NOWHERE EVEN CLOSE to the talent and expertise of a Musician who can play a Musical Instrument or a Singer who can produce Music with his or her voice. I want to see a BLACK BAND OF MUSICIANS ON STAGE complete with HORNS, BASS, GUITAR, KEYBOARD, DRUMS, STRINGS, and a LEAD SINGER….what happened to that? When I say BLACK MUSIC… I mean REAL MUSIC with instrumentation that has a sound that’s set apart and distiguishable from Rock, Country, Pop, or any of the MANY GENRES of “other music” that exists. It seems “BLACK MUSIC” is all cropped intoi one category anymore…. “HIP-HOP N R&B” ….it’s no longer Hip-Hop …”OR”…R&B…it’s ONE SOUND NOW…it’s either some RIDICULOUS COINED “Maybach Music”, etc, or some form of Hip-Hip influenced R&B.
Why do we fall for such foolishness? Is it the money that’s placed in front of “US” as if we’re Bugs Bunny looking at a Carrot On A String? …..YES IT IS!!! What happened to learning a musical instrument and spending YEARS perfecting the craft of making MUSIC with it … and us looking forward to a MUSICALLY GENIUS Stevie Wonder album we’ve patiently waited a year or two for….instead of a NEW song every month riddled with a continuos Cracker Jack Beat Box Beat…easy enough to make to the extent that just about EVERYONE YOUNG PERSON YOU ENCOUNTER HAS A RAP SONG READY TO GO….(with aspirations of making MIllions)!!!!!
Producing “MUSIC” is a “GIFT”… it’s NOT something ANYONE CAN DO!!! How is JAY-Z a HOUSEHOLD NAME when it comes to what we now consider “BLACK MUSIC”…and it’s NOT Esperanza Spalding or….??????? You fill in the Blank…..do we have anymore Classic R&B Groups or Performers equivalent to Earth, Wind, & Fire, The O’Jays, The Jackson Five, The Whispers, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, The Ohio Players, Cameo, ConFunkShun, Brick, etc…. “WE” still have phenomenal R&B Vocalists but vocals are only one aspect of what BLACK “MUSIC” is all about!!!!
As far as I’m concerned, Justin Timberlake, best captured what “WE” need to get back to last night….”REAL MUSIC”…maybe he’ll do it for “US”.
“WE” are the creators of MUSIC to begin with as discovered and practiced in our MOTHER LAND…AFRICA…but now the ART of producing MUSIC, with an actual TRADITIONAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT in hand, seems to be a thing of the PAST!
What do you think? 1st watch this phenomenal performance by Justin Timberlake…with some GREAT MUSIC playing behind him….and when I say PLAYING…. I mean actually being PLAYED BY MUSICIANS… No Cheating!
(Justin Timberlake’s performance was shown in Black & White with a BIG BAND style look behind him, in my opinion, to signify the fact that MUSIC needs to RETURN to what is was “BACK IN THE DAY”…an ART!!!!)