What Happened to Hip-Hop?


Credits to: https://www.pexels.com/search/Hip%20Hop/

Hayden Kim, Staff Writer

“That’s what wrong right now, everybody trying to rap the same with the same style.” -Snoop Dogg.

Until recently, I’ve only listened to music that was  30 years out of style, however, I am trying to modernize my musical palette by listening to new up and coming rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, The Creator. Hip-hop has come a long way from the days of rappers emceeing at underground parties in the Bronx to NWA’s “west coast gangsta rap” and changing again as deceased rap stars like Tupac and Biggie pass the torch to a new generation. But I’ve noticed that the now-aging torchbearers have no clear superstar to continue the rap legacy. This is due to the declining quality of music in general.

Now I’m not saying that all new rap songs are bad. There are a handful of good songs out there, but the top charts are dominated by mumble rap, which frankly, isn’t very good. Music is not always about how nice it sounds, but more on the quality and meaning of the songs. Even though rap is known to have repetitive and mostly inappropriate meanings, it doesn’t mean it is a bad genre. Rap is about relaying the message with witty lyrics, puns, and references.

While listening to “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott, he says “Had to hit my old town to duck the news, Two four hour lockdown, we made no moves” which is thought to be a reference to the fact that he returned to his hometown of Missouri City, Texas to escape the news even though his visit was highly publicized and was even given the key to the city. But to the casual listener, this line would make no sense and even if you know the meaning, still doesn’t make sense in the context of the song. These are the kind of lyrical confusions that make new songs unnecessarily complicated and less appealing. Not only that but “Sicko Mode” has reached number one on the Billboard Top 50 Hip-Hop/R&B songs and number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. This proves that even though this song switches meaning and has confusing lyrics, can still become the top song in the hip-hop genre and in music as a whole.

These songs can hit this kind of popularity because of the changing audiences. The people listening to these songs are Millenials and teenagers. They were not around to experience what good Rap sounds like. They couldn’t listen to the lyrical masterminds like Dr. Dre and the incredible rap flow of Biggie Smalls. Since mumble rap is all they have ever heard. They make that the basis of their opinion and compare all other rap to mumble rap and if it doesn’t fit the mold, it is seen as inferior rap.

If rappers today had the lyrical intelligence of rappers back in the 80’s and 90’s did, we would be in the second hip-hop golden age. But due to the lack of creativity and inspiration, rap has taken a turn for the worse and has been producing some of the worst songs the listening public has ever heard. Unless there is some musical enlightenment or a rap super-nova revealed in the next year, we will be stuck with low-quality mumble rap for a long, long time.