"Old versus new" discussions are recurrent in so many fields, and hip hop is not immune to it.
American DJ Statik Selektah and rappers Talib Kweli and Styles P released “The thrill is gone” in 2010, expressing their anguishes about how contemporary hip hop is all about “funny clothes”, “Auto-Tunes” and is full of “too many vultures” but has little from the culture it is supposed to channel.
Four years later, with the album “What goes around”, Statik Selektah brought the same guests to say “The thrill is back”.
The track samples Miles Davis’ “On Green Dolphin Street” (it seems to be a favorite of hip hop artists; it’s also sampled in A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz”) and quotes verses from “The thrill is gone”, to which they respond: “I feel it coming back, though”.
The following verses from Styles P and Kweli, however, show that they still miss old school hip hop; but what’s interesting is, this time, instead of just pointing everything they dislike about new rappers and the current state of hip hop culture, they’re more like “So what do we do now?”, and even “Did we all play a role on letting it happen?” (like when P Styles say: “Used to wonder where the did the culture go / If it left did it go where it's supposed to go?”, and Kweli says “Complaining about the game, but still voting with your purchases”).
I personally believe every era has its own goodies and drawbacks, so it doesn’t make much sense to glorify the old only, while throwing the new under the bus. Nevertheless, giving the hip hop community a space to express their thoughts on hip hop is part of hip hop culture too.
It feels to me that this critical, proactive approach is exactly what sets the tone for the track to be called “The thrill is back”. It’s as if Selektah, Styles P and Kweli intended to bring the thrill back themselves when they reunited to rap about what happened after that time they rapped that "the thrill is gone". In my opinion, that’s what hip hop is about and shall never lose: the courage to speak the truth, even when it hurts, and the will to stand up and do what you believe that has to be done in order to change what you don't like.
You can learn more about Statik Selektah here:
About the curator: Ana Clara Ribeiro
Music, art and entertainment have always played a big role in the life of Ana Clara Ribeiro. She grew up in Gurupi (an inland city in Tocantins, the youngest State of Brazil), listening to all kinds of music, reading, writing, watching stuff and connecting them to her personal beliefs and other ideas she read about.
As she became a lawyer and a writer, all the topics to which she is constantly exposed continued to give her insights about life, people and the universe, through the lenses of art.
Nowadays, when she isn’t analyzing lawsuits or producing content about Law, Marketing, Business or Music, she is certainly doing something related to her various personal and professional projects, always to the sound of a playlist as eclectic as her life.