Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The New Proponent of Indie Rock:: Jay-Z?

Indie Rock Café has an interesting post on how Jay-Z hopes that the current energy in indie rock will inspire rap and hip-hop artists.  They have a quote from him from MTV::
"[Grizzly Bear is] an incredible band. The thing I want to say to everyone - I hope this happens because it will push rap, it will push hip-hop to go even further - what the indie rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like us in the beginning. These concerts, they're not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there's 12,000 people in attendance. And the music that they're making and the connection they're making to people is really inspiring. So I hope that they have a run where they push hip-hop back a little bit, so it will force hip-hop to fight to make better music. Because it can happen. Because that's what rap did to rock." --Jay-Z on MTV
Interestingly, earlier this afternoon I tweeted about Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" video on Pitchfork, which has interesting/creepy imagery.
I think Jay-Zed {shoutout to LQ in the 'Ront} is spot-on here.  There are hotspots of innovative sound in indie rock right now in places like Montréal, Québec and Brooklyn, NY that serve to nurture bands by creating a community of praxis via the indie music scene.  AnnaLee Saxenian's {iSchool@UC-Berkeley} book comparing high-tech. in Silicon Valley & Route 128, Regional Advantage,  has inspired me to start work examining how indie scenes foster community and to what ends, i.e., understanding the culture and microcultures.  More on this in another post.
Indie Rock Café mentions the watershed crossover with Run-DMC and Aerosmith collaborating on "Walk this Way"::
"As a result of that video that premiered on MTV in 1986, millions of music lovers in both the rock and rap music markets came to appreciate musical styles they may have previously not enjoyed, thought wasn't cool to enjoy, or simply were not exposed to in a way that talked to them, so to speak. "
I like the idea of making connections between genres, but I might be biased as that's my approach to knowledge creation is through linking ideas, concepts, æsthetics, etc., in novel ways.  I'm a tad wary though of crossovers that are so overtly commercialized, but I don't dispute the connection IRC makes or the impact.  Beyond Beats & Rhymes chronicles how rap and hip-hop went über-commercial so that "spitters" knew they had to conform to an orthodoxy to break into the game.  The music morphed into selling units to white, suburban teenagers as a symbol of rebellion {like rage rock, punk, heavy metal, etc.} that were seemingly indigestible to authority figures.  I think this is where communities of praxis embedded with a vibrant music scene comes in, where creative people interact, inspire, and riff off each other.  That said, it would be interesting to see artists cross genres, but in a way that is really about the music, not about creating content fodder for marketing for a mass audience.  Hip-hop is very Web 2.0 with its roots in the sly cleverness of the remix and the mashup, so I see opportunities to use technologies to create multimedia creative collaborations that bridge hip-hop and the crafted, melodic stylings with creative lyrics that are the hallmarks of indie rock.  So, indie rock & hip-hop.  Well, before Kanye found the vocoder, Neko Case dared to go there on Aqua Teens Hunger Force::

Video:: Via Indie Rock Café, Grizzly Bear @ Williamsburg {Brooklyn} Waterfront

Twitterversion:: #Twitter #TrendingTopic master #Jay-Z gives #indierock props on #MTV.  Is the time ripe for innovative cross-genre collaborations? @Prof_K


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