“….stop wishing for beats with plenty bass/ and lyrics said in haste, if this meaning doesn’t manifest/ put it to rest”…lyrics from “Poetry” by Boogie Down Productions (KRS-One) from the 1986 album “Criminal Minded”.
The debate of what real Hip-Hop music is and what it ain’t really may be a dead issue. Even if Hip-Hop music today were measured by some of its predecessors like RUN-DMC, L.L.Cool J, The Fresh Prince aka Will Smith (yeah I said it, ha!) Big Daddy Kane, The D.O.C., Rakim, KRS-One, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Ice Cube etc. as to what real Hip-Hop music is; it perhaps could still be considered an opinion.
Though I like the before mentioned, I also like Jay-Z, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Notoriouis B.I.G., Outkast, Mystikal, some of Juvenile, Lil’ Wayne, Jeezy, T.I., Ludacris, 50 Cent and Kanye West. Hip-Hop music like any other music could be considered just that, music, a form of expression. The reason perhaps why the negativity in our music gets more attention than any other may be by design.
There were more of a balance back in the early days of Hip-Hop. For every L.L. Cool J, you had a KRS-One, for every N.W.A., Too Short, Ice-T (Note: To be fair to the god, he did have relevant social/political commentary in his music) and 2 Live Crew you had a Public Enemy, X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers and Paris. But ever since the early to mid-90s, corporations switched gears on artists, and that began for big profit to be made only on the type of music we’re used to today.
Unfortunately this keeps people, particularly blacks and non-whites (though whites can be included in this as well), in a negative state of being (ignorant and degenerate) get taken advantage of by a greedy corporate industry and may go higher up, but we ain’t gon’ talk about that (ha, ha).
Maybe this is why there’s no real balance of quality music on the radio and TV. All of this is in the name of entertainment, more like ignortainment (ha). Also, the bottom line should be, if a record ain’t bangin’, it ain’t bangin’. MCs not only gotta’ come with nice lyrics and flows but come with bangin’ music too, though there are some exceptions.
Until then, simple simon, hook driven, pimp/thug/gangsta’/hustla’/ the “N” word, overly sexual, drug and violent records with fat beats and bass are going to rule (go dumb, ha, ha). Imitating and becoming a caricature of what once was, may not be the way to reclaim the throne.
Older MCs should have a far greater understanding of how to better represent this thing. And the younger generation of rappers perhaps could learn a thing or two as well.