As the former leader of an extraordinarily short lived country/hip hop ensemble, I've long been interested in the possibilities offered by crossing hip hop over with other forms of mainstream music. This is not to say I've long been a fan of rock/hip hop mashups, as for much of the time I've been aware of pop music such mashups have often had an unholy quality: either an obnoxious cash-in like Jay-Z with Linkin' Park, or Fred Durst...being Fred Durst, or even Rage Against the Machine, which, let's face it, is best left these days as a fond remembrance of pseudo-political adolescent rage, and almost never makes it into my music rotation.
But lately there's been more and more rap/rock mashing up, and I'm finding it absolutely fascinating to see the direction it's taking. Some of it involves projects such as Boots Riley's (of the Coup), who got together with an ex-Rage guitarist recently for some guitar soaked communist ranting. But a lot of it is more pop centered, and is being driven by rappers who are huge fans of...really unexpected stuff. There is of course The Roots' love of Fall Out Boy (which I don't understand, but have to respect, The Roots being The Roots). But the most fascinating thing I've come across in awhile is the below video for a guy named Kevin Rudolph, who sounds like a lost disciple of Blur and Coldplay, singing "Let it Rock" as Lil' Wayne spends most of the video singing along, at least pretending to play a guitar (which we've of course seen him do in videos even for songs featuring no discernible guitar track), and finally even rapping for a minute. And God help me, I actually kind of like the song. Maybe Gorillaz was more ahead of it's time than I ever gave it credit for.
The embedding was disabled for some reason. Watch it here!