Hip Hop Is Not Dead…It’s Lazy

Hip Hop Is Not Dead…It’s Lazy

Once upon a time not long ago, where people wore pajamas & lived life slow…there used to exist these elusive human qualities called TALENT & SKILL.  Talent was often easily identified by other people because the person who possessed a talent could usually do something far better than most people could without hardly any effort.  Skill on the other hand, was not so easily identifiable due to skill requiring someone to apply a degree of hard work in order to properly hone into a legit talent.  Once a skill reached a certain level, it often became hard for the average person to detect the difference between natural talent & the hard work molded into skill.  If a person was that “special” as to where their talent & skill were virtually intertwined into one perfect union, usually that person developed by default a sense of “I can really do this” & emerged into the world to “really do this”.  NOT ANYMORE….things have changed & social media is to blame.  Keep reading…

I love hip hop.  I spent my teenage years in the 90s fully immersed into the culture.  I remember the whole East Coast/West Coast rivalry like it was yesterday.  I know exactly where I was when Tupac & Biggie were killed.  I lost my virginity while watching Rap City listening to Busta Rhymes “Woo Hah” song…

 I remember when people used to buy CDs simply because the CD cover artwork was so freaking fly (thanks Master P & Cash Money).  I remember the moment when southern hip hop began its quest to dominate the hip hop culture (thanks Master P & Outkast).  I remember life in the world of hip hop before social media hit the scene.  Life was hard back then.  Life required real talent.  Life required real skill.  Life in the world of hip hop required a whole lot of shit artists in this day & age couldn’t even fathom.

Old School

I am a firm believer that the 90s decade was truly the golden era of hip hop.  If you disagree with me…then to hell with you.  Back then we had the Source Magazine as one of the leading publications in telling the culture who’s hot & who’s not.  Flip to the back of the Source and you would discover a section that was dedicated to rating music.  The standard for rating the music ranged from 1 mic to 5 mics.  During the 90s era, when teens used to get into these deeply heated hip hop debates about the dominant artists of that time period, most used to describe their favorite artists in terms of how many mics they got thanks to the Source or how many mics they should have due to personal preference.  Usually if an artist put out an album that was deemed a hip hop classic, there was usually a consensus amongst the debaters that the album was worthy of having 5 mics.  5 mics was the gold standard back in those days whether the Source agreed with the debaters or not.  Conversations would go as such:  “Biggie’s ‘Ready To Die’ is a classic…that shit deserves 5 mics!”  or something to that effect.

Now what was really going on was this:  the fans of this music were not only applauding the musical masterpiece they had copped for $12.99 at your local record store and then later bootlegged onto a cassette tape; these fans were unknowingly applauding the grind, the struggle, the talent & skill required for a hip hop artist to take a recording, turn it into a project worthy of having a record company invest hundreds of thousands if not millions into, and have this music define a new generation.  These artists were street poets whom believed in their talent so strongly that they convinced countless other people that their talent was worthy of being played on the radio & television, because after all, there really was no other means of getting your music heard by the masses back then.  If an artist wanted massive exposure, which would hopefully translate into large sums of money, these artists needed to have REAL TALENT & SKILL.  There was no way of getting around it.  Now understand, I’m in no way saying every artist that came up in the 90s was worthy.  We all have a general idea (or should) of who made a significant impact on hip hop back then…Dre, Snoop, Jay Z, Outkast, Biggie, Tupac, Wu-Tang, Master P, Cash Money, etc…the list could go on & on as it could for all the wack ass rappers who helped to define the 90s era as well unfortunately.  But regardless if an artist was phenomenal or wack as fuxx, artists back then had to put in real work to be heard, seen, & hopefully discovered because social media didn’t exist back then.  All we had was radio & television.  To get put on the radio or television, you HAD to have talent.  Now if that talent was worth listening to is another thing.

New School

Today, things have changed.  Some say change is good, which I agree with.  But some change just isn’t good if it removes the talent & skill factor.  Rappers of today no longer need to save up money to either start a legit recording studio or pay for studio time.  They no longer need to hit every local club or underground hip hop venue to build up a core fan base.  Rappers of today no longer need to develop a strong street team to help push their brand.  Rappers of today no longer need to have talent or skill.  Rappers of today simply need access to Facebook, YouTube, & some do-it-yourself mixing program they can download to their laptop.  They also need a spare bedroom, closet, or bathroom to turn into a booth.  Once they have all of these elements in place, they need to learn how to upload a file and BOOM….they are in business well on their way down the road to the riches & diamond rings…

I don’t know how many times I’ve logged onto Facebook, YouTube, or any other social networking site and seen countless links of artists posting links to their music begging people to check their work out.  I don’t know how many times I’ve investigated these artists to see if there is anything else out there to back up their claims of being a legit artist instead of someone just spamming my newsfeed with links to their SoundCloud account.  What I mean by investigate is, I’m referring to me googling these artists to see what else may exist.  Are they performing in local venues, do they have their own website up, is there any sign of a movement developing or taking place to support their claims of being a true hip hop artist versus just some guy who quickly recorded their rendition of Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse…

Kendrick’s Verse

This Lame Guy’s Version

 9 time out of 10 there is nothing.  So after this initial investigation, it is damn near safe for me say that there is no real concern for talent & skill being emphasized in their pursuit of becoming the next hip hop superstar.  I can also rest assured in knowing that the artists of today will never develop the energy to do what the artists of the 90s had to do to get put on.  Please believe me…that shit is never going to happen again.

Artists of today just want to hit the upload button and sit back and watch the LIKES start pouring in.  They want all the fame, money, & glory but don’t want to do any physical shit to earn it.  They don’t want to save their money & invest it wisely into their craft.  They just want to blow up off of social media.  They see people like Mac Miller who blew up using mainly social media but fail to realize Mac Miller put in some serious ground work similar to that of the 90s era artists before his name started making the rounds through social media.  Most artists of today just don’t want to work & then get pissed when what they are doing doesn’t work for them.  I feel that needs to be repeated in bold letters:

Most artists of today just don’t want to work & then get pissed when what they are doing doesn’t work for them.

Becoming the next superstar in the world of hip hop requires way more talent & skill than rapping over someone else’s beat, then hitting the upload button to your favorite social media site.  There is simply no way of getting around it.  Becoming the next superstar in hip hop requires a lot of time & money invested into the craft that most artists of today simply just don’t have enough faith in themselves to justify pursuing.  Facebook, YouTube, & whatever else is out there has promised these artists the world yet forgetting to mention that the world is not listening to them beyond their immediate circle of friends.  A lot of these artist have some talent, but they lack a lot of skill.  They lack the skill to harness the power of their talent and take it further because developing skill requires REAL WORK.  Today’s artists would rather focus on the talent factor & neglect the skill factor when in reality, they need to develop & eventually master both assets if they ever plan to have any real remote possibility of becoming the next superstar of hip hop.  But as long as YouTube & Facebook promises these artists the illusion of having a fan base of listeners whom are willing to click their links to hear their latest creation….then what incentive do these artists really have to step out of the virtual world & put their talents & skills to the test in the real world?

What are your thoughts on this new generation of recording artists who tend to think that if they can succeed in the online world, they can succeed in the real world?  Could it be that the very few artists who did come up off of social media have helped to create a false illusion of how to make it in the entertainment business?  Or is it that the entertainment business simply doesn’t care how it finds its next superstar & so this thought process is reflected in the minds of todays hip hop musicians?

Your favorite mulatto.


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