Hello. I’m William E. Ketchum III, and I’m a rap addict.
Let me explain. After my mother died of cancer when I was a child, listening to No Way Out and seeing Sean “Diddy” Combs—of all people—go through the same emotional highs and lows from his best friend passing stopped me from attempting suicide. Hip-hop has been my muse ever since. I’ve spent the last six years honing my writing skills and chronicling the music, hoping to introduce other listeners to the same hope that I was blessed with during my time of need.
But a few weeks ago, I had a problem: when I tried to review a rock album, I couldn’t do so as well as I did hip-hop. I listen to other music, but since I revert back to rap so fast, I don’t give those genres the attention they deserve. I don’t consume John Mayer lyrics the way that I instantly memorize a new 16 from Jay-Z. I can’t break down the depth of Little Dragon’s musical palette as easily I can describe the gritty bounce of Black Milk’s instrumentals.
This is unacceptable. Hip-hop isn’t the only music that changes peoples’ lives, and I refuse to let myself or my readers stay limited to it.
So starting April 1, I’m checking into Rap Rehab. During my stay, I’ll go one month (30 days) without listening to hip-hop that isn’t work-related.It may sound extreme, but this is the only way I’ll be able to immerse myself in other genres the way I need to. I’m entering as a morbidly obese hip-hop head, and I’ll leave as a healthier, more well-rounded music fan/journalist. Between SpeechIsMyHammer.com and UrbaneBlog.com, I’ll be blogging about music that I come across, and the inevitable Tyrone Biggums-esque cravings for good rap music.
Besides, it shouldn’t be that tough: hip-hop incorporates other genres all the time. Beatmakers sample all kinds of music into their soundbeds, and some of the most important hip-hop of all time, i.e. Run-DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” or Jon Brion’s co-production on Kanye West’s Late Registration, were created by emcees directly collaborating with other musicians. And not much is more annoying than the pseudo-fan that yells “Oh yeah, I love Coldplay!” just because they remember Chris Martin’s cameos on Jay-Z and Kanye’s albums.
But I’m already shedding tears at all the gems this damn rehab center is confiscating at the desk. Ole faithfuls like Mos Def’s Black On Both Sides and new fixes like Freddie Gibbs’ midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik are contraband here, so they’ll be sitting in a locked brown box for 30 days.
Fortunately, one of the good things about this rehab center is that they let me receive mail. So readers, I need your help! While part of my treatment requires me to blindly dig for music on my own, I know that getting the heads up on music from other people is just as important. So I need you guys to help me find the cream of the crop in these other genres. Don’t hold anything back, either! Send me your suggestions in rock, jazz, funk, electronic, house, and even country music. If you’re on Twitter, tweet me (@WEKetchum) or Eric Brown (@Eric_Urbane) your suggestions with the hashtag #RapRehab. I’m going to try to incorporate some prizes in this, as well—hopefully I’ll be able to get you guys some concert tickets, CDs, autographed posters, coverage on my blog, and more once I do my time here. I’ll keep you updated.
Wish me luck, y’all.
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