Hip-House Is Back, Whether You Like It or Not

DJ Mike Biggz on Monday, Mar. 12th

Within the last three years we’ve seen a slew of “hip-house” records pop up—and blow up—as club music became prevalent on pop-urban radio. Artists like LMFAO, Flo-Rida, and Pitbull have been dominating the charts by making modern day hip-house (sub-par as some of it is, in my opinion). Even Black Eyed Peas and Kid Cudi scored hip-house hits, from BEP with “I Got A Feeling” to Kudi with the Crookers remix to his breakout single, “Day And Night,” and his collaboration with French DJ/producer David Guetta. Even R&B-pop artists like Chris Brown & Rihanna are making number-one hits with house music.

Now that the genre is officially back, I’ll share my frank opinion on the top three hip-house artists today:

Flo-Rida

I personally can’t stand Flo-Rida; the dude is not hip-hop to me at all. He might have the physique of LL, but he’s got the skills of Vanilla Ice. I think he was manufactured to make hits. His lyrics aren’t very complicated, and sound as though they were written and produced by a team, without any say from Flo-Rida. Just get in the booth, record a hit and go home till it blows up. Every one of his records is about the club – surely there are other things in your life you must be concerned and want to rap about? The lyrics read like they’re from a rappin’ Snookie on steroids. With his latest hit “Good Feeling,” he pulled what I like to call a Pitbull (see below) and jacked the hot house beat of the year, Avicii’s “Levels.” Flo-Rida should ride this wave as hard as he can, because I’m sure that soon he’ll be rapping as the old man in the club.

Pitbull

I take Pitbull’s music much more seriously than Flo-Rida’s. His records really help me get through the night when I’m spinning. And he does make good hip-house records. He also seems to be the go-to guy when it comes to played-out Latin singers who need that youthful flavor to bring their music back to the charts (see Gloria Estefan, Enrique Iglesias, J-Lo, and Mark Anthony). But for Pit’s solo success, most of his hits are based on other people’s hits (with the exception of the Afrojack produced “Give Me Everything”). Dude is the king of hip-house beat jacking. His first big record “Culo” jacked the Coolie Riddim beat and from everyone who used it, he became the the biggest star. “The Anthem” jacked the beat from “Calabria” by Rune (later made famous when he re-released it under the name Enur). Calle Ocho jacks the beat from “75 Brazil Street” by Nicola Fasano vs. Pat Rich. And on, and on.

So if you’re waiting for the next Pitbull hit, wait for another hot house record to drop and give it a few months. He’ll think of something to rhyme over it. But at least with him, unlike Flo, it’ll be much more listenable. Although I am noticing his voice continues to get more raspy as time passes. Stay away from those Cuban cigars, homie.

LMFAO

These guys are the best example of modern hip-house but are really more focused on the electro tip. DJ RedFoo actually has an interesting hip-hop past, one that contradicts everything he does now. And unlike his past, he is now in the business of cashing in… big time. He was once a part of the underground hip-hop duo Red Foo & Dre Kroon, of who I was a fan. But listening to those records now makes me crack up: He who once said “Word is bond and I’m glad you know it/ I’m just a poet/ I’m not a super star/ in a car/ drinking Moet” is now talking about “Champaign Showers.” Once you start making money I guess all that keeping-it-real bluster just goes out the window. I will give them credit for making some tight house/electro beats, but I could pretty much do without the vocals. Something must be working when you’re selling almost the same amount as pop superstar Rihanna.

Today, producers like David Guetta & Benny Benassi and Bob Sinclar are enlisting the most popular hip-hop and R&B stars to collaborate with. The trajectory for hip-house during its ascendancy is nearly identical as it’s re-emergence, which means its days might be numbered, again. But for its second run, I have a feeling it’ll last longer than the first time around. Or at least until hip-hop starts to really embrace dubstep.

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