Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Halftime at The Super Bowl

After this year's halftime show wrapped up I checked out twitter and Facebook to see if there were any comments about the performance. I've actually never seen so many.

There were definitely mixed opinions, though I would say far more on the negative end. I was definitely of that opinion. Of course, I already think the Black Eyed Peas kinda suck, so I wasn't going in with high hopes in the first place. Though by the same token those that really like the Peas appeared to realize how bad the performance was as well, and really just argued that we should all give them a break.

The shitty performance wasn't all their fault, of course. Mic problems made things shaky for most of the time, and if you don't hear the vocals you're expecting at the right moment as a viewer, and it cuts in and out, it's hard to overcome that and enjoy the music. There were lighting issues on one of the stage pieces too, which didn't help since lighting was clearly the biggest selling point of the whole show. But, overall the performance was bad. The show didn't work, and in the end the performers themselves are to blame. It's ultimately their responsibility to take control of everything and make it work. There mics should have been checked by they themselves over and over again because it is such an important performance. The Super Bowl had 111 million viewers this year!

One post in particular caught my eye on twitter though. It was from Murs, who said something like, "we'll have to agree to disagree [about the performance]. This shows me how far an underground west coast hip hop group can go."

Kinda, sorta true. But, really not. It's cool that Murs supports them and is proud of their accomplishments. But, calling them Hip Hop as if that is their genre is like calling Christina Aguilara Hip Hop because she nabbed a Preemo track. Now I'm not trying to take on the arrogant role of deciding who is part of the culture and who is not, who is considered Hip Hop and who is not. The spectrum is wider than ever these days with so many artists using Hip Hop as one of several influences in their music - take Outasight, or K-os, two current favorites of mine, for instance. And, that is a good thing. We all know (well most BEP fans today don't know, actually - part of my point) that Will.i.am was on the underground battle circuit for several years, that a pre-Fergie version of the group was originally signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, and their album Behind the Front had a sound that was undoubtedly Hip Hop (I didn't like that one either, by the way). So, the group does have its roots in Hip Hop.

But, that album did not sell very well. What sold? When they added a female vocalist, and started making easily digestible pop/dance songs. The music they make today has very little to do with Hip Hop, and is not at all a driving force steering the direction of Hip Hop music the way someone like Kanye West's music is/does. In fact, if someone like West, or say Outkast were to perform at the Super Bowl, I would agree with Murs wholeheartedly. But, if you make it to that stage by switching your style to something that's Pop with some Hip Hop influence in there somewhere, why exactly should I be celebrating their achievement as a Hip Hop fan? If Linkin Park were there, would the same feeling apply for Murs? If Kid Rock was there would it be the same feeling since once-upon-a-time he was a rapper? I don't think so.

BEP just happens to have the same name they had when they started. But, it's a completely different group now with a completely different sound. I don't think the majority of their fans care to hear their Hip Hop records from years past, or would even consider them a Hip Hop group at all. So, how is their performance good for Hip Hop? Well, it's not really. And, plus it sucked, so it wouldn't speak highly of the genre anyway. So, let's be happy that they aren't a Hip Hop group and look forward to the possibility of something better next year.

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