The hip hop dead crew is getting on my nerves. Every day a new disgruntled rap fan from the so-called “golden era” of hip hop (1994-1996) asserts hip hop’s death by pointing to the prominence of such acts as Soulja Boy, Hurricane Chris (and which ever Southern artist has made a catchy tune at the moment), who flood the charts, music video stations and radio with their brand of hip hop. These critics, who are mostly from the East coast, and who grew up on a steady diet of Wu-Tang and Nas and other now defunct rappers are the main mud slingers on the temple of hip hop. Now don’t get me twisted, I grew up on that stuff too, however, my ear evolved to accept Outkast, UGK, TI, and yes even Young Jeezy. But this hate for the next generation of music is nothing new and should be expected.
Look at all the old folk that say rock music is dead, that jazz music is dead, etc. etc. They wine and complain that “the music just aint the same”. But of course the music isn’t the same, it’s a different year. As technology changes, so does the music. In the 80’s the advent of the electronic keyboard took the music into some faux-virtual-reality that was all based on some kind of weird futurism where everyone had big hair and rocked sweat suits everywhere. Today, computer software like FL Studio, home studios and Myspace have made the art of making music accessible to all with a computer. Music is still the same thing its always been, there will always be songs about love, finding love, losing love. It’s just the way you listen that has changed.
For instance, go back and listen to any 80s rap record. Listen to a classic album like Paid in Full by Rakim and although the music is undeniably incredible, I guarantee rap fans between 14 to 18 will fall asleep listening to it. Why? The production, the mic, the rhymes are not the same sound quality of today. It’s like how old movies from the 40s or even from the 80s put you to sleep (I fall asleep during any 80’s move, except Back 2 the Future and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) because the quality and the timing is totally different from what we have come accustom to today. Even rap’s own evolution has seen critics scream its demise.
Rap critics from the 80’s said rap was dead when Dr.Dre and the West took over rap in the early 90’s. The backlash against rap music today by the media, politicians and the self-proclaimed Black leaders is the exact same backlash that occurred in the early 90’s when Ice-T made a little song called “Cop Killer” that made George Bush Sr and Dan Quayle get busy on the mic reciting Ice’s rhymes in disgust. The funny thing about all of this was that artist in the previous generation were singing about killing police officers too (i.e. Eric Clapton’s cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff).
The real reason East Coast brand of hip hop is not at the top of the charts is because none of you East Coast heads support the artist making East Coast music. How is it possible that a rapper from New York can’t sell more radio play than a rapper from Georgia? Georgia’s population is a paltry 4.6 million while New York state has 30 million people! Well when more people download then buy is how. If you want that New York feeling back listen to Jersey’s Joe Budden, Brooklyn’s Joell Ortiz and Chicago’s Lupe Fiasco. There all dropping product soon go out and support that and maybe East coast artist will lose that Southern twang and strive to create timeless music as their peers once did.