Damn Nas, ever since he named his 2006 album “Hip Hop Is Dead”, people born 1979 and earlier have declared the death of our once beloved genre of music. Nas himself did not come up with the phrase, but gave a mainstream voice to those that have felt let down by the change in the music that us 80’s babies grew up on.
While the younger generation may not know or understand what we mean when we say Hip Hop Is Dead, the older generation is left to scratch our heads at what is being passed off for hip hop these days. Refusing to listen to mainstream radio other than contemporary R&B stations, we are left with personalized radio stations using programs such as Pandora, Spotify, Aol radio or satellite radio. Feeling neglected and betrayed, we not only feel that we lost our voice, but that we, the Hip Hop generation, are going the way of the Mayans.
Instead of quality Hip Hop, the only thing you hear on the radio is 1000 variations of the same song, and people that have no business touching a microphone, using Hip Hop as a get rich quick scheme. Instead of Hip Hop with a message, we are instructed to “bust it wide open”, mix sprite with our Robitussin, or turn up in the club. Rappers are using other people’s life stories as their own while, letting our black women think that they aren’t shit but a twerk video.
Who is to blame for the de-evolution of hip hop? Is it the artists? Radio executives? Or the consumers? If you ask me I’ll say all three, but more of the onus is on us the consumers. We, the original hip hop generation sat by while the rug was pulled from underneath us by major record labels and radio stations. Many of us were so caught up in getting money, money that most of us had never seen before that we didn’t stop to ask at what cost.
Not to be all doom and gloom but on contrary quality Hip Hop is alive and well and just like the revolution it will not be televised. The culture of hip hop (b-boying, mcing, graffiti, djing and the knowledge) may appear to be on life support but if you take the road less traveled and actually dig you will find that quality hip hop is still being made it’s just not on mainstream radio or video outlets.
Quality hip hop can not be suppressed since it’s a culture and a way of life. You cannot kill something that defines an entire generation while providing a sound track to their lives.
(Additional insights provided by Mrs. Breazy)
So do you agree or disagree with the statement that Hip Hop is dead?
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.
Breazy Moe Bee.