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If it’s not rap, it’ll be something fine

October 22, 2009

So Sasha, what do you think the chances are…that we’ll be having the conversation again [ in ten years] that hip hop is in trouble…or will it be something else that’s in trouble?

I dont think it really matters. Look at the history of popular music. Something radical and fantastic always pops up. And somebody always wrastles through the boredom and knocks us on our heads. We’ve had so much great rap. I think it’s OK if we don’t have another “A Milli.” It could happen. I mean look at jazz. Let’s be real. When was there a recording that in a broad-based way really knocked out a huge chunk of the population. When did you have a consensus moment like that? A very long time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go to a club and hear something fantastic. Maybe rap will go to a place like that– a different, vibrant but smaller, place. People, especially American youth, have a way of finding some way to piss people off and do something delightful at the same time. And if it’s not rap, it’ll be something fine.

-Sasha Frere-Jones, in conversation with Blake Eskin on The New Yorker Out Loud podcast.

*Frere-Jones takes up the question of hip hop’s fall from pop music prominence in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

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