Back in the 1940's before Charlie Parker played the harmonic equivalent of Einsteins Theory of Relativity E=MC square and blew every ones mind for the next two centuries he played local New York nightspots and after hours clubs like Milton's and Smalls Paradise and those in the know would go around telling everyone about this player from Kansas City that sounded like tenor master Lester Young on alto. At Minton's Monday nights was jam session night where the best players and the up and coming participated in cutting sessions. Serious competition to determine who was the big boy on the block. The audience listened and judged, the musicians for thier trouble recieved a good free meal, bragging rights or a whuppin, and innovation and creativity was always inspired. There was a lineage of jazz music and musicians that survives to this day. There was a tradition predicated on competition that also survives!
I was reading XXL or the Source or some kinda rap magazine and watching videos on You tube of rap music and I kept reading the comments sections, Jay-Z is the greatest rapper alive! No, Nas is the greatest! Nooooooo Lil Wayne is the greatest! And before that it was PAC or Biggie and I'm like ????@*###@
Biggie! Pac! What???
No offense to Tupac or Biggie Smalls, both great talents lost too soon but neither one of them was the greatest when they were alive!
Pac was talented and absolutely prolific but for every jewel he dropped he dropped about ten turds!
Heresy! You say.....
Pac wrote California Love, To live and Die in LA, Dear Mama and Keep your head up but recorded enough albums of filler like U can't c me and hit em up to fill up dodger stadium!
Now Biggie, that dude had a beautiful flow! Great improviser sure, but he didn't write anything that would change the world. He didn't! Ready to Die gave us Juicy, The 10 crack commandments and Warning, great songs but not timeless, life changing material just like Nirvana's Never mind it will stand testament as a document of that generations angst not a battle cry or call to arms!
Oh, what a wail it was though.
Now back to my point so I hear Biggie, Pac, Jay or Nas and I thought wait....KRS One aint dead! How is Jay the greatest? Rakim Allah ain't Dead! How are we speaking on Nas when that is reality?
Lil Wayne versus Jay? For The Greatest! How?
Now here's a real good spoiler for ya....LL COOL J
Never been bested in battle! The only one who ever hurt LL is LL?
Sorry L but trying to be a pop star and maintain lyrical supremacy and failing to roast the young upstarts has hurt ya bro. Roasting Canibus was funnie but too easy.
Tradition dictates that the up and coming players go up against the best in battle! Jay-Z has not battled KRS, NAS has not battled Rakim Allah!
Heck, Jay didn't even battle Big and Big didn't battle KRS or Rakim!
Jay and Nas battled each other. Nas winning the battle of Lyrical supremecy with the blistering "Ether" and Jay winning the war by sure attrition. Jay sold more good records alot more than Nas sold with his great ones.
So now we have another new generation of listeners debating the artists their listening too without any knowledge of who came before them. Lil Wayne has to go through Jay and then KRS to be King!
Well, Jaycee that's just opinion, your opinion, right?
Dig, if we do not continue to honor the tradition of our artists then the art just falls into whatever is current and commercial. The artist ceases to be an artist and becomes just another product a commericial enitity. We have to stop that before it happens!....Oh!...
KRS is over 30, putting his records out independently with no current hit record on the radio so he's passed over but KRS still rocks it in concert, still takes on all comers and no one has taken the crown yet! No, the top contenders are hiding behind their current record deals, putting out video after video claiming to be the king and avoiding battle with the real kings at all costs!
Why does it matter? Look at the state of heavyweight boxing right now. Who's the heavyweight champ right now?
How many conferences award belts?
The WBA, WBC, The IBF, The WBO and they all got heavyweight champions!
Ali was the undisputed champ! Tyson was the undisputed champ! and the contenders Norton, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Spinx, Quarry were all top notch and ended up champions in their own right. That level of competition made Ali just as much as his stand against Vietnam!
Now, because they allowed it to be diluted and didn't allow real competition to weed out the suckas boxing has no real draw anymore. And it's in danger of being overrun by Mixed Martial Arts! Kimbo Slice anyone?
Jazz musicians had jam sessions and cut each other in battles because they were literally playing to eat. Their next gig depended on how they played against another player. Playing great may decide if a player got to record a single at all. It's the same with rap music. Where are those hungry artists, who literally are playing for they next gig, literally gigging to sell they records to eat and well make another record?
Naw, if you gonna be the best you have to go up against the best. That's the rule! Competition gives birth to excellence!
Don't agree, tough, I'm waitin to hear from ya!
Be Careful! Be Mindful! Be Prayerful!