Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vocoder Smokader

What do 80's hitmaker the late great Terry "Zapp" Troutman have in common with todays biggest hip hop heavyweights like Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, and T-pain? Besides all being chart topping artists, if you said the use of an electronic voice box then you are correct. What began with Troutman, mainly known for his hit "Computer Love", has become a staple in the new sound of hip hop. The Vocoder (its formal name) also had a hot run in the 90's with famed producer and singer from group Blackstreet Teddy Riley's use of it. But it undoubtedly has made an even bigger comeback becoming a phenomona used by everyone from Jamie Foxx on his latest album to Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction". But is the use of this added voice machine helpful or hurtful? Well album sales for Lil' Wayne and Kanye West speak for themselves. Obviously people are diggin this sound which proves no matter the generation, the vocoder lives on. And though I am one of those people who are currently doing the diggin', I am afraid however that with so many artists hopping on the voice box bandwagon, that it will become played out and dare I say, annoying at some point. But as for now, long live the vocoder and all those who use it!

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