“Rap Rehab” Day 1: Check-In

1 Apr

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 today, 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.



9 Responses to ““Rap Rehab” Day 1: Check-In”

  1. MyAliya.com April 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    I can’t WAIT to put you on, sun!!!!!! 🙂

  2. Guadalupe Olgine Jr. April 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Great article! I relate to this on so many levels… I put everyone on to hip hop I listen to. Moving to Grand Rapids has been quite the experience and eye opener for me. The more people I meet the more different music I am exposed to. I’m a hip hop head to the fullest as well but am working on broadening my tastes too! A month w/o rap though??? Good luck!! Dunno if I could do that.

  3. tonyapendleton April 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    Ketchums, you should have made this no NEW rap music! LOL all that li’l wayne and young money probably has clogged up your ears so much they will remain dead to any good music for months. so you’ll have to catch up quick. how about a little music history to enhance your writing? how can you write about new music if you don’t know that monica’s “everything to me” uses a sample from the classic deniece williams cut “silly”? (not really a “sample” either but the whole damn track, but i digress.) i wish i could send you my new pimped out with great old school dance, R&B and 90’s hits but I don’t want to have to send armed men to Michigan to get it back. So William, here is some R&B for that ass LOL from the old school 70’s stuff to the newer school 90’s to cleanse your ears and hopefully your psyche as well. You might have heard some of it already you might not feel it all, but it should assist with your musical education before you go back to the ear clogging mess that today’s hip-hop has become LOL I myself am typing this to you listening to Tribe’s “Low End Theory.”

    Donny Hathaway – Extension of a Man IMHO the one album every black man should own
    Marvin Gaye – I Want You
    Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?
    R. Kelly – R., Chocolate Factory and TP.2 are his best
    Prince – Sign of the Times, 1999, Dirty Mind, Parade
    Rufus f/ Chaka Khan – Ask Rufus
    Bob Marley – Legend (a collection, or if you want albums – Exodus, Rastaman Vibration)
    Teena Marie – It Must Be Magic, Robbery, Irons in the Fire
    Anthony Hamilton -Comin’ From Where I’m From
    D’Angelo – Brown Sugar, Voodoo
    Angie Stone – Mahogany Soul
    Amel Larrieux – Blackbird
    Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun Baduizm
    India.Arie – Acoustic Soul, Testimony Vol. 2 Love and Politics (hmmmm, Mc Lyte makes a guest apperance does that count?
    Sade – Love Deluxe, Promise
    Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
    John Coltrane – Coltrane for Lovers
    (the above are truly the only two classic jazz albums you’ll ever need) but here’s a newer one
    Esperanza Spalding – Esperanza
    Jaheim – Ghetto Love
    Faith – Faith
    Aaliyah – Aaliyah

    OK just a few to get started 🙂 now mama gotta go make the doughnuts LOL

  4. ketchums April 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    I’ve got about half of those albums already, Tonya 🙂 … But I might revisit them while I’m stuck in this rehab center.

    Maybe I’ll dedicate a month to dissecting older rap music. But the point of this one isn’t only to have a better understanding of rap music, but to branch out to better understand and appreciate other genres. I feel you though!

  5. soulsupreme April 2, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    You’re in luck. I’ve been listening to a bunch of other genre’s since there’s nothing moving me hip-hop-wise since The Ecstatic by Mos Def dropped last year.

    Here’ are some 2010 selections’

    1. Jose James – “BlackMagic”; Its definitely more on the soul/jazz/alternative side in terms of genre. Jose is fantastic singer from Brooklyn, NYC. This is his second album and he’s signed to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. Flying Lotus is also a producer on this LP.

    2. Erykah Badu – “New Amerykah: Return Of The Ankh”; see OKP/Lesson, soulful throughout + great production from Madlib, Karriem Riggins, J Dilla, Ta’Raach & more.

    3. Bonobo – “Black Sands”; This album is more on the electronic/dub-step vibe and genre. Definitely more of a instrumental album though. If your a fan of Flying Lotus this similar sonically but another great album for this early 2010.

    4. Breakage – “Foundation”; more electronic/dubstep goodness

    Let me know what you think of those albums.

  6. drew April 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Hit me up at drewbreezzy on twitter and i’ll make you a playlist.

  7. aRaSia April 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Yo Ketch!!!! Let me know when you are ready for the next lesson. School is in session bruh! How is it going BTW? Are you enjoying it?

  8. Rachel May 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Check out some exclusive photos from Diddy’s upcoming movie Get Him To The Greek : http://vibe.com/photo-galleries/freeze-frame-get-him-greek/1#tp.


  1. “Rap Rehab” Day 8 – Lyric Digestion Disorder « Speech Is My Hammer… - April 8, 2010

    […] Rap Rehab is still going strong, although it’s been tough. A corrupt security guard here slipped the […]

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