Well, we all waited in anticipation, and the day has finally come. To used a tired expression, the cat is out of the bag, and the music world will be changed forever yet again.
Jay-Z loves Grizzly Bear.
Oh, you thought I was going to talk about the leak of one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and the fact that many are wondering what the band feels about it, and the reactions and arguments across the sixteen thousand forums across this site.
Fuck that. Did you hear me? Jay-Z loves Grizzly Bear. One of hip-hop's most talented spitters, who single-handedly put the knife through the cold mechanical heart of "autotuners" across this great nation, loves a band that is proving themselves one of the most valued musical assets to come along in some time.
It's not the fact that Jay-Z likes Grizzly Bear, it's what he has to say about the musical scene they are associated with. When Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles were spotted at Grizzly Bear's free show Sunday in Brooklyn, he was interviewed by MTV yesterday, explaining his appearance -- as if that was even necessary.
Jay-Z tells MTV, "They're an incredible band," he said. "The thing I want to say to everyone — I hope this happens because it will push rap, it will push hip-hop to go even further — what the indie-rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like us in the beginning. These concerts, they're not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there's 12,000 people in attendance. And the music that they're making and the connection they're making to people is really inspiring. So, I hope that they have a run where they push hip-hop back a little bit, so it will force hip-hop to fight to make better music, because it can happen, because that's what rap did to rock."
For that quote, Jay-Z makes a valid point, and one I've been stressing for the past few weeks: What is next for us, and music in general? I'll argue that music is so far genre defying and full of mixed ideas, that it's hard to say what the next "big thing" for music will be.
Sure, there are bands like Grizzly Bear keeping music fresh, among countless others, but I don't believe any of these bands have the ability to change a landscape of precedent at the moment.
What's interesting about the MC's point is how hip-hop changed a landscape based on word of mouth, the same way the indie scene has flourished across blog spaces on the Web. Grizzly Bear make great music, and then people talk about it, and then Jay-Z is stoked to see 12,000 people at a show with not much radio play, which we all know is controlled anyway.
Saying Grizzly Bear is an important role in the evolution of hip-hop is even more promising. Something I've learned, everyone loves hip-hop, especially indie bands, and it reflects well in their music. Even more powerful is that someone from the other side with pull, such as an artist like Jay-Z, has the ability to open up discussion across the musical board of listeners and creators alike.
Does this mean that since Jay-Z loves Grizzly Bear that we are going to see some surreal avant-garde hip-hop for the sake of redefining what we already know -- probably not, but each day is a new surprise.
The reflection is one that I liked when I read an article on Lil' Wayne sometime back. (The magazine escapes me. I believe it was either Maxim or GQ.) The article, very well written, was from the perspective of the journalist in one of the MC's studios. In a well descriptive part, Wayne talks about landing a drum beat like My Chemical Romance's "Welcome to the Black Parade." Not only could he not think of the band or song at the moment, he didn't look at the song as part of "its scene," or a "single," he looked at it for the impact of its music on the listener, and more so, what caught their ear and made it a success.
Before this gets winded, Jay-Z's remarks are one that gives hope to all we complain about. It's hope that music will continue to be fresh. Hope that artists will continue to try new things, and we as listeners should give it a better try, and maybe we'll see a higher appreciation rate for our selections.
I have a lot of thoughts on how this ties into Brand New's new album. About the cover reflecting what's inside; the length of songs; the approach; etc.
I need to collect my thoughts first, after at least 30 listens. I'm on 21. Results look good. I wonder what Jay-Z thinks of it.