So there's another edition of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake performing 'The History of Rap' on the Tonight Show. It's the fifth volume of this, apparently.
I remember when they did the first one, a thousand years ago. It was cute. I watched it, appreciated the gimmick, and moved on with my life. Once in a while, the interweb pages I visit would become obsessed with a new edition of the skit. I never went back to see another one.
I didn't lose interest because I have anything against rap, or either of the performers. I love old school rap music. (On a side note, it's become disconcerting that there are rap songs not even remotely old school in my mind are included, but that's for another time.) I appreciate the talents of Fallon and Timberlake. Fallon has the potential to expand far beyond the long forgotten skits done by Johnny Carson. And Timberlake's music may not be my thing, but his SNL appearances are always can't-miss events.
I lost interest because 'The History of Rap' is a gimmick. The performers' skill is a given, so all we're being exposed to are slides of someone else's vacation near someplace we have also been at a previous and unrelated time. 'Oh, I recognize that slide, we've driven past the Gateway Arch, too. Next?'
In today's era where virtually all music is available anywhere, anytime, 'The History of Rap' doesn't even seem all that nostalgic. You know what was nostalgic? Getting the De La Soul catalog for free on Valentine's Day in a never before, never again type event, then going back and listening and hearing lines, samples, and voices you'd forgotten.