Thursday, September 21, 2006

Proud to be black

So what is Music Of Black Origin if its not every genre of popular music over the last 50 years? The key contribution that ‘whites’ have made to popular music (specific individual talents not counting) is the ability to sell music as a product and speed up its tempo so you can’t dance to it without the help of drugs – for this read: speed metal and hard house.

We’ll put aside the questionable racial divisiveness of the set up, the spirit of the MOBOs appears to be to give ‘black music’ a platform and a voice, which assumes black music can be defined and doesn’t currently have a voice (try telling that to Beyonce and Jay Z). It also assumes there to be some sort of clear divide between blacks and whites and that one needs to sell its vision to the other, which may lead to the millionaire Beastie Boys' to question how they've got away with their 20 year career.

It would be easier to accept the MOBOs if the music it represented was absolutely incomprehensible and/or unlistenable because it would, at least, allow music that is otherwise not heard (because it is so unpalatable), to be heard. In fact, MOBO music is so desperate to maintain its mainstream appeal, most of its contenders remain stuck in the Mariah/Whitney school of vocal gymnastics, what was known as ‘soul music’ and is now called RnB despite it having no blues in it and precious little rhythm.


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