Mainstream Hip Hop and Autotune ft. Kevye West

I don’t know if anyone watches Attack of The Show on G4, but one of the hosts, Kevin, made a music video making fun of Kanye West and his use of autotune on his latest album, 808’s and Heartbreak and it got me thinking about the state of modern (mainstream) hip-hop and just how shitty it really has gotten. I’ve embedded the video above, it’s not bad, very well made, there’s definitely a low blow towards the end and as much as I despise Kanye West it might have been a little much, but whatever.

I think we can all blame T-Pain for this latest influx of retarded hip-hop artists that think using auto tune to change the pitch of your voice makes them sound better. If you can’t sing in the first place auto tune isn’t going to help, you should just quit now. Ok, so when T-Pain (or maybe Akon) first started doing it a few years ago it wasn’t that bad. Just another interesting gimmick to try to save mainstream hip-hop from dying. I didn’t mind Akon as much as I hated T-Pain. What the fuck is up with his stupid hats, hair, retarded glasses, he looks like a broke ass George Clinton. He’s featured on every single hip-hop record that comes out… kinda like Lil Wayne. I think Lil Wayne, T-Pain and Akon should just guest spot on Kanye’s next album, just to keep all of these auto tune loving jackasses out of the rest of radio music. The record would basically sound like static mixed with that noise you get through your speakers when you put your cell phone too close to it… garbage. At least that way all the garbage would be in one place and wouldn’t contaminate everything else.

Ok, ok, you can argue that Lil Wayne is the greatest rapper alive or the hardest working rapper alive, blah blah, whatever. I was a fan back when The Block is Hot came out when he could actually (kind of) pronounce english words in his music, but today I can’t understand a word he’s saying. Between his voice being raspy anyways, auto tune and his slurred speech, I don’t even know how you could call this music. It just sounds like he’s mumbling over decent beats. And as far as hardest working rapper, eh, if that is decided by the most tracks he’s guest appeared on or how much time he spends in the booth, then sure, I’ll give you that one, but anyone can jump into a recording booth and mumble words into a microphone over a beat. And people always claim that his mainstream stuff isn’t as good as his “underground” or non-mainstream stuff… ok, but that’s not what most people listen to and a lot of these idiots claiming he’s god haven’t ever heard his older or non-mainstream stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s talented, but quantity is not better than quality.

Which brings me to Akon and T-Pain. Who knew these guys could actually put out a full CD themselves. It seems like they just guest star on tracks singing hooks, which is what they should stick with. I can sometimes stand them in very small doses, but not full tracks. Like that song T-Pain has on the radio about taking some chick to a log cabin somewhere in wiscansin. Cabin and Wisconsin do not rhyme! It takes all the skill out if it if you change up the spelling and pronunciation of a word to make it rhyme with something else. The line should have something like, “I took this bitch to lake moccasin, somewhere in wisconsin; ended up at a log cabin, where I shot myself so I would give up rappin”. And Akon, not quite as bad as T-Pain, but still can’t stand the auto tune for a full album.

Which leaves me with Kanye… I don’t like Kanye in general, as a person or as an artist. I don’t like his music, he’s a cocky, arrogant prick, who’s latest albums just plain suck. I’ll give you college dropout (that was his first right?) that one was decent, but it’s the success of that album that made him into the monster he is today. 808’s and Heartbreak is probably the worst hip-hop album I’ve heard in 10 years, and there have been a lot of bad albums in the last 10 years.

So I don’t know what is going on in the world of mainstream hip-hop today, but it seems like there aren’t too many musicians that try to put out good music anymore. I understand there is still a lot of good hip-hop outside of the mainstream, so hip-hop is not going anywhere for a while, but hopefully these trends that are making it to the mainstream will die off soon. I can’t even listen to the radio anymore because of the terrible quality of music in general whether it’s hip-hop, rock or whatever, but I’ve slowly moved away from mainstream hip-hop and started going back to either 90’s hip-hop or more towards rock stuff. I will say that I am very impressed with Ludacris’ new album, I enjoy The Game, Common’s new album is really good, Lupe Fiasco (not entirely mainstream yet) and I’m sure there’s a few other decent albums of late that I’m leaving out, but all in all most mainstream stuff is absolutely terrible.

I know this article probably holds no merit to anyone regarding the state of the hip-hop industry, but I saw the video that Kevin made and it just reminded me of how much I hate this auto tune fad so I figured I’d rant a bit.

What do you guys think about auto tune? or a Vocoder or whatever you want to call it? Do you feel it adds to the music or is it just a way of covering up a terrible vocalist?