Tag Archives: kanye west

Hipsters: Then and Now


The Hipsters

Past and Present … Presently ….

Here is a bit of a History Lesson of where this ‘Hipster’ Fashion and culture has come from … and SHOCKINGLY, it comes from the Black Community … (that is sarcasm)

Birth of ….


“Hipster” derives from the slang “hip” or “hep,” which are derived from the earlier slang “hop” for opium. The first dictionary to list the word is the short glossary “For Characters Who Don’t Dig Jive Talk,” which was included with Harry Gibson’s 1944 album, Boogie Woogie In Blue. The entry for “hipsters” defined it as “characters who like hot jazz.” The 1959 book Jazz Scene by Eric Hobsbawm (using the pen name Francis Newton) describes hipsters using their own language, “jive-talk or hipster-talk,” he writes “is an argot or cant designed to set the group apart from outsiders.” Hipster was also used in a different context at about the same time by Jack Kerouac in describing his vision of the Beat Generation. Along with Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac described 1940s hipsters “rising and roaming America,… bumming and hitchhiking everywhere… [as] characters of a special spirituality.”


Mutation of …

1990s and 2000s
In the late 1990s, the term started to be used in new, sometimes mutually exclusive ways. In some circles it became a blanket description for middle class and upper class young people associated with alternative culture, particularly alternative music, independent rock, alternative hip-hop, independent film and a lifestyle revolving around thrift store shopping, eating organic, locally grown, vegetarian, and/or vegan food, drinking local beer (or even brewing their own), listening to public radio, and riding fixed-gear bicycles.

In 2003 Robert Lanham’s satirical book The Hipster Handbook described hipsters as young people with “… mop-top haircuts, swinging retro pocketbooks, talking on cell phones, smoking European cigarettes,… strutting in platform shoes with a biography of Che Guevara sticking out of their bags.” Hipsters are considered apathetic, pretentious, and self-entitled by other, often marginalized sectors of society they live amongst, including previous generations of bohemian and/or “counter-culture” artists and thinkers as well as poor neighborhoods of color.

Gavin Mueller’s article “Hipster or Not?” for Stylus Magazine (2004) wrote that “… hipster lifestyle is reduced to a pose, a pretense” which involves”…”a hipster costume, worn to appear “cool”, a liberal arts education, and so on. He claims that the term “‘Hipster’ is far too vague and broad to have any semblance of essential meaning”.


Current … Hipster Rap

In 2008, Utne Reader magazine writer Jake Mohan described “hipster rap,” “as loosely defined by the Chicago Reader, consists of the most recent crop of MCs and DJs who flout conventional hip-hop fashions, eschewing baggy clothes and gold chains for tight jeans, big sunglasses, the occasional keffiyeh, and other trappings of the hipster lifestyle.” He notes that the “old-school hip-hop website Unkut, and Jersey City rapper Mazzi” have criticized mainstream rappers who they deem to be poseurs or “… fags for copping the metrosexual appearances of hipster fashion.” Prefix Mag writer Ethan Stanislawski argues that there are racial elements to the rise of hipster rap. He claims that there “…have been a slew of angry retorts to the rise of hipster rap,” which he says can be summed up as “white kids want the funky otherness of hip-hop… without all the scary black people.”



I don’t mind the Hipster fashions for the women, but when the Hipster fashions for the men look like the same fashions for the women; then there is a problem – loosen up the jeans fellas.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_(1940s_subculture)

FreeStyle – The Avant Garde Way

Coltrane’s Freestyle

Breaking conventions of the day – a blueprint for hip-hop

Though the music produced by free jazz pioneers varied widely, the common feature was a dissatisfaction with the limitations of bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz, which had developed in the 1940s and ’50s. Each in their own way, free jazz musicians attempted to alter, extend, or break down the conventions of jazz, often by discarding hitherto invariable features of jazz, such as fixed chord changes or tempos. While usually considered experimental and avant-garde, free jazz has also oppositely been conceived as an attempt to return jazz to its “primitive,” often religious roots, and emphasis on collective improvisation.

Free jazz is most strongly associated with the ’50s innovations of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the later works of saxophonist John Coltrane. Other important pioneers included Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Bill Dixon, and Sun Ra.

Starting in bebop and hard bop, Coltrane later pioneered free jazz. He influenced generations of other musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He was astonishingly prolific: he made about fifty recordings as a leader in his twelve-year-long recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis.

Here are some classic compositions from Coltrane and Davis:

I say all this to state that hip-hop is in a similar state that jazz was in; and hip-hop is in dire need of something to break it from the current dismal convention – luckily, we have a few artists that are defying limits like Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, but we need more or I fear that my little baby nephew will think that stringing a bunch of similies together and shouting on the track is ‘hip-hop’ …. (I shudder the thought).

.:: LiBM ::.

Artists’ Emo Energy

Emotional Energy

Ever wonder why you are just attracted to a certain entertainer? Even if they have lacklustre skills? Above average skills? One of the key components that one can rock to a ‘Soulja Boy’ and a Kanye West, is the fact that these artist’ bring something more than lyrics and beats – emotional energy. Really it is emotions that is transformed into energy, that is then absorbed by the audience. When you get chills after hearing a song by Kanye or Tupac, its partly because the emotions that they breathed on the track was so energetic, potent, that it sent a chill down your body. When Soulja Boy yells ‘Youuuu’, you know that you gotta move; these artists’ energy, through songs, brings you INTO the song so that you can experience what they are saying. You get the vantage point of the artist, Tupac brings you to the Oakland blocks, Kanye takes you on an acid trip in hip-hop electro music, and Rick Ross takes you on a ride in Dade County. Once I understood the concept of emotional energy, it built my ideal that there is a reason why certain artists exceed:

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes
One of hip-hop’s best live performances



Lyrically gifted; very potent MC, but will never go anywhere because his bars lack feelings

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli
A grassroots, social minded MC, very lyrical, but lacks emotional energy.

Kanye West

Kanye West
Pretty much the emotional energy of a Busta Rhymes, taking down a notch, and the lyrical skills of a Talib; the Louis Vutton Don gets it in; even though he is very arrogant.


Was very hot in the late 90’s with mindblowing lyrics, but lacked energy to sustain the masses

You know, it is kinda funny that maybe emotional energy can be tied to the overall intelligence of an audience; for example, very lyrical rappers rarely make it to superstar status because it takes a higher intellect to understand their lyrics.  Yes, you may be saying that Lupe and Kanye are the exception, but these artists only broke the fold with emotionally charged singles – Lupe’s ‘Superstar’, and Kanye’s ‘Jesus Walks’.

.:: LiBM ::.

Royskopp – Happy Up There

Happy Up Here from Röyksopp on Vimeo.

Royskopp – Happy Up There

Royskopp is an electronic music duo hailing from the Norweigian region of the world, so I am guessing that is Norway.  Kanye West latest album 808’s & Heartbreak is definitely influenced by the sound of Royskopp and their fusion of electronic house music and hip-hop music.  Royskopp first became known to me in that funny Geico commercial with the Caveman, anyhow Royskopp seems to be dropping something this year and here is the latest video, pretty unique and creative.

And here is the very funny Geico Commercial with the Royskopp hit ‘Remind Me’

Flashing Lights ver. 2 by Kanye West

Kanye West – Flashing Lights (2nd Version)

I get why Kanye is cocky, arrogant, obnoxious – not saying that it is ‘right’, but when you are so ahead of the pack (other rap artists), then it is only a matter of time before one gets ‘gassed’ and their ego takes over time. This video is very creative, and is a breath of fresh air into the ‘hip-hop music video genre’ – there is no rudimentary booty shaking or club scene, then a hood/block scene … this video actually has creative treatment, and makes you think ….. some of y’all may have forgotten how that feels.

.:: d.b