After a four-year hiatus and hot on the heels of Tiger JK’s departure from Jungle Entertainment, Drunken Tiger returns with The Cure, the “group”’s ninth release.
While we can all disagree on the technical or aesthetic aspects of music and have different opinions on what is good or bad, this article reflects the tendency to reduce hip hop to just one mode. Even as it identifies Tiger JK’s personal travails as inspiration for the release, it blasts the The Cure because of its lack of "acid flows, endless cool, and sick production." Erika explains that "the emotional sentiments are as hackneyed as the beats, not because Tiger JK comes from a place of insincerity, but because the audience has been there, done that, and come home with the t-shirt." Overall, Erika says that this album is not up to Tiger JK’s previous work because its too mello and not "bombastic" enough.
Such opinions represent a refusal to allow hip-hop to grow and change. It keeps hip-hop on one setting, and discourages innovation, or even anything that deviates from a norm that defines hip-hop as hard. We’ve seen this before, when the norm became gangster rap, and other modes fell to the wayside, and many regret that turn. As Mark Anthony Neal once said, hip-hop has a mortgage. If it is truly a mode for personal expression, then it follows that personal circumstances change, and it may not be as important to talk about what’s going on in the club anymore. In addition, the relentless quest for "something new" from artists is just unrealistic to maintain, and at some point, artists of a certain level cease to have to prove themselves.
If we are going to talk about Tiger JK’s dialogue with various musical traditions, I would expect the musical knowledge of writers to be wide and varied enough to bring a critical eye to the musical traditions at play, musical references that go beyond the 1980s.
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