July 4th. Independence Day. A day where the nation celebrates it’s independence. Right now, I’m on my couch thinking, man, a lot of rappers aren’t giving the hip-hop community what they need. What the hip-hop community needs are voices that are going to stand in front and bridge the gap of this thing we use to call “Edutainment”.
It’s really crazy what we deem “Positive Rap” or “Somebody saying something” in today’s era. Don’t get it confused, this is not an attack on rappers, because if we go by conversation and press, they are doing their job ten-fold. My gripe is with the standard being so low and the biggest voices in the community supporting the bare minimum, which then has rappers feeling like they’ve done more than enough.
To give an NBA analogy, the dunk or the crossover is getting more press than the W. Who should care about your crossover if you didn’t hit the shot that won the game?
For instance: You can have 1-4 bars that speaks on a social issue out of a 3 verse song and be deemed as “Deep” or “saying something”. The song won’t be titled about the issue, the rest of the verses could be just creative bars with no direction, but the people and the voices will hold that in high regard and say “MAN! Did you hear this rapper speak on the issue!? Bout time a rapper spoke up”.
In a genre where Public Enemy dropped “Can’t Truss It” and when KRS-One dropped “My Philosophy” how is that 1-4 bars on ANY issue acceptable? Even Flava Flav’s “911 Is A Joke” is socially conscious and relevant in 2015.
For a GREAT WHILE the last complete song I heard about social/community issue was Nas “I Can”. That was literally 14 years ago, but It’s difficult to find songs where an emcee has picked an issue or issues for at least 1 verse or 1 song and that song stayed on topic till the beat faded out.
I expect a Lupe song or freestyle to be mentioned. I think calling everybody racist and terrorist is irresponsible and has no real food on the matter. That’s just me though. I also believe that Lupe’s own contradictions about the “problems” in his own career are reasons to not listen to him on societal topics.
Selma happened before most of us were born. Just want to through that out there.
The Games “Don’t Shoot” song. Listen to EVERY BAR of EVERY VERSE is my final answer on that.
I’ll give you the “Kendrick is saying the most” stance. That’s undeniable. He can not be the only one though. This is about the VOICES. Not a voice. Props to Kendrick for speaking about where he comes from and what’s going on there.
The easy target now is Police Brutality. The problem is we got too many emcees telling the same story. You’re either Trayvon, Mike Brown, Sean Bell, Dialou or you are speaking about how you could be them. When does that topic switch to the community, outing crooked cops or challenging the system with less rage and more knowledge or a healthy combination of both?
Other issues that are very important are Education post high school, the prison system, HIV/AIDS and the complete family. Some would tell you the majority of the music actually promotes and glamorizes living recklessly to have or not honor the above. Sad part is, that’s hard to dispute.
It’s hard to tell the OG’s that the new cats are really saying something, when it appears the content and the character of the content meant more when the masses didn’t consider rap music to be actual music.
I honestly feel that if they really cared, they would really write about the topic. I was definitely the guy that wrote “Rappers should stick to what they know and do what they are best at”. I also feel that if those powerful voices wouldn’t make such a big deal about the minuscule mention, then they would go the extra mile and really give us some food. Lot of great and powerful images have been represented in videos lately, but the songs don’t match the images. That also can be dangerous.
I am a fan of a lot of today’s emcee’s. I am also a fan of balance. It can’t be all politics and societal rage just like it can’t be all turn up, sell dope and fawk bishes. Let’s all hold each other accountable and create better music to support genuinely.
Happy 4th of July from BehindTheRhyme