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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Moving In The Right Direction

When was the last time you took a look at a long held prejudice of yours? What triggered that look?

With few exceptions, I haven't given rap or hip-hop a fair shot. I've long rationalized my prejudice by saying music is - by definition - melody, harmony and rhythm. Since rap rarely has the first element and sometimes doesn't have the second, I've let a musician's snobbery help justify my bias. I now have Shawn Taylor to thank for helping me begin to shed this prejudice.

As a Christmas gift, my oldest niece gave me Taylor's extended essay about the first album by hip-hop artist A Tribe Called Quest entitled "People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm". Taylor's 2007 essay about Tribe's 1990 record is part of a series called "33 1/3", each essay featuring a writer discussing one album that transformed them in some way. Taylor's piece was so passionate, well-written and convincing that I've now purchased the first rap/hip-hop album of my life. After giving it the same fair shot I've given to many subpar albums by my rock & jazz favorites (a reverse prejudice of sorts), maybe I'll write a post about it.

But, like the the album or not, write a post about it or not, Taylor's evangelism had an effect. I'm not over my prejudice yet but I'm moving in the right direction.