If anyone had told me in 2003, when we started The Marquee, that by 2008 hip-hop would be as big as it is now in Colorado, I would have told them that they were out of their friggin’ mind.
The entire Front Range was gripped in jammy and bluegrass madness and while hip-hop did very well in the region, that scene seemed fragmented, un-directed and destined to be a mid-week club filler with little significant impact on the region.
But now, in 2008, Denver/Boulder hip-hop has gotten so big that its giant waves are reaching both coasts, and when the great deluge recedes, the high water mark that will be left may just change how our region is viewed in the future.
The Flobots, who put in a damn-near perfect set at last month’s Mile High Music Festival, have hit number one with their song “Handlebars” and are getting unprecedented national exposure.
3OH!3, our cover story this month, seems to be close on the heels of the Flobots, setting records for the amount of merchandise sold on The Van’s Warped Tour, a tour that doesn’t typically cater to hip-hop acts.
But the real mystery is what finally prompted all of this. Sure both bands have talent, as do some of the other up-and-comers locally in the genre. But why all the notice, suddenly?
Is it the myspace/facebook revolution — a revolution which puts these band’s slightly younger audiences in touch with their music so effortlessly? I think not — and not just because I personally despise myspace and would stab myself before giving the “community” any credit.
I think it’s a backlash. I think it’s just like when political correctness overflowed to the point that some assholes were calling “manhole” covers “utility access” covers. It wasn’t long after that, people started using every offensive thing they could pull out of their arsenal to show that they weren’t politically correct anymore.
If this really is the case, and not just a figment of my imagination, then it only stands to reason there will be a backlash again in the future as our fickle tastes continue to fluctuate. What will be the next step we all take? Are we going to embrace something we’ve never heard before or will we revert back to something that we’ve experienced over and over?
Will we go deep into singer/songwriter material? Indie pop? Country? Fusion?
I guess when it comes down to it, who really cares, as long as whatever comes out of our region is good, right?
See you at the shows.