Hey, you lot. I know I haven’t posted in a while. Sorry about that. Once again, I am using a Galaxy Tab now, albeit a better one. However, this time it was due to an intelligence failure—mine! Long story short, I tried installing Linux on me naff Chromebook, and failed, but succeeded only in wiping the PC of all the info stored on it. The thing was practically broken already, so no big loss.
Anyway, I do have some crackin’ posts lined up for you lot, although some of them I may not be able to do on a tablet. Hint: One of them involves the Bible.
As I’ve said in one of my previous posts, in the real world, Hip-Hop and video games have more than a few connections. As a matter of fact, when you think of it, they were both born out of the 70s! Anyhow, today we’re gonna do a little sleuthing to determine whether or not Hip-Hop, as a culture, exists in the fantasy world of The Mushroom Kingdom.
I’ll start by saying this. The likelihood of the answer being “yes” is rather unlikely, seeing as a) the Mushroom Kingdom seems to be more government- and employment-orientated as opposed to being focused on advancing or building any type of culture, and b), although the Mushroom Kingdom has had some struggles and disasters, owing to the relative 2-dimensionality of the series, very rarely if ever do movements or reforms emerge from unrest.
That being said, if there is a Hip-Hop movement in the Mushroom Kingdom, it probably has no connection to lower-class neighborhoods, gangs, blackouts (notice how there seem to be no “lower-class” citizens in the Mushroom Kingdom), or any such circumstances that affected our real life movement. Anyway, enough talk. Do you remember the Four Elements Of Hip-Hop from my last post? If so, great. If not, brush up on them here. What we’re going to do here is examine the games to see what Elements, if any, are present in Mario’s world. Let’s-a-go!
Oh hooo! We’ve stumbled upon a good one here! Because if you recall, one of the best games in the series revolves around graffiti.
If you recall correctly, the premise of the story (spoilers I suppose) is that Bowser Jr. disguises himself as a shadowy version of Mario (creatively named “Shadow Mario”) and paints graffiti all over Isle Delfino, the island that Mario & Co. are vacationing at. As luck would have it, Mario is accused of having done the graffiti, and ordered to clean it up. Yeah. To all of my child readers out there, the next time your parents tell you to clean your room, be grateful it’s not an entire island.
Okay—so clearly, graffiti exists in the Mario Universe. Not only that, but it seems to only be detrimental. With the exception of the Rainbow M, which acts as a sort of warp—
—it is purely destructive, at least on Delfino Island. It will electrocute Mario, block his way to Warp Pipes, burn him, poison him, and generally make life difficult for the pudgy plumber. Also, it makes the island look very ugly, which is saying something because it’s apparently a very common tourist destination. I think we can safely conclude that graffiti exists purely as a means of destruction and mischief in the Mario universe, never as a form of expression. Or can we???
In Mario Party 8, there is a mini game known as “Speedy Graffiti“. The objective is to paint certain shapes on stone tablets within a short amount of time, then break the tablets.
Okay, so two things wrong with this. a) there is no “right way” a writer is “supposed to” write. As a matter of fact, the uniqueness each artist brings is what makes it so expressive. b), you’re supposed to use an aerosol can, not a damn paintbrush. I know that may sound contradictory, but come on. If you use a paintbrush, you’re not a writer, you’re Bob Ross. Next Element.
Here’s a more fun element, at least in my opinion. This Element has appeared at least once, in—
What the hell is going on in that picture?! Google, Zoom Out!
Good Lord, what are you doing, man?! You’ve got no crossfader or mixer whatsoever (the device that allows a DJ to smoothly transition from one song to another seamlessly), your records appear to be the size of a doughnut, you have no slipmats or anything to reduce traction (which you could definitely use, seeing as it looks like you’ve put rocks on the platters instead of actual records), you’ve got your turntables on top of the speakers, and I’m 106% positive that there will never be a reason for you to do what you’re doing with your left hand. You nitwit, you’re a terrible DJ! And the last straw—those glasses. Elton John called—he said “Keep ’em, I don’t want them anymore.”
Okay, sorry…mandatory Luigi Roast is done. But at least we can be sure that never again can anything so horrendous ever be experienced by mortal—
Moving on from that nonsense (those images come from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show Episode called “Rap Land”, if anyone wants more 80s cringe), although this takes place in Wario’s world as opposed to the Mushroom Kingdom, it appears that some people enjoy DJing…
…well at least he’s playing a record instead of a rock. And also (this is waaaay off subject), in the “Disco” minigame in Game & Wario, there is a robot named Mike who is selecting the tunes that you dance to.
As a matter of fact, this is probably the most true to life, because Hip-Hop definitely owes a debt to disco and dance music in general. And some of the DJs that spun disco and dance music would later turn right around and use the same turntables for Hip-Hop.
Nothing much to report on here. Although Mario is depicted B-Boying on the cover of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, it is safe to say that it is not enjoyed as an everyday activity in the Mushroom Kingdom. Indeed, Mario is not even seen breakdancing within that game.
Okay, this Element has been featured quite prominently.
That’s from DDR too…
In the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode, “Bad Rap“, literally everyone in the eponymous “Rap Land” raps. Oh, and the king looks like James Brown.
As a matter of fact, the show has a tune called the “Plumber Rap”. It seems to be an integral part of the show. And because I know you want it stuck in your head…
Also, in whatever land Donkey Kong 64 takes place, there is a “DK Rap“, so that exists there too. I think it’s safe to conclude that MCing is quite normal in the Mushroom Kingdom.
No, Hip-Hop does not exist in the Mushroom Kingdom. Certain aspects of it may pop up from time to time, but not as a whole, as a culture.
What are your thoughts? Am I wrong? Am I right? Do you want to apply the same procedure to another universe? Lemme know down below. 😉
Yo, what’s up, guys? I see everyone is still enjoying the Switch a lot…
Today, I wanted to inform you guys about two things. One is very simple, and the other a bit more complex.
Firstly, I finally received my Famicom-to-NES converter in the mail. Now, all I have to do is get some Famicom carts!
Secondly (and much more importantly), I am releasing an album later this year, on November 21st to be more specific. Also, the title of the album is “It’s All A Game“.
You might be wondering “who is MC Zappa?” Well, that’s me. Let me break that down a bit.
“MC” is a prefix appended to the names of rappers, especially skilled ones. It is said to stand for quite a few things, which I’ll do a post on.
“Zappa” is a non-rhotic rendering of “Zapper”, a reference to the NES Zapper.
Yes. I am an MC, and I have named myself for the Duck Hunt gun. See where I’m going with this? No? All right, lemme clarify something.
I’m not “just another rapper”, and this isn’t just “another rap album”. It’s All A Game is the world’s first Bit-Hop album.
Bit-Hop is the subgenre of Hip-Hop that I’ve created, which focuses on samples from video game OSTs, especially from the 8-bit era. But it’s deeper than just music — it’s an experience. Bit-Hop is the middle ground between the DJ hunting for 45s and the collector searching for Famicom multicarts. Bit-Hop is one hand manipulating the controller while the other one rocks the turntables. Bit-Hop is breakdancing to the Mario Bros. theme. Bit-Hop is…epic.
Now, that describes it musically. But lyrically, Bit-Hop’s lyrics cover such topics as…
●The frustration of buying games and never having time to play them
●Censorship and the various political aspects of gaming
●The difficulty of Contra
●The difficulty of Contra 2
●Inadvertently buying a bootleg game from a shady retailer
You’ll hear about topics such as these, and more, on “It’s All A Game”. Speaking of which, you may wonder why I chose that title. While it is rather self-explanatory, and not a highfalutin attempt at being edgy, I wanna say this. When somebody is trying to get someone to be serious or recognize the gravity of a situation, they might say something like “What do you think this is, some kinda game?!”. My answer to that? It’s all a game, but why in the hell does that mean that it’s not serious?
That’s pretty much it, except that I forgot one very, very important topic.
●Girls who game
Yes…this is a very important subject to me. That’s why the first Bit-Hop single in history is “Video Dames“. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “funky“, although that doesn’t nearly do it enough justice. Look out for it later this year…
In keeping with this announcement, I will be running some posts related to the language of Hip-Hop culture and its etymology, along with a few other surprises. Stay tuned!
Do you have any questions about “It’s All A Game” or Bit-Hop in general?
If so, let me know down below. P.S. The album may be unreleased as of yet, but the culture is already spreading. Remember the word: Bit-Hop.
…I’m feeling rather hungry for some reason. Anyway, today we are going to learn the meaning and etymology of one of Hip-Hop’s most common terms: MC.
As a side note before we begin, in the gaming lexicon, “MC” is an abbreviation for “Main Character“. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, on to the main definition.
Grammatically, the word “MC” is both a noun and a verb. The very simple definition is “A person who raps” or “to rap“. But nothing is ever simple, so now let’s dive into the fuller definition. To truly understand the meaning of the word, you have to have a little bit of context.
Hip-Hop music as we know it started in the early to mid-70s, with DJs at parties zeroing in on the parts of a record that contained nothing but drums (e.g. the first few seconds of “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin or “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen) and looping them back and forth ad infinitum. Some certain bold people at these bold parties would go up by the DJ booth, grab the mic, and perform a type of strange rhyming poem on top of these “breakbeats”, usually boasting about themselves. There wasn’t really a name for it at the time, but there would be. Also, keep in mind that even though Hip-Hop was developed in the early-mid-70s, this art form wouldn’t be recorded until late 1979.
Let’s backtrack two years — 1977. That was the year that Afrika Bambaataa (the creator of the wildly popular electro rap single “Planet Rock“), started to throw block parties in New York, where he would tell about his Four Elements of Hip-Hop.
These elements are…
●Graffiti/Painting/Writing – the visual art of spray-painting or “tagging” messages in public places
●DJing – the art of creating completely new compositions using turntables and a mixer, aka “turntablism”
●B-Boying/Breakdancing – an expressive kind of street dance performed to percussive snippets known as “breakbeats”
●MCing/Emceeing/Rapping – the art of rhyming in a certain rhythmic cadence, usually to instrumental backing
We’ll be revisiting these Four Elements in a different post. But the point of the Four Elements story is to show Hip-Hop for what it is—a culture, not simply a vocal style.
Even though some people consider “rapper” and “MC” synonymous as well as “Hip-Hop” and “rap”, quite a few veterans of the culture have pointed out the exact opposite. The general consensus among veterans is that a “rapper” is someone who merely does it as an occupation, merely as an entertainer, while an MC is a potently clever lyricist who hypes the crowd up, and most importantly, is dedicated to Hip-Hop culture as a whole. Therefore, these are NOT interchangeable.
Pictured: A true MC.
Actually “emcee” is considered the proper way to spell the noun, but the shorter abbreviation is often used instead. But what is it an abbreviation of, exactly? The two most common ideas are…
●Master Of Ceremonies
Also, in his popular 1986 debut single, the Long Island MC known as Rakim Allah redefined the word himself.
“Eric B easy on the cut; no mistakes allowed
‘Cuz to me, ‘MC‘ means ‘Move The Crowd’“
As far as recorded instances go, the first time the term was mentioned was in “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, which was released in September of 1979. The rather humorous “Spoonin’ Rap” by Spoonie Gee, which was released in December of 1979, uses the term several times. From then on, it was simply ubiquitous in the Hip-Hop lexicon.
Overview & Conclusion
Just to recap, the term “MC” was coined in 1977 by Afrika Bambaataa and his Zulu Nation, and it denotes a powerful lyricist who rocks the crowd and is committed to Hip-Hop culture, to sum it up. What more can I say?
Hey, guys. Today, I’m here to dispel a particularly annoying —and dangerous— notion. A notion that was at first merely laughable (although the joke was on us), and is now plain irritating, all the more so because of its flagrant fallacy. What in the hell am I waffling on about? The stereotype of all gamers being greasy, fat-ass neckbeards who spend 25+ hours a day immersed in lurid fantasy worlds.
You’ve seen it many times before. You need only close your eyes to conjure the image. An overweight, horribly unshaven, usually bespectacled 25 to 30-year-old white male sitting at an oversized computer screen, beady eyes decadently blinking, bovine jaws working lazily, with a family size bag of Doritos in one hand, and a gallon of special-edition Mountain Dew ready to chug down in the other. This rather unsightly creature relinquishes the grip on his prized foodstuffs (no doubt purchased by his hapless maternal unit) only to periodically make a click on his high-tech, 3-pound gaming mouse. If you concentrate hard enough on this foul image, you can actually smell the evil stench of unwashed ballsack, assorted food debris, and maybe even the mythological Pee-Pee Jar. Anyway, let’s stop. This is making me nauseous.
I’m sorry I had to get so graphic there, but I’m a writer. This is how we get our points across. Now, the above image is laughable at best, and bloody revolting at worst, right? Wrong. The worst is, have anyone who thinks they know jack diddley squat about gaming culture tell it, this is us. Yes, that festering ball of udder nastiness (see what I did there?) is us. All of us! Now, isn’t it funny how before the advent of video games, one of the major defining attributes of a “nerd” was being skinny? And not eating “manly” foods like steak and hamburgers? (which are honestly fattening as all get out, tbh) But I digress. As a gamer and self-admitted nerd, I take serious offense to the nonchalant perpetration of this absurdist caricature. It is total BS. And do you want to know why it is total BS? Well, I will tell you why it is total BS. “One Simple Trick Clears Up Mad Misconceptions. The Media Hates Him!!!”
This image is total BS for one reason that all gamers intimately know. It is a struggle surely inherited from the shadowed enthusiasts in the era of the rising glory of Nolan Bushnell, and passed on to the People Of The Legwarmers during the indelible popularity of the NES in the 80s, to be continued in the heady epoch of Blockbuster and dial-up Internet with the SNES, N64, and PS1. It only became the more heinous in the start of the new millennium, with its tempting offerings of the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox. Add the Wii line along with the DS family, and it was a wrap. How could we possibly not suffer from it today?
The problem I am talking about is that we go out to GameStops and Goodwills at the ends of the earth to obtain (“painstakingly scrape together”, to be more accurate) beautiful collections of video games and systems that fill our hearts with a special joy comparable only to the empowering embrace of our lovers, or perchance the pwning of a n00b. Yes, we stalwartly march on to all manner of stores, deterred by neither rain nor snow nor caffeine-crazed and murderous Black Friday shoppers, thinking only of what amusing trinkets we might discover. We buy hundreds of dollars worth of such treasures…and then we never play with them.
Yes, that’s right. We take pains to make sure that our favorite video games are in the house, and then we never play with them. Why? Four words. “We Don’t Have Time“.
Listen here! Do you realize that game collecting is not for the lazy, broke-ass, or weak-willed? In order to be a great hunter, you need three things: A heavy wallet, light feet, and a strong back. Oh, and a metric ton of patience. Anyway, it takes money to buy anything that’s going to even faintly smell like fun. Unless you’re one of those cheapskate gamers who don’t like to spend upwards of 10 dollars at a time. In which case, you don’t deserve to have fun, you penny-pinching skinflints! Hah, but I’m only joking (kinda) Point I’m trying to make is, even for those of us that like the occasional thrifting expedition, we still find ourselves in a nasty loop rivaled only by The Minus World. Let me break it down here in this loop…
1. We have made a satisfactory amount of money
2. We decide we want to buy a game or console
3. We buy it
4. We are sorely missing that money a day later
5. We do whatever it is we do to make up that money, so busily that we have no time to enjoy our new game/console
Am I making it clear? We can’t sit on our asses and be neckbeards, because in order to even have anything to play with, we need money! And once we spend that money, we have to work so much to make up the cost of said game/console (plus, you know, all the other, like, essential household expenses) that we have no time (hell, and often no energy!) to sit down and have a gaming session for five minutes, let alone hours at a stretch. No, this whole “all gamers are neckbeards” thing has got to go. As a matter of fact, just to drive the point home, I’m gonna make a confession. I am, of course, a gamer. But the last time I gamed was around September last year. Let me repeat that for clarity. I, TheLinguistGamer, have not gamed since September of 2016. It is currently April of 2017. And to be honest, I don’t even remember what I was playing. I think it may have been Majora’s Mask, but I can’t say for sure. That little titbit is just to illustrate the maddening struggle that all gamers find themselves caught in sooner or later.
It’s not that I don’t like gaming anymore, or even that there’s nothing new or good to play. On the contrary, as I’ve told you guys before, I was lucky enough to be able to purchase the entirety of Final Fantasy VIII, in English, in the original cases, for a mere 12 dollars. Which I pledged to not even open until I finished Final Fantasy VII, and I’m still not done with the first disc. And my uncle gave me his PlayStation 3 last year, so that’s a whole new fun system to collect for. I’ve got an N64 with CIB Shindou Edition SM64, for God’s sakes! How can you be bored with that? No, it’s not that. You know, I am sometimes moved almost to the point of tears, because right under my TV, I have my PS1 halfway set up, memory card plugged in and everything, FFVII sealed in a box only a few feet away, but I am forced to simply file past it in silent longing because the raspy, gravelly voice in my mind that is my work ethic laughs “You got work to do. You can’t play video games!” Yes, as much as it would help me de-stress a whole lot, if I were to have a two-hour gaming session right now, I would probably build back twice the stress when I was done, because the time could have been spent in the pursuit of making money (to buy a new console, perhaps!) or otherwise advancing my life.
I’m done rambling. I think you guys get the point. As for me, I’m not going to risk the stress of destressing. 😟🎮