The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Man Who Sold the World

Every pop culture critic and armchair sociologist in America has weighed in on the cultural sea change that occurred in 1994, as Kurt Cobain’s suicide abruptly ended the “grunge” years, allowing for the rap music-era to usher itself into the consciousness of an entire generation of disaffected teenagers. And I’m inclined to agree with those pretentious critics (being a pretentious critic myself). Being 13 in 1994, I witnessed first-hand as my peers began to desert the long-haired slacker styles of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, et. al, in order to begin freaking lasciviously at dance parties and Bar-Mitzvah’s everywhere to the soothing sounds of “Ain’t No Fun (if the homies can’t have none). It was pure chaos culturally, speaking. Yes, there was freaking galore and a whole lot of “scamming,” though to be real, at 13-years old, there was certainly no scamming to be had by this blogger. Memories…

Like many of my peers, I became deeply obsessed with rap, mainly because all I wanted to do at that age was fit in and be cool. Sadly, the reality was that hip-hop could make even the biggest loser feel like a total pimp and as the South Park movie said, “chicks dig confidence.” Therefore, in those crucial adolescent years rap become an essential form of social currency. If you weren’t familiar with all the lyrics to “California Love,” you might as well have admitted that you liked to watch romantic comedies with your grandmother. This is also the reason why Too Short will always retain a certain degree of popularity: mainly so that gangs of 16-year olds in pick up trucks can blare “Cocktales,” and think that they’re full of freaky tales, ones that in fact, they probably don’t know so well. Rap’s ability to provide false confidence and imagined sexual prowess is also the reason behind the disturbing and short-lived popularity of Akinyele, the rapper/poet behind such epic ballads as “Put It in Your Mouth,” and “Vagina Diner.”

Of course, for all the misogyny and obscenity then emerging from the rap world, the genre was also in the midst of a golden age as within a period of three years Biggie, 2Pac, Nas, Eminem, Redman, Outkast, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, Snoop Dogg (before he became a punchline) all sprung up out onto the scene, made classic albums and generally helped to make most “cool” males under the age of 17 feel like they were in the South Side Crips. Regardless of geography or socio-economic status, kids everywhere began imagining that it was their sacred duty to keep it “gangsta.’ Trust me, if you were in the Century City Mall circa 1994, you might just have caught a beat-down if you weren’t careful with who you decided to stare down (lamentably, this happened to me).

And yes, certainly a lot of 13-year kids with the last name Goldberg proclaimed themselves both “hard core” and “rough, rugged and raw.” And sure, they came to realize that if they listened to the most edgy rap they could find, Rachel Weinberg would totally want them. But ultimately, the fact remained that much of this music was excellent. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in their early 20’s who thinks that rappers today are currently putting out music as good as “ATLiens,” or “Ready to Die,” or “Illmatic,” or even Goodie Mobb’s first album.

Consequently, hip-hop has become almost a punch-line, as people above the age of 16 continually bemoan the lack of quality in the genre. In fact, it has become practically a badge of dishonor to admit to listening to rap. And if you admit you like hip-hop, you basically have to qualify that statement by saying something akin to “but not the stuff they play on the radio,” or “I only listen to underground stuff.” Certainly, there are rappers that truly are continuing to innovate and entertain (Aesop Rock, Common, MF Doom, El-P, and every other rapper you’ve never heard of), but the mainstream is infested with pop-culture vermin. If you turn on Power 106, your eardrums will be assaulted by the likes of Nelly, Fabulous, 50 Cent, Young Jeezy, and Chingy (perhaps the worst platinum selling rapper of all time, including Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer).

And of course, it’s no secret as to the reasons for hip-hop’s decline. Every generation of hip-hop fans have bemoaned the growing reliance on materialistic lyrics, of placing superficiality above substance, of talking about how easy it was for you to make someone say “uhh!!” (see Master P). But from this fractured writer’s perspective, it seems that within the last three years hip-hop has sunk to a new nadir, as mediocrities like Kanye West, Cam’Ron and The Game are hyped as musical saviors when in reality, they’re nothing more than moderately interesting and ever-so-slightly above average.

So sure, obviously money has played a huge role in hip-hop’s decline as a viable musical form but I’ve felt that no one has truly embodied the creative and moral bankruptcy of the modern rap scene until now. Without further adieu ladies and gentleman, may I introduce to the readers of this blog, the douchebag phenomenon known as Scott Storch. This man, the subject of a major NY Times article this week, is the archetype of soulless hip-hop evil and he must be stopped.

Scott Scorch is one of the most baffling figures in the hip-hop world today, as last year alone he produced 80 different songs, charging $80,000-$90,000 per track. The only things that these songs have in common is that they deeply suck. Have you ever wondered the mastermind behind such sonic disasters as “Candy Shop,” “Lean Back,” and “Just a L’il Bit?” Well, wonder no further. Storch is a modern-day miracle, able to produce hundreds of tracks a year, but each of them sounding like they were made by a mentally retarded masturbating three-year old. What can I say, it’s just his aesthetic. But to further examine the depravity and ruthless capitalism prevalent in hop-hop, one only needs to examine the train-wreck that is Storch.

But as Mr. Storch, 32, strolled about a Louis Vuitton store in Miami one recent December afternoon, buying everything his well-paid heart desired, he looked anything but happy when talk shifted from $300 sneakers to awards. He, it turns out, was outraged and "shocked" that he did not receive a Grammy nomination for producer of the year alongside the likes of Danger Mouse, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and the Neptunes.

"It's all political," he groused as sales assistants with dollar signs in their eyes zipped about. "It has to do with your visibility. It has to do with who got passed over for it before. You have to play the political game, and I was too busy making hit music to play the political.”

I’m gonna’ bypass the Louis Vuitton shopping spree (as absurdly lame as THAT is ) and just focus on his little temper tantrum about not being nominated for a Grammy. Seriously, grow the fuck up Storch, and appreciate the $8 million a year that you make despite having very little discernible talent. And by the way, you don’t make “hit music,” you make music for idiots that are too dumb to appreciate good music. The people that like your music can’t tell the difference between “Lean Back” and Mozart’s “Requiem,” because they’re either 14 years old or have the minds of lobotomized jellyfish, or both (and god knows how many mentally deranged jellyfish the average person encounters in their daily discourse, it’s simply appalling).

The depths of Storch’s massive ego obviously have no bounds as in the story he declares that he is “the Meyer Lansky of hop-hop.” There are only two possible things that one can infer from this statement. Number 1: Scott Storch is clearly delusional because though he and Lansky are both Jewish, they differ in one crucial way. Meyer Lansky killed people. Lots of them. Scott Storch makes unlistenable music. Lots of it. Actually on second thought, it makes perfect sense.
Also number 2: We can infer that Scott Storch must have a three-inch penis and therefore be compensating for it in a big way, such as his predilection for buying women Bentley’s and showering himself with all sorts of jewelry. Hiding something are we, Scottie??

But this obscene confluence of materialism and a lack of talent seriously DOES provide you with a window into the black hearted greed and disdain for artistic expression that lurks within the state of modern hip-hop. Don’t believe me? Check out this quote from Storch.

“His yacht, named Storchavelli, was docked in the back. A fleet of luxury cars was parked in the driveway and in the garage. He owns 13 vehicles, including a racing-green 1974 Jaguar, a white Lamborghini, a black Mercedes Maybach, a butterscotch-colored Rolls-Royce and a Mercedes McClaren SLR, a sleek $600,000 limited-edition ride that has been known to reduce grown men to tears.

"I drive something different every day," he said nonchalantly, as he strolled past a 1960 Bentley. "It's just my hobby."
“In addition to the flashy automobiles, he enjoys even flashier baubles. A diamond-encrusted Piaget watch twinkled on his wrist, while a 32-carat canary-yellow rock dwarfed his pinkie. "I feel like this is a badge of honor," he said, rubbing the ridiculously massive ring. "It's a symbol of hard work, the music that I've made and all the hours that I've spent in the studio."

No, jackass. It’s a symbol of dumb fucking luck and massive stupidity. But now it would seem that Storch has found his match as he’s collaborating with Paris Hilton for her album slated for release this Spring. This development should be a massive cause for worry for us all. I feel like this pairing is eerily similar to that scene in Ghostbuster’s when Sigourney Weaver’s Gatekeeper meets up with Rick Moranis’ Keymaster. The dynamically dense duo of Storch and Hilton could cause a massive calamity that could end up with a 1,000 foot Stay-Puft marshmallow man stalking the streets of Los Angeles. That or the album could totally bomb and my agnosticism could be quickly reversed. We shall see.

And as for mainstream hip-hop, well I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to save the day. Perhaps someone out there likes getting drunk at Mood and listening to Fat Joe tell everyone to alter their posture, but to quote Hunter S. Thompson, I refuse to take any guff from these swine. Seriously, I’d rather go and hang out with the hipsters. At least, I won’t have to get into an argument over the artistic merits of “Candy Shop.” I take that back. Fuck the hipsters and fuck Scott Storch. Fuck everything. Except for the show “Two and a Half Men.” Because that show is wonderful and provides me with a ray of light in the midst of these dark days. Oh Jon Cryer, why can’t you rap and save us from the endemic turmoil and despair?


At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Nate said...

That's it...fuck being a sports agent. Fuck your writing career. Let's drop everything and make beats. If we come up with a semi-unique sound, we're in like flint. Hebro (Hebrew and Negro) productions comin atcha suckas.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Or we can sign a mentally retarded masturbating three-year old. I bet he'll come cheaply and he will also fit into the modern day rap world snugly.

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At 4:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That blog was utterly stupid. I think the biggest issue here is that your jelous of the $8,000,000 Scott Storch makes per year. He is a wonderful producer, you can't take that away from him.


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