Hip hop is the most influential culture to today’s youth globally. What is hip hop? Well, I’m glad you asked. Hip hop is the absence of rules. People study music theory, but hip hop is not theoretical. It is the practice of taking 1/100 of a sample, or a riff and completely distorting the original context, to create something that the original artist never intended or imagined. Hip hop can be a gentle ode to one’s mother or a direct threat to the powers that be around the globe in the speed of a tweet. It can be funny or ironic, or a witness to obscenely pornographic levels of uncut violence or unmitigated injustice. If it exists in the real world, it is fair game for hip hop.
Hip hop is not the pop infused sounds that we hear blaring out of our speakers in the car that provoke youth to twerk. Any similarities to “hip-pop” are due to common cultural influences, “chicken or the egg” type conundrum. There will always be entertainers who mass produce music as a job requirement, but not as an art form. To those who are reminiscent of a more conventional past, you should remember the rebelliousness of the 60’s with Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix raging against the status quo. Those timeless musicians etched a bold mark on music history.
As a musician, people often ask me what instrument do I play, and I have to ponder how to respond to the question. As a modern day composer I can play a whole symphonic orchestra, all 80 players any way I want, recorded at 96 kHz 32 bit float–layer by layer, 160 layers deep. Hip hop artists can play instruments that do not naturally exist in nature. We can make a sound that has never been heard before through vector synthesis and grain table synthesis. In other words we create things that have never existed before we made them. So we are sonic contortionist that create with the same pioneering spirit that makes men set sail into the unknown to explore the uncharted waters.
Want to learn more about the author? Listen to Mr. Wright’s hip-hop production created in his home studio in Malden.