So Poison insisted that I title this post as the above title. But, personally, I want to name it as the following.
Dubstep – How white people still do black music selfishly.
Wikipedia insists that Dubstep began in the United Kingdom, and specifically the South London area. Supposedly the material for this particular type of music began with what was originally known as garage music. I don’t want to discount the idea but I personally think it began a bit further in history than that.
Now. We all know rap music. Specifically, we all know the beginning how rap and house music came along. If not, then I shall briefly summarize the history. I find it amusing that most people are surprised to know that house and rap music arose around the same time. Well yeah, just so you know, they did. Both genres of music were heavily influenced by their environment in the sense that they had very violent pasts.
The LA/Bronx area was basically decimated from time to time by the government in order to make this enormous highway to let the rich commuters travel. I don’t quite recall when and how long the number of years were dedicated to the construction of this highway, but it spanned at least two if not a few decades. Both genres use turntables and scratching in order to play their music and create it. Both genres were accepting people that felt like they had no place to go and no place to turn to because of the fact that in America, they are still racist and classist assholes.
Why house music later became music for the rich was because a person with a good sense of business capitalized on house music and created an image that the club that house originated in (House 51 I believe) was a club for rich and wealthy sexy people. It later became that even though in the beginning house music was meant for everyone. Whether you were gay, lesbian, trannie, or what have you. There is also a possibility that I am confusing this with disco. Complete possibility. But all three of these genres arose around the same time for very similar reasons.
Rap later turned out to be very violent in nature, and it became that way rightfully so because of the lack of corporate investment into the genre. Apart from the gangsta rap that we are all familiar with, but I have a feeling that gangsta rap as a genre took off like it did is for the very same reason why blackface music and performance took off as it did, so that way white people can pretend they’re better at something compared to other people. It’s almost the entire reason why we find Newfie and blond jokes funny, same shit different pile.
The reason why I mention this is because that all genres of music mentioned use a technique that is also found in dubstep, and that technique is called sampling.
Needless to say, after you read the history you will find that black people came up with the technique of sampling first. Not sampling in the sense that Vivaldi ripped off his own songs all the time, and that Beethoven ripped off segments of other composer’s songs all the time as well. But the sampling as we know today where sections of musican’s music is copied, and used as the basis As evidenced by this video.
Anyhow, the reason why I say that Michael Jackson used sampling is that the iconic electric guitar at the beginning, however “original” for the song, used the technique because Eddie Van Halen of the Van Halen band did not record this particular song with Michael Jackson when he originally sang it. What happened was that during the actual recording of this particular song they took the part that Eddie recorded, sped it up to fit Jackson’s vision and singing style. But this is, at its core, a song heavy in sampling. I won’t deny dubstep’s garage band roots though, and no I’m not talking about this:
Garage band music had its origins in the 1960s in the US, and to some extent Canada. Regardless of where they came from though people who play in garage bands had to suffer through the stigma of young adolescent idiots who knew how to play only four chords on their instruments. I have to say that unfortunately some of this was true for some of the bands, but some of them, through their methods of self taught became insanely talented. In my unprofessional opinion, I believe that Dubstep came about from the essence of garage band music (the chords, the method of using your own methods to create music, repetitive chord use) and the techniques of rap (sampling, and putting verses/ singing above the sample track). I would argue that KRS-One was the first person to have a sound closest to Dubstep in 1991 when he debuted with his solo career.
Note the first few seconds where it is a lot mashing of sample clips to create a new sound. This is a very similar method that is used with Dubstep. Of course, even though he is arguably the first person to introduce the method (in doses), another person has to come along in order to escalate it to a higher level. This is when the English invade the scene and take this method to the next level roughly around the end of the nineties by a bunch of white guys, and a few black ones. They were among the first “good” dub-steppers that came out in the beginning. These guys used the “forward>>sound” which is a method that amps up the bass to make your chest wall collapse in on yourself. In essence, we are getting more and more rhythmic in the music, but was it Digital Mystikz, a couple of black boys, that helped with the evolution of Dubstep of then, to the dubstep as we know today. They did this by introducing heavy syncopation (“off-beat beats”).
A lot of other people introduced the other elements of dubstep that we all know and love. The Wobble bass, the bass drops, rewinding, and so on and so forth (I shall not pretend to be an expert). What I found most interesting was that Digital Mystikz, created their song for a very particular club in South London England because of the “sick bass” system. Keep this in mind , I’ll make a point of it later.
Before I can make any note of how it immigrated out of England and into North America, I have to introduce a “rapper” we all love to hate.
This is, of course, not the original version of that song (I’ll spare you from it). However, this song got ridiculously popular. It has a lot of the elements of dubstep (the repetition, the use of a heavy bass in original version, etc…) and this song came out in 2007, if I recall correctly. After Soulja Boy, came Rihanna, who got beat by Chris Brown. After her case of physical relationship abuse, the disc she came out with was very dubstep based. Especially her song “Rude Boy.” I mean, listen to it for heaven’s sake.
These songs brought dubstep elements to the forefront of the media and the public. (Notice, both are black.) Of course, Britney, being just out of rehab and no longer being able to sing (not that she could in the first place), had to adopt a song style in which not much singing is involved. As much as I hate Britney, I have to give her this, she did bring dubstep to North America and made it mainstream.
I shall be all hipster like and never post the original version of the song. Look it up yourselves folks.
Speaking of hipsters…
Why is any of this important? Other than the fact that, “SKRILLEX IS AWESOME!”
Well, as you can tell where I’m going with this, very particular groups of people of arisen from this segment of our times. On the one hand, we have, for the lack of a better word, “The mainstreamers,” and on the other hand, we also have, “The hipsters.” From here on out, I shall refer to these people as such without the quotations.
If any of you recall at this point, that I said Digital Mystikz made their songs for a particular club. At first, Dubstep was a very exclusive type of music, being played at only very specific clubs. At the beginning, it was a very hipster thing, to be all the “underground” and not a mainstreamer. Then Britney brought it to the mainstream and then it was unhipster. So all the hipsters then subsequently turned to their indie music.
At the risk of looking like a complete tard, people who were born by the baby boomer generation are the mainstreamers. The baby boomers are still the boomer generation, and then there’s the hipsters. We are a very interesting cross-roads right now. We’re kinda stuck in between things being very, very technological, and the more analog times. But everything from the cell phone, abolition of CDs, and the impending abolition of books (much to my heart’s discontent) are the ever advancing pace of technology… But at the same time we’re also trying to do all of the environmental stuff. Organic, non-plastic, wool, economic footprint, biodegradable plastic bags, and so on and so forth. Vegan and vegetarianism for purely ecological purposes, and a new term called, “flexitarian,” in which the amount of meat eaten is reduced, again, solely for ecological purposes.
I personally believe dubstep is the embrace of the technological advance that we have today. Of course, technology comes with its own problems, but at the same time it is a full embrace, almost completely taking out the human factor of the music and having, in essence, music that is void of human voices. And even if there are human voices, it’s been autotuned.
Indie music on the other hand, are often performed by bands, using “classical” instruments. Or at least they have an instrument of some sort that they can produce music on, even if they use electricity. These people are embracers of the earth, and for the most part, although they admit to using technology, they do wish to do their part to “make the earth better.”
Again like I said before, very interesting, it would be very interesting to see where things go from here.
I’d like to give a shout out to Hardman for helping me out with this post.
Solstice, signing off!