The State of Hip-Hop

Written on

August 7, 2011

What ever happened to the heart and soul that hip hop used to have in the early days of its rise? Has it completely been killed off by money hungry, fame digging fools that only want to make cash and be a household name? Is hip hop actually dead or is it just taking a small hiatus until the real hip hop heads take back what they created a little over three decades ago? I understand that this topic has been covered hundreds of times in the last couple years but I feel like I have enough information to finally explain why I believe hip hop has died but only to a certain extent. The points that are made in this article are my own and I do believe every words below that I wrote so call it as you will but this is from the heart and I’m not the one to blame that a great genre full of talent is being destroyed by knuckleheads that are ungrateful and disrespectful.

Let’s start by asking the main question: When did hip hop start to fall and how can we, as a community of real hip hop lovers, start to rebuild? My answer to this question is that we let hip hop fall off the second we started giving random artists passes to make pop/hip hop records with no talent at all. Back in the early 1980s & 1990s, if you couldn’t spit with the best of the people in the hip hop game, you were blacklisted and never heard of again until you actually practiced to make your skills above-par. Artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, Slick Rick, Tupac, Nas, Big L and Scarface, none of those guys got passes to keep making horrible records or spitting garbage bars. They practiced the art of rhyming and when they felt as if they were ready to move to the next level, they did and were very skilled at what they did through their whole career. In the early 2000s, that’s when we started losing hip hop as a whole but don’t get it twisted, some artists and some classic records have been released since 2000.

Hip hop turned into more of a club thing and artist started to worry about how much money they could make instead of doing it for the love of hip hop. The artists started to find ways to sell ring tones and make “club bangers” instead of staying in the studio for a solid 3 months to create a masterpiece of an album. Also, the auto-tune was probably the worst thing to ever happen to hip hop in general. If you decide you wanted to be a rap artist in this day of life, all you’ll need is some auto-tune, either a very slow and melodic beat or tons of fans on Facebook/Twitter.

It’s fucking pathetic how much we don’t check these people when they decide they want to be recognized in the hip hop world. How can we rebuild the state of hip hop to the state it used to be? Stop giving lame artists, that can’t spit or will ever spit on the level of the greats, passes and understand the difference between skills/talent and gimmick. Lately, so many artists have came out that are just pure gimmicks. If you blow up Twitter and drive your “career” on how many tattoos you have, you are the furthest thing from hip hop, period.

Next on the list is how the current society we live effects the state of hip hop as a whole. Being a 24 year old white male, I sort of feel the reason hip hop has fallen to a point of disappointment is because of the white community. On the other hand, social media has the power grip on hip hop and it’s royalties. The white community made it more commercial, more watered down and made it easier for artists like Soulja Boy, Big Sean, Waka Flacka, Gucci Mane and Lil’ B to have the spotlight for no reason at all. This day in age we live in a world, where again, social media is huge and if you can reach certain people, those people will eat up the music and spread it like a disease.

On the flip side, I get it why people enjoy the stuff that these artist among others release. Its fantasy rap that talks about slanging drugs, having “hoes”, driving million dollar cars and living the life that everyone wants. I get that teenage and young adults flock to that like flies to shit but also, I won’t support it and neither will real hip hop supporters. I can’t support something that influences something so horribly that it gets to the point I lose hope in it. I’ll give you that the artists mentioned above, as well as others, are geniuses when it comes to marketing and making themselves out to be something completely different than what they are but that alone should not give them a pass to create talentless records.

Lastly, the final thing that I believe ruined hip hop was the lack of battling and having beef. Some might say that they love the fact that the “beef” has been toned down because less people are dying and whatnot but it’s the roots of hip hop, it’s what gave it so much soul and power. We’re missing artists beefing in the world of hip hop so much because the world around us has changed into this “we’re suppose to love everyone” fucking carnival and these pop artists have lost touch of what real hip hop is. Stop worrying about offending people and start crushing on anyone you dislike in the field of hip hop.

Speak out and show that you’ll battle anyone at any given time because you have that confidences that’s needed to rule this shit-fest of a genre. True, we’ve seen little beefs happen here and there but nothing that makes it huge as it did in the past. I want another Jay/Nas beef, I want another Canibus/Cool J beef and even another Em/Benzino beef. I want to see dudes get so pissed off behind the mic that they stop flowing just to threaten the dude that talked shit on him previously.

I guess in a way, I’m saying that hip hop has lost its heart. It’s lost the realness, the grittiness, the overbearing discussion and reality that these dudes could rip you to shreds with just the words that come out of their mouth. I’m sorry but Bow Wow or Tyga could never make me feel bad because of what they might say about me but Vinnie Paz and J Dilla would rip my ass apart with the most simplest of word play. Hip hop is missing something and maybe it’s the heart, maybe it’s the soul, maybe it’s the truth behind the words that artists are spitting.

This whole article could be completely one hundred percent wrong, I have no idea but I do know that if we don’t get more Kendrick Lamar‘s, Big K.R.I.T.‘s or some brand new forms of Talib Kweli or Mos Def, this state of hip hop is in major trouble, atleast in my eyes. I pray and hope that hip hop in general has a revival because if it does I’ll be just like a black lady at church while I’m praising the lord with my whole heart. Until that happens, I’ll just have to pay close attention to the new mixtapes, records and EPs that artists are dropping because it’s the only life I’m clinging onto as the state of hip hop is on IVs.

The video below is a discussion from the Dead End Hip Hop dudes & The Needle Drop about what makes a record classic or trash. The video, to me, makes sense to be in this article because they talk about certain artists that are mentioned above and they speak on the state of hip hop to a point.

[Retired] A cool kid with no talent but tons of heart! A passion for grindcore and writing in general pushes me onward to reach new heights within music journalism.