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PaRappa the Rappers causing mass hysteria

November 30, 2009

Google ‘”drake cartoon” and this is what you get.

Rap is kinda cartoonish these days still. Take MF Doom (aaand I guess the Wu to an extent) out of the equation, just for for this one, okay? I’m talking about the overly defined, larger-than-life hip-hop personas we’re surrounded by: Gucci Mane, 50 Cent, Wayne, Yeezy. (Even their rap names are animated!).

Rappers used to all look the same—speaking relatively of baggy jeans and timbs—and were homogeneously braggadocious, mean-muggers who never caused mass, preteen, Miley Cyrus-esque hysteria. But it’s a whole mess of kids that hip-hop is reaching right now—the black kids and white kids and brown and Asian kids. And you can go to a concert and just feel the power of their emerging hormones: every single straight girl or gay guy wants to makeout with the dude on stage, and every single guy, bar none, wants to be as cool as him.

The other night I went to the Kid Cudi show here. Drake came out midway through to perform his verse off “Forever” and blew the roof off. It was the end of an arduous day-after so maybe I was tired and jaded, but the fucking hoo-hah this dude created when he “surprised” everyone on stage was redonk. It’s only compounded after seeing this Youtube video (see below) taken by a fan in the teeming, pre-pubescent “mosh pit” that was happening. Watch Cudi, dressed like an anime nerd, and Drake, mesmerizingly performing to the crowd, and you can see how aspirational and crafted these personas are. These kids are literally seeing superheros with distinct, exaggerated shells and they’re going nuts. Hip-hop Heroez. It’s so who they want to be because they’re not old enough yet to realize they really can’t.

I’m not saying that imaging isn’t important (because it is) or that rappers aren’t allowed to have a younger audience (‘cus they are). It’s just kind of fascinating to see that frantic, hormonal (male and female) energy at a rap show.

And speaking locally, it’s so weird to go out see that much love and madness for one of our own. We’re not used to it like, maybe, New York. I’ve seen K-os come on stage with The Roots at a time when he was decently popular; K’Naan and Shad (not together) have made surprise or opening appearances at other hip-hop shows; Kardi, and even, Michie Mee (I think that was at another Roots show). None of those artists ever caused as much solidarity as this fucking guy.

I’m saying that with love though because I’m amazed at how we now have all of these tangible events that really puts the Toronto scene on the map. We have a trackable, chartable growth—filled with the obvious intricacies, but still defined by major moments.

Watch how this boy makes the likkle gyal dem scream. Especially the chick who starts losing her sheeeit around the 2:20 mark.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Banning permalink
    November 30, 2009 11:07 am

    Well Put…!

  2. Ananthan permalink
    November 30, 2009 11:17 am

    degrassi effect?

  3. November 30, 2009 2:52 pm


    The “kids these days” tag is staring at me though. Not that we’re old, but are we just not young? Eitherwhoos,I lost my shit at the Jay-Z show. Good to know my hormones still work when called upon.

  4. that bitch shauna permalink
    November 30, 2009 8:23 pm

    Yo guy, differently….Drake is a PLG still. Why are rappers starting to look like video girls from the 90s?? I know that’s extreme but so is the amount of BARE MAN that are showing up to young money shows….BURGH!

  5. Anupa permalink*
    December 2, 2009 2:19 pm

    Ananthan – it could be the Degrassi effect, but I’d venture to say that Drake gets the same reaction everywhere he goes.

    Jef – I know, I thought twice when I created that “kids these days” tag, but figured there would be more to come. Also, we’re not young. That’s what’s going on here.

    Shauna – You’ve got a point. It’s like 90s boy bands 2.0.

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