Originally Posted by StephenHero
The fickle thing about discussing art and music is that it's mostly sensorial, and thus a good percentage of the attempts at post-rationalization to satisfy people's instinctive impressions are futile or contrived. Sometimes, "this is good" or "this is shitty" is all that's really needed. Discussing hip hop music meant to be played at underage drinking parties might be one of those times.
This can be true. In fact, I would say the generally agreed upon visceral reaction to, say, the first Stooges record or early Minor Threat (being that that music is raw and elemental) is the criterion that carries the most precedent for those works. That said, their are technical criteria by which various aspects of art can be judged, there is categorical comparison, and if you want to be really high minded there is the ideological backing of art e.g. its culture or ideological aspects, as well as any extensional information that can be gleamed from art as perceived by the discerning individual or audience. Their are mechanisms exclusive to various forms as well. For music there is melody, phrasing, arranging, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, sense of space, variation of a theme, etc.
Earlier I mentioned some modes of analysis for MC's, and while it may sound academic and dry, it's validated by the hip hop community. For instance, the Clipse on Lil Wayne "Little nigga flow but his metaphors are borin'" The more versatile you are with delivering a rhyme the more well rounded and skilled an mc you are, to summarize bordering on being reductionistic.
Also, I think hip hop has stepped beyond being disposable in response to the "underage drinking parties" bit. It is the most pervasive form of pop music. It is the most relevant form of folk music today, being music made by untrained musicians (in a classical sense) and originating from poor and working class people. Listen to "Hip Hop" by Mos Def. While it's very accessible and works on a very immediate level and is also a brilliant showcase for technique, if you know who Ralph Ellison is, anything about the war on drugs, black history, and sociology, AND song writing it's gone from just MCing to something that has way more weight subjectively, it's a bittersweet manifesto on hip hop.