Something many readers may not realize is the Gauntlet is sent hundreds of rap CDs over the course of each year. Record companies send us many, many albums in the hopes of garnering a review. With only a few exceptions, all of them are crappy.
One record we have not received is the new Public Enemy disc There's a Poison Goin on. Recently PE "poisoned" their record deal by ignoring Def Jam Records and releasing their album on the net via MP3.
Head man Chuck-D explained in a recent interview that he'd rather give his music away than have record companies steal the public's money. What a novel idea, a rap artist with some intestinal fortitude. Sadly, this is not the norm.
Rap was supposed to be so much more, and for a while it was. Rap was cool, but rap has collapsed upon itself.
What started as an expression of the urban emergency is now co-opted by shoddy capitalism and fraud that rivals boxing. The former political expression of an underclass has been replaced by braggarts and their hangers-on.
It is astounding who can get a record deal. The prerequisites have been on a steep decline; bad grammar and a quick run through the record company's image cookie-cutter suffices.
All claim to be the lyrical masters; all claim to have razor sharp intellects, and rhymes that will bust out your mind, but do they really?
True, there has always been a certain amount of superficial rap, but today the political side has all but disappeared. By its very definition the antithesis of rap is the corporation. Corporate rap is an oxymoron and it seems this brand of manufactured rebellion is all that is being produced and supported.
Video concepts can now be as basic as a riding a quad through downtown Toronto. Or some other "hard-as-goddamn-steel" mode of transport, like a black Mercedes or an f-15. Sounds like intelligent content to us.
Master-P, who by the way claims to have a Sherman tank made out of solid gold, alone produces three or four albums a month. He has a full schedule being a sports agent, a basketball player and an all-around joke.
Artists cannot even rely upon using a snippet from old song and then looping it over and over. The new Puff Daddy album samples old rap albums, actually the record is one long sample of Yo Bum Rush the Show (an old PE album).
It has become obvious that anyone with a cause that doesn't involve "bitches" or pistols is drowning in a tidal wave of corporatized bullshit.
And that's a shame.
We suggest you go to the Public Enemy website (<<http://www.public-enemy.com>>) and steal the album. That's how they'd prefer it.