My favorite post that I wrote for Kottke.org might be “Digging in the crates (or Why my generation is into history),” which used a Ta-Nehisi Coates riff on hip-hop’s omnivorous hunger for obscure/great old music as a kind of vernacular historical barometer.
But of course, crate-digging isn’t just a hip-hop thing; it’s also always been a huge part of indie rock culture. This is why every time I hear M.I.A. growl The Modern Lovers’ “Road runner, road runner” over hip-hop & Bollywood beats at the start of “Bamboo Banga,” or James Murphy shout “Gil! Scott! Heron!” at the climax of “Losing My Edge,” I feel like Sasha Frere-Jones had his head up his ass.
Then I think about Bob Dylan stealing old Woody Guthrie records from his friend’s houses in Minneapolis, and I think maybe my generation just isn’t so different: