Yesterday, beginning at 1:00 pm I set out on a mission of sorts. I left early to assist a current student on her first day at Jiffy Lube Live (Live Nation). I won’t go into the details of the early part of the day but let’s just say the she saw the “other side” of the music industry up close and personal.
After our three or so hours in purgatory we took 5 minutes to recover and then moved into the house area. She and the majority of the 16,000 (more or less) fans understand well what was to come. But I remain perplexed. As I got closer the music got louder…much louder. As I descended the steps into the pit area the energy was as high as I can ever remember in my two plus years working on the floor.
I can still feel those first few moments. But alas, I am left this morning with a puzzling problem that won’t go away. Why do I remain in a state of confusion over an element of music that I was sure I had mastered. An element that is present even when it’s not obvious, that is, the beat.
The show, G-Easy and Logic was basically, and for lack of a better term
, was (mostly) White Rap. The crowd was energized and looking at the faces of the mostly 17-24 year old audience I realize once again just how powerful this music is.
There’s no use, nor is it my intention, in analyzing or getting into the lyrical content, the delivery, or the sometimes conflicting messages and meanings behind this musical phenomenon. I have a bigger issue with the music, and if you are honest with yourself, you can find socio-lyrical dilemmas in all styles and genres of popular music.
It’s been bugging me for a while that I cannot get what makes a good hip hop/ rap beat. I know, and can construct, rock beats, Latin beats, jazz beats, funk beats, metal beats, and electronic beats. But when it comes to rap I don’t have it “locked in” yet. I just want to understand it in theoretical terms
I’ll say one thing for rap, they have the bass sound locked and loaded. There was a point last night where I thought my body was going to split in two. I was positioned directly in front of and slightly below the wall of bass cabinets that were stacked on top of the stage. The bass was not just loud but was vibrating every cell in my being.Wait, I think I’ve hit on something here! Is it possible that the bass supersedes the beat and is subservient to it? If this is so then hell, I’m letting it go. I mean, I’m not going to become a rap dj or a producer of rap beats for that matter. But wait, I’m a nerd. I have to know. I can’t drop it.
Someone help! I need the beat! Just tell me what is different a
bout the role of the beat? What should it have? What shouldn’t it have? Do I need a cowbell?
-Mark Jeffery Campayno