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Old 01-13-2008, 03:55 PM   #1
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Hip-hop-ified pop music

Hip-hop can be a great artform. Just like any other kind of music, there's good hip-hop and there's bad hip-hop.

But if there's one thing I just cannot stand, it is pop music that's been been given hip-hop production values, that drowns its melodies and harmonies in the background so that the beat can be front and center...pop music that's been hip-hop-ified, if you will. It's become an epidemic this decade

To illustrate my point, I give you 'Umbrella'. Two versions. One is Rihanna's, and the other is Marie Digby's. One(Digby) totally brings the melody to the forefront and is a joyful, catchy guitar-pop number. The other(Rihanna) totally suffocates the melody, joy, and any catchiness under the beat, trying to appeal to the hip-hop crowd. It almost sounds inhuman.

Rihanna:

Granted, you may think the song sucks no matter what, but like I said, that's besides the point. It's about how the music industry is presenting pop music these days. If it keeps going in this direction, will real pop music die altogether?
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Old 01-13-2008, 04:35 PM   #2
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I have to say I actually like the synth work in the hip-hop version.....
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:41 PM   #3
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I have to disagree with you here. In the example you gave, with probably the best pop song of 2007, I strongly prefer Rihanna's version. Yes, it has a strong hip-hop feel, but I think that only strengthens the song. Rihanna's version has a certain edge, bite, sassiness (or whatever you want to call it) that's missing from Digby's version. Her version might bring the melody more to the front, but this makes it instantly a sugar-sweet song. Kinda like a sub-Emilia (the one who had a hit a few years ago with Big Big World).
In fact, I'd describe her version as sweetening a great pop song too much, to the point that it becomes a bland by-the-numbers track, indistinguishable from 90% of the other commercial material produced by record companies.

And no, real pop music will never die.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:27 PM   #4
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I think that one of Muse's best songs on their latest release has a hip-hop feel to it. And I love it. Supermassive Black Hole.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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Re: Umbrella's different versions. I guess it just depends if you LIKE the trend of hip-hop influenced pop.

Me, I prefer Rihanna's version. It's a great pop song. Her version is what the song was meant to be. It's nice that other acts can strip it down and record their own version, but that's nothing new. Rock bands have been stripping down and indie-fying pop songs for years now.

Travis covering "...Baby One More Time."

Ted Leo covering "Since You Been Gone."

Marie Digby/Mandy Moore/umpteen other acts covering "Umbrella."

It's easy to take a pop song and strip it down to its bare bones. It seems to be the hip thing to do these days. I think it's a trickier thing to come up with a pop tune like "Umbrella" that gets into the bloodstream of pop culture.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:27 PM   #6
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Rhiana singing while wearing nothing but body paint = win.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:32 PM   #7
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I've never managed to get all the way through Rihanna's version, but I have listened to both Marie Digby's and Mandy Moore's versions clear though. Of course it was only once each.

I don't find any of them spectacular, but Rihanna's annoys me quicker.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:34 PM   #8
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I don't find any of them spectacular, but Rihanna's annoys me quicker.

What the ella ella ella you talking about, heh?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:53 AM   #9
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Rhiana singing while wearing nothing but body paint = win.
Speak the truth, brother.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:29 AM   #10
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I prefer Rihanna's version by miles. Digby's take has a warmer, cosier sound, but to me it sounds a whole lot more faceless, with no sass or edge of the original.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:14 AM   #11
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Ella ella ella ella ella ella....

More like ella catchy, am I rite?
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:49 AM   #12
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Ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella ella....
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:39 AM   #13
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Ay ... ay ... ay ...
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:05 PM   #14
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sometimes it works... see In A Little While

sometimes it doesn't... see Rob Thomas.
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Old 01-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #15
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Until The End of The World, also.

PS Rihanna wins, hands down. There's not a shred of evidence to suggest that she's making pop injected with hip hop to somehow make it more saleable, she's a hip hop/soul artist, produced by a predominantly hip hop producer, who just happens to be extremely popular. If anything I'd accuse her of reworking too many older pop songs (Blue Monday, Tainted love by way of example)

The only conclusion this leads to is that, as we all predicted back in oh, about 1988, hip hop would eventually either be on a level with other popular music forms and actually be a force to reckon with in pop, or, which is probably more accurately the case, would actually dominate the pop category. (and note I don't really care for alot of what is branded 'hip hop' in pop music). I think hip hop 'purists' are most disturbed by this, some with good reason because of the crapola out there, and some for the ridiculously silly notion of 'oh they've stolen our underground music'

I don't think Pop has a 'sound' or a 'definition' per se. It's not really a category, it's more like a spotlight or a lens, and what gets played by pop stations is really just what the light of popularity is being trained on at that moment in time. In a very broad and generalized sense, the people determine what is 'pop'. If in 50 years there was a decided shift in public taste towards classical music, pop would be classical as well. Bono likes to refer to U2 always wanting to make great pop music etc etc but I think it was more accurately that U2 started on the outside of pop and got the attention and focus of pop to swing around to good music ie U2's. Just my opinion tho.

So really, "pop" music can't die, but it will shift and change color and form. To me saying "pop" will die is like saying "world dominating species will die". Barring a complete elimination of life altogether, there will always be a dominant species - it just may not be us. Barring a complete elimination of Music, there will always be "pop" - it just may not be music you (and/or I) like...
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