Honestly, I’m sick and tired of this conversation. Sick up to here *points at neck* … How did we let hip hop degenerate so much?
IT IS ALL OUR FAULT!
We are forever looking to find a culprit for how hip-hop has disintegrated into this pigsty of repetitive one-liners and Lex Luger one key beats that are filling our phones, clubs and radio playlists but the answer is staring at us when we look at the mirror.
We are quick to point to a few artists on how they pied piper the descent of hip-hop into this lean infested, repetitive, mumbling, Siamese twins of records we are now forced to bear. We are now in a position where we can pinpoint the start of the fall and have suspects but the real and only suspect is us. We blame gatekeepers when we the ones truly holding the keys.
Truth is, hip-hop has always been a special culture. It has been a voice of the ones who have the audacity to speak about whatever is going on in their environment and what they believe is wrong about our society. This is the reason why some of the legendary pioneers may have been seen as extremists in their prime and more so, social affairs geniuses.
Hip-hop was the news, the current affairs show, the church, the motivator and the one point of the society that enabled dreams to be attained for a majority of black individuals.
It’s no secret that hip-hop mirrors the views of black people in society. From the rough boroughs, the rundown squatter camps, the despair of everyday lives of these people has been captured beautifully on record. To think that after all these expressive statements that ring in so many heads that people would not rise up, is ignorant as it is naive. If you got a chance to rule the world, what would you have your sons have?
Now, take the mind of a young black person who lives in these dire situations. This is their every day, yet they have the hope of a better life. The stress-free life of buying a Mercedes with no credit, the life of buying bottles at a club for friends who have survived the grotesque life, being able not only to afford the clothing labels we saw on magazines but being the face of those mega-corporates.
This is what hip hop came up from. We, the believers of this culture, made this happen. We were the people who gave these wordsmiths hope and fortune. We gave them the power.
So for anyone who says they are hip-hop, we give them a portion of that power. Only us have it, only we can grant it and the ones who are put in power; DJs, playlist committee and judges alike, are spurred on by us, the people.
The next time a budding lyricist paints pictures so vivid the Sistine seems like a child’s drawing, the next time someone mumbles their way to stardom, you feel you need subtitles for their songs; remember, you influenced them.
We are different in how and what music we consume. If no one bothered to cop or spin an album by any artist of whatever caliber or emerging sub-genre, do you think they would have a catalog? Do you think outside their intoxicated on whatever is the new potency on the street, Yes Men; ANYONE else would vibe with them?
Lets be honest, we have so much influence on what the game gravitates to but we are also reckless with the power bestowed on us. We are Oprah with crowns, we are like retail merchandisers with “game changer” tags, we are helium to one dimensional, one beat, one song, “artists”.
To be fair, I don’t blame the artists. If my bread is ALWAYS buttered on the same side, why would I switch sides? Why would I risk a steady income? Why would I dare be what I say I am? An artist?
I honestly wouldn’t create. I’d just regurgitate what you eat up and get my coins and coast.
We need to be honest as a culture. We need to have an open mind in the culture we love. We need defining boundaries that are susceptible to change and don’t stay rigid. We need to be clear on our criteria and allow emerging sub-genres to have their own scale. Imagine comparing Pac & Young Thug. WORSE imagine having a debate on who is real and who is not between the two.
So, the next time you say hip-hop is dead, and point at a suspect; careful you not holding the murder weapon in your hands.
Written by : SDot