The “Black Techno” Trend…I Guess Everybody Has a Short Memory by John M. Ellison IV
This started as an open letter to Erykah Badu, but really this goes to anyone that think’s techno is “white music.”
Y’know, one stupid comment has been kind of irking me, ever since I saw a tweet from Erykah Badu, the tweet being, “how y’all gone stand by and let our music turn into pop techno cornball ass music .” Okay, I’d expect a comment like this from someone who isn’t a musician or doesn’t know music history. What irked me about this comment is that you make it sound like “our” music isn’t techno or we didn’t have anything to do with anything outside of R&B etc. and we had nothing to do with the innovations with electronic dance music. It’s easier for the general public to forget or just be unaware about guys like Afrika Bambaataa, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson. These brothas laid the groundwork for what the public knows as modern techno music. As an artist who are you to make a jab at another genre? A true musician would appreciate or see the positives of it.
“where is the funk AT”? Interesting question, actually, it’s been mutating into what we now know as the as she put it “pop techno cornball ass music.” Guys such as the “The Belleville Three” Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins were inspired by the sounds of Funkadelic, Parliament and Kraftwerk. Bambaataa who cites George Clinton as a major influence, this sound was co-opted by other artists and was marketed to another audience. But, with the electro sound of Bambaataa, electro developed into Miami Bass or Bass Music which Lil’ Jon was influenced by and elements that you would find more prevalent in “Techno” and “House.” So, technically the funk never went anywhere, it just evolved, just like music does.
What bothers me is to see people forget this fact and when people label music as “black” or “white” music it becomes a deterrent for musical exploration and experimentation. Anyway, it’s just a thought.