So I was really trying to avoid this topic but, I just can’t. I got to speak on it because I know people are talking about it. I have an opinion and I have questions. So let’s just get this going.
So I finally got around to watching the Hot 97 Dipset freestyle video from this year and I was pretty heartbroken. That’s because I’m anticipating new Cam’ron bars and he’s reading off the phone. I mean….it wasn’t whack and I’m the first person to say “It’s all about Hot or Not” but this made me kind of sad, straight up LOL! Do you remember some of Cam’rom Rap City:The Basement verses?!?! Granted some of them ended up being on albums but those albums weren’t out yet. They also weren’t written on sheets of paper as he recited them. We’ve watched Cam rap while counting a stack of money in the booth. So this whole Smartphone thing was a shock to my system.
I was listening to old Canibus radio freestyles this week and it really got me thinking. How would that look today? Canibus pulled out a notepad in a battle recently….I wonder would he or did he ever do that at a radio station.
Sway moved the water bottle when Troy Ave tried to “Go Off The Phone” as a way to seemingly expose him, however, Joel Ortiz, in the same scenario had his phone in his hand and it seemingly flies under the radar. So right there you can’t even make the “Rappers vs Emcees” argument because the masses consider Joel and Troy the epitome of both. I watched Joe Budden go off the phone and mess up…..Damn….lol!
It’s not everybody though. Kendrick Lamar, King Los and Big Sean for example be READY! Whether from a upcoming project or just because they be going in! So again that forces new questions to me.
Are the vets tired of impressing us?
Is “Going off the phone” simply a way to keep bars “clean and radio friendly”?
Is “Going off the phone” just the emcees way of saying this is a fresh one for y’all?
Is “Going off the phone” just being lazy and not caring what we think?
I’m on the fence because who am I to say this didn’t happen when 2-Ways were popping. Who am I to say that before cameras where in radio studios, every single artist that ever came in wasn’t reading raps out the mead or composition notebook. I can’t confirm or deny that. We are now in a time where more than likely a rapper is going to go to a radio station and get in front of a mic or a camera and either “Smartphone Rap” or Not rap at all! So are we getting an tainted victory or are we getting two L’s?
This is kind of why everybody feel they can rap and they just need money and a push of support to make it happen. Think about it. The aspect of GREAT off the top freestyle is a gift and I honestly don’t expect everyone to do it. Some would call memorizing a lot of raps in your head to go off with at anytime is also a gift…..But literally if all you need is a phone to read a rap off of, who honestly couldn’t do that? Cam’s looked like it was completely set up. Cam has had that beat for 14 years! Does he really need to write to it again now?
I will say this though. If you go off the phone and you’re trash…you should know to quit rapping then. It’s over for you if you can’t do that and sound at least “pretty good”.
I guess maybe I want answers I’m not entitled to. If radio stations are staging freestyles for the sake of content and giving artist beats to rhyme to so they won’t feel anxiety to deliver something live, then I honestly have to respect that. However, if that is the case, then EVERY SINGLE “Real Spitters can do this” and “Real Hip-Hop is that” conversation has to be thrown out the window. Because as time goes on, this will be the standard and I’m calling it now! The only bonus is, we FINALLY get back to rappers rapping and since the majority won’t really answer questions with directness or substance at least that’s something to look forward to.
What are your thoughts on Smartphone Rap? Can anybody educate me on what we are seeing right now? Let Me Know Something.