Top This And We’ll Talk

November 12, 2009

Dear Hip-Hop,

I know I’ve been neglecting you lately: infrequent posts, little to no rotation in the home or whip, multiple days without even a glance at Nahright. I never thought I’d say this, but you just aren’t doing it for me lately. We’ve been together too long for me to beat around the bush, so let me put it to you bluntly: I’ve met another genre, and she’s incredible. Ever since discovering the classic salsa born in New York in the late 60s and nurtured on labels like Fania throughout the following two decades, I can’t bring myself to listen to anything else. To tell you the truth, it’s a lot like when we first met; I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without knowing about this music, and I have this insatiable desire to hear (and collect) as much of it as possible, in the least amount of time.

Don’t get me wrong; you still have a lot to recommend you. Sure, mainstream rap is shit, but this year alone you’ve given us dope releases by Cormega, Alchemist, Raekwon, U-God, The Jacka, Maino, and Kurupt and DJ Quik, (among others, I’m sure) even if they did share the shelves with Asher Roth, “Young Ju’ Man,” and Jay-Z’s worst album since The Blueprint 2. But it’s been a while since I’ve seen or heard anything hip-hop related that could fuck with the clip above, in which a bevy of salsa masters wile out for ten minutes straight on a Puerto Rican TV show in 1978. I’m certainly no expert on these people yet (although I’m working on it) but the group includes “El Gigante” Charlie Palmieri on keys, Patato Valdez (in the kangol) on percussion, Chocolate Armenteros on trumpet, and the great Johnny Pacheco (co-founder of Fania records and leader of the Fania all-stars) on flute. There’s also the great Machito (a pioneer of Latin Jazz) and vocals by Tito Cruz and Lalo Rodriguez. I guess the closest thing hip-hop-related to an assembly like this would be those much-hyped BET cyphers, but to be honest I haven’t even checked those out. I don’t think I could tolerate watching an Eminem freestyle in 2009, even with DJ Premier on the ones and twos.

Anyway, don’t take it too hard; I’m sure I’ll be back eventually. But you should know, you’re going to have to share me. Sure, the infatuation phase may wear off, but I don’t think my interest in salsa is going away anytime soon. So either get used to being my chick on the side, or do something exciting to win back my love. How about another D.I.T.C. album, this time with the whole crew? A Tribe Reunion? Perhaps a Nas LP with some decent production. I know: a Big Daddy Kane comeback! I could go on forever, but you get the idea. Three Gucci Mane mixtapes in one day may be enough for some people, but not for me. I think you can do better. And if you can’t, well fuck it. I’m getting plenty of stimulation as is. Now excuse me while I throw on a classic.