On hip-hop, Drake, Chippy Nonstop and the developing sound and style of what’s next
In two unrelated moments, hip-hop’s 2012 continued to be a year of vastly expanded expectations. In the release of Drake’s re-bar mitzvah themed video for “HYFR” and swag coast bass princess Chippy Nonstop’s “Global School of Twerk” EP, rap music’s latest and greatest sounds and styles continue to defy expectations and now are refined enough to refuse to be ignored.
Drake’s Take Care may be the best crafted creative work in rap music in the 21st century. It’s a terrific think piece on the depth and scope of the aspirations and realities of the young princes of hip-hop culture, a moment frozen in time before watching the throne becomes sitting upon it. While not thematically dense, one of its key themes is the nature of brotherhood, and how a new generation of kids are handling those moments where lines of rich and poor, white and black, wild and calm, restrained and free intersect. Unified by a love of hip-hop and a fearless desire to face the future, “HYFR” mocks not just interviewers, but naysayers to their dominance in general in asking the following questions:
Do you love this shit?
Are you high right now?
Do you ever get nervous?
Are you single?
I heard you fucked your girl, is it true?
You getting money? You think them niggas you with is wit’ you?
Of course, in the answer to the question lies the power of the song, as in saying “hell yeah, fucking right,” above all else, Drake speaks for an entire, quickly unifying generation of young, rich and powerful emcees galvanized by three hip-hop desires of yore – money, power and respect. A video showcasing the principles of HYFR at a bar mitzvah? Don’t get it all twisted in some highbrow hip-hop nonsense. Drake’s Jewish. The first time he likely ever learned how to get down and ball out of control was that night when he turned 13 with his best friends, a ton of booze, all of the money, and nary a care in the world. More than anything else, it’s a case of from the root to the fruit and back again.
As for Oakland’s Chippy Nonstop? She’s a superstar in the making. Her latest #GLOBALSCHOOLOFTWERK EP emerges from the mess of cultural appropriation and public misunderstanding that has been the mainstreaming of her homegirl Kreayshawn. Chippy’s old enough to chill yet nearly old enough to spill, and the self-proclaimed “Digital Lolita” is completely aware of the power of what that means in the digital age. A child of technology and globalism, her sound is a mix of terrific bass heavy production mixing with the voice of a type of hot and cool that we’ve never known. It’s not enough to listen to her music. It’s an investment in a lifestyle, whether that means smoking weed and sipping lean, hitting the hottest underground parties five nights a week, or generally being ratchet yet DIY, divesting knowledge of the world you live in to instead create the world in your imagination. Timothy Leary advocated dropping out and tuning in to a frequency that re-defined a generation. That generation created the internet, and their children, and the youth of the world have created the digital class, an electric kool aid acid reality that places the future at the precipice of peril and paradise.
The world’s hottest rapper is a half-black Jew from Toronto. Some of the dopest bass slappers in the world are voiced by an internet super-heroine born in Dubai. Hip-hop changed the world, and now the world’s changing hip-hop. As the progressions continue, attention must continue to be paid.