I want to take a moment today dissect one of the most used phrases in our hip-hop community, when fans want to speak highly of their new favorite artist of the month.
“I like this artist because they are really rapping about something”.
Now, I do understand the premise of this statement. What they are trying to convey is they like or identify with the content of artist A over artist B-Z. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, I think at times the phrase is just used to down another artist and change the narrative of why you want to listen.
As an example, one may say, “I listen to Wale because he actually saying something unlike French Montana. I need my rappers to say something”. Then they’ll get genuinely upset or “feel bad” because they really like the “ratchet song” Wale and French Montana song they put out with Meek Mill.
It turns into “OH WALE! How could you do this!?!?! You are educated and our only hope for the culture…” Relax fam. It’s just a song. He didn’t say he was a devil worshiper or he’s going to kill your mom.
I also think this is the subtle attack on radio and mainstream artist specifically. It is extremely rare for some to use the “He’s rapping about something” phrase and give you a name like Murs, Killer Mike, Lecrae [unless they are trying to campaign for change] Any Mineo, Atmosphere, Phonte, MGK or Macklemore. Truth is that requires a lot of digging, searching and wanting to really find what you’re into versus it being presented to you. The same 2-3 names will always come up to make a point and even artist like Big Sean get left out and his content is mostly about his come up, what he has to take care of, his family and the struggles of relationship and success.
What I would like people to understand is, all music has a purpose. Yes, there is good and bad music. Yes, some can rap better than others and I am notorious for pointing that out, but it’s important to understand why artist are creating their art.
Kendrick Lamar wants to be regarded as one of the greatest rappers ever. The Migos want to make sure they are successful and prosper financially. Wale wants to know why he’s not in your top 5 of emcees today. Future wants to be regarded as one of the realest n***s you ever heard. The part that a lot of listeners don’t understand is, all of theses artist have to step out of there comfort zones in order to get the accolades they want or to reach their goal. Plus it shows the range and mass appeal of their ability. It really is for the greater good of music when you look at the bigger picture.
As I mature as a rap listener, I find purpose for it all. Big Sean, Phonte, Common, Kanye West and Nas for car or the office. Young Dro, Lil Jon, Future, Migos and Juicy when I’m running, working out and hopefully in the club. If there is ever a collaboration of the worlds, I’m going to listen and hope something great happens.
Some of the most respected, thought provoking emcees ever have yet to collaborate with 3 Stacks…DJ Unk got his though.
There’s always been a balance in content. Some of your favorite “turn up artist” have said some of the realest things that applied to your life. Some of your more content heavy and respected lyrical artist have contributed a verse to the number 1 record in the clubs. No matter what, you will get your fix if you are actually listening and supporting what you love, instead of bashing what you hate.
I posted this cause a lot of y’all say “Jay don’t rap about nothing and Roc-a-fella only had materialistic street ish”….smh…I don’t even know what to say.
Sidenote: In your opinion are Rhapsody and SZA picking up where Eve left off? I haven’t really heard the full projects of either artist so I won’t speak on them completely.
I know Nicki’s last album was relationship heavy, but it wasn’t like this…
One thought on “He’s Really Rapping About Something…”
Word. Ice Cube and Too $hort are like this too. I think they put out diverse shit. But stay themselves. And some can do it but won’t because they know their fans like what already works. You’re never gonna hear a Redman verse quoted in any University but he’s one of the mist enduring and consistent brand of hip hop art. And he’s dope at it. So I feel you. It’s just as a listener when you hear something dope AND real/true/enlightening… you want to retweet it or echo it. Because hyping something up or adlibbing it in a way is the closest a fan will get to actually creating the art. So fans are quick to hype an artist and stick with them. I do that. Did it with Snoop. Did it with Lupe but had to let him go. BIG, Pac, and Pun died before they could get old enough to be whack to me. Jay Z and LL stayed too long and put out whack shit. It’s harder for these hip hop artists now to be unique, but when you see a diamond you’re glad others see the shine too. Shit I shared a Kendrick video on my FB page way before DRE signed him but I didn’t get credit for “knowing about him waaaay before yall did” because I’m a grown man and know that’s nothing to take credit for. I’m just happy I wasn’t wrong about him cuz then I’d just give him the Lupe. As far as Wale, I just listen to the Nothing mixtures and I’m good.