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Monday, September 19, 2011

In Defense of Rap-Rock, article critique

I am applying for a job as an editorial assistant for Slate magazine and for the application I was asked to critique one of their culturebox articles. The result is below, and the article is linked right before this sentence, please let me know what you think.

“In Defense of Rap Rock” has a confusing opening that equates the term “the dream of the 90’s” with “nostalgia” and then later a “celebration of cultural touchstones”. It would have been more straightforward and simpler to mention that the 90’s brought a wealth of terrific pop culture, but as a whole rap rock was one element that we would all like to forget.

The author quickly redeems himself by bringing us up to date on the current state of rap-rock fusion with his more than considerable knowledge of the scene lifting up the Wugazi mixtapes as a shining example of the good that can come from blending these two distinct sounds.

Run DMC and Aerosmith’s hugely popular collaborative effort “Walk this Way” spawned a whole suite of imitators eager to cash in, and the author makes the case that corporate greed destroyed rap rock when they created the soundtrack album for the movie “Judgement Night” which the website describes as every track being “a hard rock act combined with a rap act”.

I disagree, as soundtrack albums from the 90’s seldom if ever even approached the popularity of the movie, (Romeo and Juliet being one of the few examples) and “Judgement Night” an Emilio Estevez vehicle, made little noise in the movie or music business and came several years before the onslaught of terrible rap that is the focus of this article.

The article claims that the merger of grunge and later nu-rock with rap led to the toxic sludge like Limp Bizkit that is best consigned to the trash bin of history. While ultimately true, the article seems to have almost criminally left out the only actual redeeming artifact of 90’s rap rock of any real worth, and that is the blistering sounds of Rage Against the Machine, the efforts of which were never equaled before or since.

The author name checks many more current musicians that I am unfamiliar with, explaining that by reimagining 80’s hip hop and rock combos and skipping the 90’s versions entirely, new rap rock has proven that grunge simply didn’t work well with rap music.

Blaming everything on Limp Bizkit and their ilk doesn’t prove anything at all, besides the fact that those bands made terrible music.