Will The Real Hip Hop, Please Stand Up?

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014. Let’s be honest, 2013 wasn’t Hip Hop’s best year. Now, that’s not to say that it was horrible, but it did leave a lot to be desired. The usual suspects i.e. Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Drake and Future, pretty much dominated mainstream radio, whether they made music or not. Again, because 2013 was a somewhat “blah” year for Hip Hop, you knew what to expect from them before their albums came out.

What happened to Hip Hop being CNN of the ghetto?
What happened to Hip Hop being CNN of the ghetto?

Rick Ross talked about his cars, clothes, and hoes. Lil’ Wayne found new metaphors for fellatio. Future cried/rapped using Auto-Tune on every damn song that he was on. Drake was just as confused as ever, not knowing whether he wanted to sing or rap, so instead he opted for a hybrid of the two, all the while being passive aggressive towards Kendrick Lamar for mentioning him in Big Sean’s Control. Needless to say, out of the box subject matter was not high on the list of priorities of most rappers in 2013, with the exception of Macklemore for making a song speaking out against homophobia.

Even those that are on another level (some would call them elitist) seemed to have disappointed and confused some of their fan base. While some considered Magna Carta… Holy Grail to be one of Jay-Z’s best albums, seasoned Hip Hop heads thought it was just another sub par album of several that Jigga has made lately. Jay-Z has also come under fire from many for not being an entertainer-activist a la Harry Belafonte for his refusal to pull his clothing line from Barneys after an alleged case of racial profiling. And Kanye West seemed to spaz out on anybody at any time, for no reason at all, while making an album that, depending on who you talked to, teetered the line of genius and an incoherent mess.

So where does that leave our beloved Hip Hop? That’s the question. At one time Hip Hop was, as Chuck D called it, the CNN of the Ghetto; with acts like X-Clan, Boogie Down Productions, and Public Enemy providing a voice from the front lines for the Black and Latinos that were/are often overlooked by America.

During Hip Hop’s early days, especially 1988, rappers found time to speak about and against social ills, in between partying and bullshitting. In 1988 Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton shed light on the negative consequences of the era.

But oh how these times are different. Instead of trying to bring about change, especially as the gap between the haves and the have-nots gets bigger, rappers want to act as if “we’ve overcome, flaunting material things, and riches in the faces of those that need to “get on their level.” Incarceration rates keep growing among black males and public schools are deteriorating, while rappers are turning a blind eye because they’re too busy counting their Benjamins.

Unlike the socially conscious and informative albums of 1988, this generation fails to see the importance of addressing these issues with any level of selflessness.

What do you think? Am I being too hard on this generation? Or do you think the “each one teach one” philosophy is dead?

Talk to me, I’ll talk back.

Breazy Bambaataa

3 thoughts on “Will The Real Hip Hop, Please Stand Up?

  1. No I believe you are “right on the money” in terms of mainstream. However there are many other artists Common, Talib Kwali, Action Brunson– had to throw him in (me likey although not as conscientious) who continue to reignite hip hop, at least for me.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I was more or less talking about the new rappers coming up, and how they do not have to follow what’s popular.

      I can understand that for some Hip Hop is all about the money and improving upon one’s life, hell I’m not mad at that.

      But at some point has a decision has to be made artist/social integrity or the money?

      Again thank you for commenting, you brought up some valid points. Also the rappers I do listen to or have listened to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s