Saturday, 15 December 2012
The Direction of Hip-Hop
To start off, I would like to confess that I wasn't always a Hip-Hop fan. I remember back in 6th and 7th grade, songs like "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" and "Lollipop" dropped and people were going crazy about them, yet I found myself despising the genre because of them. My music taste was not set on any specific genre, and I found myself just listening to anything on the radio. That was up until two years ago when I met these people in my sophomore year of high school, whom are now my best friends, and they introduced me to the Hip-Hop genre from a different perspective. At the time, Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and Lil Wayne's "I Am Not A Human Being" dropped and I felt very attracted to the genre all of a sudden (Don't judge me for my liking of the Lil Wayne album, just keep reading!). Kanye's mesmorizing beats and his incredible lyrics touched me from a humorous and an emotional side and Lil Wayne just put me in a good mood. When I first heard MBDTF, I wanted to learn more about the genre! I wanted to make sure that I can gain as much access to this genre as possible and look at it from different perspectives. While my friends mainly focused on Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Eminem and other rappers who were dropping new music at the time, I wanted to go further back. I found myself going back and back, from Tha Carter III to The College Dropout to The Slim Shady LP to Me Against the World to Illmatic and all the way back to LL Cool J. I found myself learning more and more about the genre day by day, and my love for the Hip-Hop music I was first exposed to seemed to fade slowly...
I later found myself telling my friends of the Hip-Hop music I started focusing on more, which consisted of 2Pac |(R.I.P.), Nas, The Notorious B.I.G. (R.I.P.), Eminem (his older stuff), Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Rakim, Lupe Fiasco and many more. However, to my shock, my friends didn't know the music I was telling them about, so I became the one who was getting them into Hip-Hop.
The reason I'm telling you all of this is because it reflects on my point of view about the perspective of the Hip-Hop genre. A lot of the die hard Hip-Hop fans are stating the the genre is dead and mainstream rappers are "killing" the genre with terrible lyrics that have no depth or context. On the other hand, the newer generation seems to state that this is what Hip-Hop is all about, only being an entertaining tool to get "hyped" about and that the conscious Rap is unnecessary. Does this mean that the genre is dead? Are today's rappers destroying the genre because of their lyrics? Is the perception of Hip-Hop solely based on the image of the new rappers which many people criticize? To all of these questions, I have to say no.
Music isn't something constant, it is always changing and evolving. Whether it is Hip-Hop, Rock, R&B or any other genre, people cannot expect any genre to remain the same. Music changes with the people that listen to it and simultaneously we change with the music as well. Many rappers are smart enough to know what people think and care about in our generation, whether it ranges from money, sex and/or power. Rappers take these features into their own advantage and place them in their music. This doesn't mean however that all Hip-Hop fans look for these features, but just a good portion of them. Other Hip-Hop fans who tend to focus on more conscious topics can easily go to rappers like Lupe Fiasco, Elzhi, Ab-Soul and many others. If you are looking for more introspective and deep lyrics, then listen to those rappers, but if you just want to get pumped up and listen to something simple, then the commercial Hip-Hop is for you. Does this make you a bad person if you listen to the mainstream Hip-Hop? No it doesn't, it only gives you your own personal music taste and in the end, everyone has their own opinion.
This is were my story fits in. I liked the commercial Hip-Hop at first but when I was exposed to the other forms of the genre, I found myself liking the conscious Hip-Hop more. But I didn't criticize my friends who were into the commercial Hip-Hop just for having a different taste in music. Hip-Hop is what we allow it to be. If you feel like the new Hip-Hop is not suited for you, then look further and you can find many different rappers who can rap with depth like Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Elzhi, Saigon, J. Cole and many more. This doesn't give you the right to criticize people who like the new Hip-Hop because they seem to like it and vibe to it and in the end, isn't that what music is all about? If you don't like Lil Wayne, don't buy his album! Don't buy his songs! Just listen to the music you like and you'll be happy to be transported into the side of the genre you prefer. If you do like Lil Wayne, then by all means do so. As the picture on the left says "Hip-Hop Ain't Dead It Lives In My Head", and this is how we must treat music of all genres.Hip-Hop is not dead, but it is only evolving...