I try to not rush to judgement and see all sides of a story, so it's rare that I just get to straight up write "fuck this guy," but fuck Gene Simmons.
I know DJBooth's music knowledge runs far deeper than just rap, but for all those who might not be familiar, Simmons heads the rock band KISS, who became famous in the '70s for putting on elaborate make up and wearing higher-heeled boots than a Magic City stripper. They were massively popular at their peak and were raking in that cartoon show/lunchbox money, but for intents and purposes here, "band that dressed like cosplay before cosplay was a thing" will suffice.
And now, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Simmons made it clear just how superior he thinks KISS' music is to, apparently, anything the entire culture of hip-hop has ever created ever. Here are some highlowlights.
"I am looking forward to the death of rap. I'm looking forward to music coming back to lyrics and melody, instead of just talking. A song, as far as I'm concerned, is by definition lyric and melody … or just melody."
"Rap will die. Next year, 10 years from now, at some point, and then something else will come along."
"You've got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Run-D.M.C. in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You're killing me. That doesn't mean those aren't good artists. But they don't play guitar. They sample and they talk. Not even sing."
Gene, can I call you Gene? Gene, you need to get all of the fucks out of here.
I know I'll be preaching to the choir here, explaining why hip-hop is a musical art form and not just "talking" to you guys is like explaining gravity to Neil deGrasse Tyson, but Gene's complaints are so obviously ignorant it's hard to even know where to start. First, people have been saying hip-hop is a fad that will fade away since "Rapper's Delight" and last year hip-hop was the most streamed genre on the planet, so yeah, there's a very real chance that Gene Simmons will die before hip-hop ever does.
And second, hip-hop doesn't contain lyrics and melody? If anything it contains more lyrics than rock n' roll ever did. And as for melody, I have to assume he's never actually listened to any hip-hop song ever. From Drake's entire catalog to, I don't know, motherfucking Erik B. and Rakim's "Check Out My Melody," melody's been a core part of the music for decades.
It's tempting here to pull out more extreme examples of hip-hop musicianship, works like TPAB and Surf that involved more musicians any instruments than any KISS album, but we don't have to go that far. Freddie Gibbs "Rob Me" has astounding lyrics and melody, "Gin & Juice" has immediately catchy lyrics and melody, there are more examples than I could possibly name. But hey, not everyone can match the musical brilliance that is "I want to rock and roll all night and party every day."
If only there was some smiling picture of KISS and Tupac that made Gene look like a complete hypocrite...
Hip-hop's a family. We might bicker amongst ourselves - you just really don't like your cousin, your drunk Uncle's a pain in the ass to deal with - but as soon as someone from outside the family attacks, you're united. So today let's all join hands and in one clear, united voice, say the only thing worth saying to this washed up hack: fuck you Gene Simmons.