Friday, January 4, 2008
In light of this being an election year and all, people have probably been wondering where I stand on the issues. Specifically and of most immediate importance is the age-old Westcoast vs. Eastcoast Hip Hop issue. In fact, amid all the indie rock and electro pop I’ve been pushing on my wife and friends, I too had begun to lose sight of myself.
But this last weekend, I was able to put it all to a test. Due to a series of stereophonic mishaps, I found myself facing a long solo drive down the 401 without any music.
(The 401 is the number that designates the Trans-Canadian Highway. The most frequently trafficked stretch of this four lane highway is that between Montreal and Toronto and it is to this particular long, strait, ugly stretch that most mean when they refer to the “401”. Newly renamed the Highway of Heroes in honour of the Canadian Veterans returning in one way or another from battles abroad, it is also occasionally referred to as “the armpit of Canada”. I’ve always felt that “Canada’s Grundle” is a more apt analogy, both for its better inference of the look and feel of the highway and for the parts that it joins.)
So I zipped to HMV and picked up a whole deck of new albums for examination on my trip. My selections were pretty broad, but knowing how pressing your interest on my rap geopolitics, I got right into the hip hop, and loud. Back-to-back I played new albums from Snoop and Nas, and let mid-western mid-tempo Kanye play referee. Without suspense, I’ll tell you that as good as Snoop and his (many, many) friends may be, there is simply no comparison. I am still Eastcoast. Stark, mean, licks of jazz and hard rock, Nas and the New York sound are for me.