This one’s long. Sorry about that but, it is a good topic.
Here’s something a lot of underground Cats have been saying about the current state of Hip Hop – IT’S WACK! Ok, now I have a few questions:
– Based on what? Radio, sales, public opinion?
– Based on which Artists (or groups)?
– Based on what content?
You get the picture. I think those who are voicing this opinion are the ones opposite of the Emcees getting major exposure. And that’s what the public constantly sees so they interpret that as Hip Hop. Well….we all know the public can’t think unless they’re told what to think about so I don’t invest too much in that. (I’m one of those who feels a lot has been dumbed down) Next, who’s to say what real Hip Hop is? Those who know – know!
For example, take Country, Ska music, Alternative, Rock….you don’t think there’s some watered down acts in those genres as well? You don’t think the true bands who built from the ground up, aren’t on a higher level? Of course they are. I’m sure when Billy Ray Cyrus was getting mad exposure, it made a lot of Country artists shake their heads. I’m sure fans of Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd or the Eagles wouldn’t think many other bands are comparable to these legendary Artists and I would agree.
I know what Hip Hop is, what it sounds like, how it makes me feel when I’m at a venue, what the elements of Hip Hop are and what they mean. There are some young Cats who understand the history of Hip Hop and what the ‘Art or Rap’ means. They know that everything that happened before them, gave them the outlet they have now to take poetry to new heights, to put pen to paper unlike other lyricists, to talk with their hands on the turntables, to give fashion to a culture, to illustrate murals around the world like modern day Egyptian hieroglyphics which reflect our society.
Fans from the Golden Era of Hip Hop knew that’s when it was taking it’s true form. It wasn’t when Afrika Bambaataa or The Sugar Hill Gang dropped their first song. It wasn’t even called Hip Hop then. There’s so much to this story. We all appreciate new Acts who understand that and pay homage. So my opinion is, the one’s who are jumpin’ around on videos, not sayin’ much from song to song, and giving it a wack exposure; are making their own beds that they’ll have to sleep on. You can play joints from Guru, Damian Marley, KRS ONE, Nas, Ice Cube, E-40, De La Soul, Cypress Hill or Tribe Called Quest from 2 years ago, 5 years ago, or 10 years ago and it’s still quality! The joints that are hot right now will be forgotten by Fall of this year. No?? Can you name which song was blazin’ hot exactly a year ago? I can’t. They die faster than they came up. My point? Real Hip Hop isn’t here for the top charts until the next joint is dropped. Hip Hop educates, reports, kicks philosophy, stirs conversation, entertains and remains relevant throughout YEARS!! I think the real question is, why can’t Emcees with dope skill, original thought, craft and wit; get exposure and paid like the ones who aren’t sayin’ shit? But we all know the answer to that question….let’s not play naive. That game’s been goin’ on too long. Plus if no one was eating it, it wouldn’t be getting exposure so, who’s the fool?
I don’t care if the current state is wack. If it is, I missed it cuzz it’s definitely not what I’m paying attention to or playin’ in my earbuds. Like I said earlier, those who know – know. Now, I will say this in the defense of any style that may seem soft or wack, this generation didn’t grow up like us. The hustle was a lot harder, gang bangin’ was the only option, there weren’t as many resources to get our street block activity out to the next City, State or Country. You can hear it in the music (the words). These days, there are! There’s actually no excuse for any Independent Artist, so many resources are available. But back to my point, didn’t we struggle, fight, kick and claw our way from that current state to one that we could enjoy and breathe a little easier? Didn’t we do that so our younger brothers and nephews didn’t have to go through the same struggle? Well here they are, and without the same drama we experienced, they can’t talk about that (like we did). We had so much to voice our opinion about. Things are easier these days. So what should these Cats be talkin’ about? If they talk about a fake hustle life, then that’s really contradicting this art and we wouldn’t want that; would we? I think they’re still figuring it out for themselves or maybe they are just saying whatever sells. Not my problem, they’re not taking my money.
Remember, Hip Hop is original. When it started, it took millions by storm, scared many who couldn’t relate and seemed foreign to overseers. Like anything else, once something is figured out…the masses see how they can benefit from a trend or movement. That won’t change but you will. Or will you?
I’ve said this before “I did not create Hip Hop but I am Hip Hop which means, if I stopped doing all that I do; Hip Hop would die. Now think of that as a group or a collection of people. We are Hip Hop. We may not have created it but without us, it wouldn’t exist.” We give it continuous life and shape it, different than how we received it and available for the next generation. Don’t ever stop doing what you do in Hip Hop. You’re an important piece to this moving puzzle.
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