I've had loooong conversations the last two evenings about why you have to be a scholar/ connoisseur with a PHd in hip hop just to be allowed to say you like it. I have no idea what it's like for men but as a woman I find I spend a lot of time avoiding nerdy guys who's favourite hobby is impromptu hip hop trivia testing of females who wear nice kicks and have the odd Mos Def album. I know this is not a new phenomenon and many of us females end up having to swat up enough just to deflect this rubbish.
I was lucky enough to go to a party in LA last Friday - DJ Revolution's King of the Decks album release party. The line up included: Jazzy Jeff, Dilated Peoples, Bishop Lamont (no show dammit), Strong Arm Steady, Pacific Division, Crooked I and King T. Don't hate me.
*NB the screaming was about 30 people at the front, it was empty behind them - they should have been tearing the place down to a classic West Coast megamix like the one above.
I was so excited about it but was really surprised to see how young the crowd was - they looked about 17...and seemed to have no interest in any of the acts that came on (bit like a school disco where people just want to pull). By the time Jazzy Jeff came on about midnight the place had started to empty out - he opened up his set with Luchini by Camp Lo and I just assumed it was party time. I was on the balcony in the VIP area (that's not impressive in any way it's relevant hang on - ), where the average age was probably 25+. We all started dancing for a sec then realised the crowd below wasn't happy. Jeff continued with his early to mid- 90s hip hop set and the kids trickled out. I've never felt so old! Then we realised - they were under 10 years old in the mid 90s, why would they care about this stuff?
This is my point - I was 6 in 1989. I might know some of the music from that era and before but I definitely don't remember it or identify personally with a lot of it. So here's the question. What's more 'real' - learning music like a school subject and 'skooling' (berating) your peers for chinks in their knowledge, or just experiencing it organically when friends or DJs share it with you? More to the point, does it matter?
All I know is I really don't care about who Chuck D's best mate at primary school was, or all of the irrelevant tiny historical details boys collect in their brains. I just want to listen - is that such a big ask?