Thursday, December 8, 2011

Louis Armstrong

I think Jay Z might be our generation's Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong didn't just rise above black America New Orleans in the 1920's, he played in theaters and clubs that didn't allow blacks. He broke barriers. He was called a traitor. He was called a lot of things by whites and blacks alike. But in the end he changed our country's music. forever. He was only allowed to walk in the back doors of the hottest clubs, but he founded jazz as we know it. Out of this came hip hop.

But maybe The Roots did it first, I don't know. But I don't feel like The Roots have the mainstream following that Jay Z does and that Louis Armstrong did during his time. I mean my mom thinks Jay Z is super hot. Does my mom know the Roots? I have no idea because she has never just blurted out how hot QuestLove is. 

I gave Jay Z's book Decoded to my friend Amanda's (who never fucking reads this blog!) brother for christmas last year. Her brother is super religious but mostly likes to argue. I like to give him liberal leaning books that would make him look like an asshole if he just dismissed them outright with his religious far right views without first reading into them. It's great.

Anyways, I don't think there are many artists whose books I could hand over and say read this, it may just change your closed minded view of hip hop. And then point them to a NPR Fresh Air episode then rush them to listen to The Blueprint. I feel that Louis Armstrong did the same thing.

As much as I think Jay Z is changing the way folks view hip hop these days, I think if Tupac had lived longer he would actually would have been the real deal. He would have calmed down, stopped the bullshit, grown up a bit, and changed more then just the people who go on to change the world. But he didn't. So he isn't our generation's Louis Armstrong, but Jay Z just might be.


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