When I was younger and more of a music snob than I am now (still a snob, though), I used to dismiss singers who didn’t write their own songs as lacking talent. I’ve come to realize that’s pretty dumb, as most singers are not great songwriters and many if not most great songwriters are not great singers. And I’ve come to realize that a great singer can do great things with a song, regardless of whether or not they wrote it. But that’s because that singer has a particular musical talent.
But what happens in hip hop, when you have a rapper who doesn’t create his own music, and he doesn’t even right his own lyrics?
I guess if you’re a connoisseur, you can tell that Eazy-E is a good rapper. I’m not, so I have no idea whether he’s any good or how important he is. (I’ve read some stuff suggesting he’s very important.) What’s mystifying to me is that this guy is so legendary, but other people wrote his raps for him. There’s something really off-putting about that for me. He can’t sing. He’s not a DJ. He’s not sampling anything. Why is this record under his name? He performed it. I guess that’s enough. (They imply he plays drums on one track and they mention that he plays piano on another track. I guess that’s something?)
For the little I know, the record seems to be a pretty big deal within hip hop. The production is more interesting and more fun than Straight Outta Compton – I actually like it more than that record. It’s less professional and feels like they are taking more risks. I guess the lyrics likely helped define gangsta rap, though it feels a lot lighter in tone than N.W.A. Eazy-E feels like he’s acting a role, rather than really trying to show us how scary he is. (Ice Cube and MC Ren both seem far less goofy, and far more intense.)
Anyway, I don’t know what to do with this. It should be an N.W.A record based on who did what, but I guess Eazy-E’s the star, or something.