If Rap Dies, Where Does Hip-Hop Go?
If a guy walks up to a girl and professes how beautiful she is and shows her off to all of his friends before they even have a relationship, the typical guy would find him lame. Thatís exactly how I feel about rappers who brag about their jewelry. At least half of rappers with chains donít really own them. Theyíre either renting them or they were given to them for clique representation. Note: If they later are pulled from that clique, you better believe the chain is returned to its original owner. And honestly, as big as the chain is, thereís no need to show me. I see it. Iíve probably already grimaced from how gawdy and unnecessarily long it is, so I donít need the spotlight. And the need to say how much he paid for it is beyond tacky. Newsflash. Heís not really a millionaire until that album sells. When he walks around with no jewelry, doesnít brag, doesnít cause huge fashion show scenes, and people still recognize him, thatís when we everyone knows heís big.
If a dude rhymes about how women arenít important, considered to be hoes, and golddiggers, but has sex with that same female, he looks really stupid. If he doesnít want the girl to pay so much attention to his jewelry and his money, he should stop flashing it. If sheís having sex with everybody he knows, why would he put such an important part of himself into her? If he could care less about women, why are there so many in his videos? Are they for his boys to enjoy seeing? The same boys who also think women ďainít shitĒ too. Yes, I understand that there are some trifling women in the world who do not deserve respect. But to lump all of us in the same category really pisses me off. Draw the line somewhere. Even Jay-Z made a song distinguishing what a bitch is and what a woman is. I respect that and him (minus the braggadocia). Learn from somebody whoís considered a legend. Everybody is not the same. Just like every guy with a doorag and some Timberlands is not a thug, every female is not a bitch or a whore.
Iíve been sent home early because someone pulled out a gun at lunchtime. Iíve watched a boy get chased down and almost shot while I stood on another personís porch. Iíve had one really good friend and quite a few people from my area either go to jail or get gunned down. Iím well aware of the way ghetto lifestyle is. I understand that people want to talk about their environment. But I donít want to hear sixteen songs about the same subject from twenty different artists talking about ďIím bringing something new to the gameĒ. What day is that going to be because itís sounding a little common right now? I like The Game because he took the time to tell both sides of a story: how/why he gangbanged, what tribulations he went through, circumstances, raising a child, loving a woman, etc. But there are a bunch of artists right now just bragging about how they own and (supposedly) shoot guns. Congratulations! Guess what? His enemies have some too, so whatís his point?
Lack of Content
ďWallĒ, ďballĒ, ďgunĒ and ďsonĒ rhyme. But can I please hear a lyricist use the dictionary again? Lilí Flip says using a broad vocabulary is easy. Really? Well, why have I never seen him do it? Within a few seconds of a song, I can easily tell whoís rhyming words like Dr. Seuss and whoís a real lyricist (ex. Rakim, Tupac, Wyclef, Busta Rhymes, KRS One, Mos Def, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Talib Kweli, Slick Rick, Ludacris, and Big Tigger, just to name a few).
This is where the biggest difference between rap and hip-hop resides. You cannot tell me youíre a hip-hop fan and all you know is Eminem and 50 Cent. Although I respect both artistsí rhyme skills, hip-hop is much deeper than that. Some artists dabble into both hip-hop and rap (ex. Nas), but a real hip-hop fan knows the four elements of hip-hop (breakdancing, rapping, graffiti, and deejaying) regardless of whether they participate in all of the above. They also know the difference between mainstream rap and underground hip-hop. Sadly, many rap artists out now donít know the difference. They just want to get paid.
The best way to show hip-hop the utmost respect and keep rap in its proper place is for artists to do the proper research and diversify the topics. Even Jay-Z admitted heís bored with rap and hip-hop now. Iím starting to outgrow the artists. Iíve gotten to the point where Iím only listening to my old hip-hop albums because the new stuff out is so garbage. And when the money stops, so does the music. But the artists not doing the music for the money are the real artists anyway, so who does it really hurt?