I just want to hear a good beat

You know … I really ought to be paying attention to the presidential debates.

But VH-1’s week-long documentary on hip-hop, And You Don’t Stop (sucky Flash site — unusable as hell), has totally grabbed my attention.

And I’ll be the first to admit I’m no fan of hip-hop. But the makers of the documentary do such a thorough job explaining the history and context behind hip-hop culture, it’s riveting.

I’ve always believed that a person who doesn’t like a form of music just doesn’t know what to listen for. Take classical music — it requires work to puzzle out something like sonata form, but once you learn it, it’s easier to listen to a Franz Josef Hadyn symphony for the first time.

And You Don’t Stop is a great crash course on how to understand hip-hop. I just may have to find some Public Enemy, and I may not be so quick to be dismissive of Dr. Dre. I’ll put up with Eminem, but I still think he’s an asshat.

Ice-T compared hip-hop to country music, and it made sense. Speaking of which, the BBC documentary, Lost Highway (which aired on CMT), is also rather fascinating. Since it was made by Britons, the tone of the documentary is much more reserved and objective than most CMT productions, which are nothing but country music pep rallies anyway. (Yay, Kenny Chesney!) I hope CMT will air it again.