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What Went Wrong With… Hip-Hop?

Parody of slave shackle with reference to contemporary Hip-Hop jewelry by What Went Wrong With

A movement which was once intended for the black working-class minority of America has now become the antithesis of it’s origins; white-owned and sold to the middle-class by speaking a new language catered to the promotion of luxury products such as fashion labels and jewellery. Hip Hop is now a vulgar caricature of itself created for and consumed by a generation who ignores it’s heritage and somehow stays blinded to the vapid and consumerist led monster that Rap has now become.

This is not to say that Rap and Hip Hop has always stayed the same since it’s conception. Hip Hop has always evolved with the times from it’s origins in block parties, break dancing and DJ’s in the late 70’s, to the social commentary in the 80’s. Even when abstract concepts such as blending martial arts with black culture like The Wu-Tang Clan or mixing Rap with Horror as the Gravediggaz proved In the early 90’s; the juxtaposition always complemented and acknowledged it’s roots. But we have now reached a time when if you look back at over a decade of Hip Hop all you see is watered down Disco-like electronically-created Muzak lacking any substance or variation.

Old-School Hip Hop fans are not blameless for this shift in tastes and culture. The more we bought Timbaland and Neptunes produced tracks, the more the record companies wanted this production to feature in their Pop acts. So inevitably if you write more and more zeros on a cheque the more there is the potential to sell out. But did we want Noreaga to have the same production as an ex-Micky Mouse Club, ex-N’Sync, hopefully ex-Actor Justin Timberlake? Hip Hop & Rock used to be distinguishable from Pop; If they all sound the same, then we have no genre distinctions, and the whole thing becomes a mishmash of collaborations between the highest bidder and the most greedy.

This genre-blending trend is not the only source of blame. Years of music journalism by middle class critics who only know Hip Hop from what they hear in the Pop charts have increasingly over-hyped and over-rated mediocre Rappers from Eminem to Lil Wayne. Contemporary Rappers who offer little in the way of lyrical diversity and poetic talent and pander to stereotypes ranging from trailer trash to wannabe-gangster-turned-good. These mediocre Rappers have somehow been raised to lyrical genius by the press and are regretfully mentioned in the same breath as the likes of KRS-One and Public Enemy. Music Journalists are quick to praise these afore mentioned so-called Rappers who have taken over the industry with easily repeatable lyrics and easily reproducible looks. What was Eminem but a white Chino XL-sounding-Wordsworth-wannabe? Journalists and Critics however would have you believe that he was some sort of Hip Hop Shakespeare, the same journalists and critics who would look dumbfounded if you mention Black Moon or Smoothe Da Hustler. When Hip Hop was in it’s golden age they were probably listening to Oasis or Blur in their car ride to School. What do they know about Hip Hop?

Don’t get me wrong, to misquote an old and contrived race-related adage; some of my favourite rappers are white. From underground Artists such as R.A. The Rugged Man, Vinnie Paz, Necro, to the never released Genovese, and all the way to the well known House Of Pain. If a Rapper has lyrical skills and stands out from the crowd; they are worthy of this genre regardless of skin colour.

So skin colour isn’t to blame, just a certain type of person; black or white but an inherently closed minded fan quick to follow trends. These people are the ones who purchase an album instead of stealing it from the internet, so why would the music industry not cater to their needs? They are it seems the only consumer left. And if they want lame kiddie-centric Hip Pop then why not make more of it? Supply and demand is how any business works and it is perceived that nobody wants to hear a Beatminerz track but will jump all over a Nicki Minaj joint remixed by David Guetta no matter how fake this new Bubblegum rap sounds to most of us with functioning ossicles. This is why we have a factory line set up to destroy any piece of art and morph it into a sellable product and Hip Hop in the classic sense was not easily mass-marketable or sellable to huge sections of society.

With every unconventional song such as Ras Kass “Nature Of The Threat”, a seven minute song about the history of racism, we could feel an A&R’s mind imploding from the mammoth task of pigeon holing such a song in order to promote it to the public at large. The task was possibly so impossible that the Album “Soul On Ice” never sold that well even though it contained lyrics that would fit into ten of today’s Hip Hop Albums.

Freedom of creativity seems to be over in Hip Hop, and just when we thought there was a glimmer of lyrical hope several years ago with Papoose; the lack of a studio album and the overly saturated mixtape production led him to be another potentially game changing Rapper that never was. Forever in the annals of Hip Hop history with the likes of Lord Have Mercy, Cuban Link, & Jaz-O always to be mentioned in an argument between real Hip Hop Heads about who could have been the greatest MC. It seems from a fan’s perspective almost conspiratorial the way talented Rappers never get a leg up whilst talentless hacks seem to flood the charts and award shows with their vacuous drivel.

When the public took the side of Nelly over Hip Hop legend KRS-One in their battle a few years back, we could all feel Real Hip Hop die a little. Decisions like this is what spelled the death for talented Rappers. It seemed that fans of Hip Hop preferred a shirtless gold toothed rap singer to a Godfather of Hip Hop. It seemed we prefer raps about objectifying women and material goods to lyrical prowess. If fans once laughed at Masta Ace’s “I’d rather listen to a Lil Wayne, Lil Zane Duet” line, today they’d probably cheer this meeting of mediocrity. In truth it’s not just Lil Wayne’s fault, if you set a standard that’s sub par then nobody wants to over achieve as long as the money keeps rolling in. And as long as these Rappers rap about money it seems they make more of it. Cars and jewellery have become the lyrical topic of the majority of Rap acts who are blind to the fact that if you make money for a white record company, using a black art-form intended for creating freedom from an oppressive and institutionally racist society you are the modern equivalent of a slave it doesn’t matter if you own the “Biggest Chain” or the “Fattest Whip”. Slang in Hip Hop it seems has a sense of irony.

Gone are Hip Hop names such as Sadat X and Lord Jamar. Afro-Islamic names are being replaced by names like Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz which only reinforces this brand-obsessed culture and ignores any progress ethnic minorities made in history. Rappers and so-called Hip Hop fans now prefer Martin Margiela to Martin Luther King.

BET is now the most misleading and contradictory Brand Name of all. From watching “106 & Park” it is apparent that apart from the odd mention of Trayvon Martin recently, the whole show is so pointlessly varied that it might as well be on another channel. If I want an interview with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill I’ll watch E! Or MTV. And what part of listening to Robin Thicke is considered “Black Entertainment”? (Except maybe for Paula Patton).

Point blank fuck everybody who keeps perpetuating this genre hijacking, I’d rather watch bootleg copies of Yo! MTV Raps.

So, what went wrong with Hip Hop? We did. The fans sold out the genre they once loved, and in turn now regret what it has become. Ultimately it was the Rappers that killed Hip Hop but the fans just blindly followed and were complacent in it’s slaughter.

People; bottom line stop buying, listening, or watching this fake shit.

If you can afford it, support Real Hip Hop by purchasing the songs and albums.

If you really want to listen to Hip Pop there are plenty of places on the internet to get it for free. That’ll send a message to the music industry; money is the only thing they listen to.

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Categories: Artwork, Music

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14 replies »

  1. Be wary of the online community of anonymous revisionist svengalis who think they can mentor & coach rappers…

    Check this out .Take note of the bloggers responses in the comments..

    The link is in my signature

    • I hate yes men. People like this write garbage perpetuating Pop Culture lies, and everybody buys into it. Then when you call these people out on it, they come at you with the same bullshit defence:

      A) You’re a Hater
      B) Why are you taking it so personally/you don’t even know them

      Every time they come back with this type of reply, we could just as easily say to them:

      A) You’re an ass-kisser
      B) Why are you promoting someone even though you don’t personally know them

      I’ve had this identical reply from these boot-licking fakes on many articles. I guess it’s okay to perpetuate ignorance, but God forbid you knock their false idols.

      With regards to that article specifically, you’re right – Dr. Dre is no maverick. And I would add that everybody he’s responsible for is the worst example of Hip-Pop:-
      What Went Wrong With… Eminem
      What Went Wrong With… Kendrick Lamar
      What Went Wrong With… 50 Cent
      What Went Wrong With… Dr. Dre

      People should read the article in your signature (or below), it’s almost laughable when Dre says “I listen to the wack shit more, so I know what not to do. The stuff that’s not selling.” but ever since he’s been making music; surely it’s the wack shit that’s been selling more. The best Hip-Hop has always been underground, and Dre has NEVER been associated with, signed anybody from, or produced anything underground.

      http://rappingmanual.com/3-success-rules-from-dr-dre/

  2. Excellent article detailing everything wrong with mainstream hip hop. I would blame the media and music critics. They have told the public what to buy. They have promoted the crap on music channels and the radio. Say what you want about the late 90s, but mainstream hip hop was much better then than it is now. We now have Future, Migos, Young Thug. Shitty rappers who spit nonsense about money, bitches, jewelry while heavily using autotune. The Atlanta Hip Hop scene is the worst music scene today. It is the reason why Drake is overrated by everyone.

    I love what you said about the music critics. Pitchfork and Rolling Stone are least reliable when it comes to reviewing hip hop albums. These so called “critics” are racist white hipsters who hype up any rapper who conforms to stereotypes. Rolling Stone, in particular, spew nothing but bullshit. 4 years ago, they made a list to crown the “King of Hip Hop”. As you would expect, it is super questionable. Who did they crown as the King of Hip Hop? Eminem. The same guy who made that piece of shit album called Relapse. I’m not saying he is shit, but there are rappers who are better than him. What’s even worse is who else made on the list. Lil Wayne at number 2? Drake is third? Wake Flocka Flame? Seriously? What the Fuck? I never took them seriously again after this bullshit.
    I guess it’s true after all. Hip Hop is turning into Dances with Wolves. The media is promoting the garbage, ruining the genre. So when a white rapper comes along, they will hype him up as if they are “saving” hip hop. It doesn’t matter what skills they have. This is what they are currently doing with Eminem. The “King of Hip Hop” list is proof of this. The media is desperately trying to create a white saviour because they can’t stand the fact that it is still a predominantly black genre. Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, music channels, and radio stations can all fuck off.

    Here is the link.

    http://www.killerhiphop.com/rolling-stone-magazine-introduced-eminem-as-king-of-hip-hop/

    • that link is bullshit!!!!! if popularity made someone the king of hip-hop, mc hammer would be the king back in 90/91.

      fuck rolling stone and all those wigger stans!!!

  3. I love these articles!!! “Hip Hop” or should I say “Hip Pop” (a better description!!!) is a favorite of my family and co-workers who love this garbage and are surprised I don’t (it’s true, all Black people aren’t the same) It’s so without an ounce of soul or talent just materialistic idiots “rap/singing” over boring sleepy beats, and a repeated meaningless, annoying chorus’!!!! How long can you go on about smoking weed, strippers, overpriced alcohol, cars, and money? Now to be old school did deal with themes of money and cars but this modern shit is a new low!!! The corporate bosses own “rap” now (thanks Jay- Z and P-Dummy I mean P-Diddy!) and the sad part is it’s right in the open and no wants to see it. It’s the fear of missing out if you dare to stand out.

  4. Sometimes I wonder if the hip hop figure heads in the mainstream are just a new form of cia/fbi cointel programs designed to propel a certain agenda (dumbing down) in the music. eg Puff Diddly (being the coon godfather selling out biggie for his own rise to fame and power), and the overall tone of the genre these days etc Propped up by the corporate elite to also maintain a level of retardation to the unconcious listener…

    As they can control the narrative of what is deemed to be popular and what hits TV or the airwaves on radio etc, working with the best beat producers (doing anything to get a break and make a name for themselves) and street teams to curate what they think the people want.

    Resulting in fame hungry artists like Desiinger who clearly has issues stringing two legible words or sentences together. So long as the beat is “LIT” and the ascribed jester/puppet can generate hype to dumbed down listeners.

    • I’ve always thought this – similar to transforming the Folk movement into the CIA-planted Hippie movement, surely they’d be doing the same thing today. The other thing I’d add is that since the government would want to control as many people as possible, they’d also have to infiltrate the underground too – which is why I have my suspicions about The Underachievers, Flatbush Zombies etc. whose whole psychedelic, LSD, “third eye” alternative (also very similar to the Hippies) seems slightly contrived and designed to appeal not only to Hip-Hop but political sub-cultures. But who knows?

  5. Why would the powers that be have to infiltrate underground hip hop ? It doesn’t generate enough money , interest , publicity or social media buzz to garner their concern . There aren’t very many underground fans in comparison to mainstream fans . R.A. The Rugged Man said back in 1994 on “Every Record Label Sucks Dick” that only 50,000 heads are true to real hip hop . His guess at the time was probably fairly accurate . Now in the social media age there could be 5 to 10 million true heads worldwide . 5 to 10 million who “Know The Ledge” . Who know the rich history and tradition of hip hop . The world’s population is 7.33 billion people .

    I find that once a rapper sells out that they turn their backs on the underground , for the most part . Maybe they will do a feature or chorus or maybe some production for an old pal once in a blue moon . On one track on their old pal’s latest release .

    Eminem , Busta Rhymes , Method Man , Red Man , RZA , Snoop Dogg , Xzibit , Ja Rule , 50 Cent , Nelly , Kanye West , Jay-Z , DMX , Ludacris , Juicy J , Andre 3000 , Will.i.am , Big Boi , Black Thought , Kendrick Lamar , Schoolboy Q , Ab-Soul , Macklemore , J. Cole , Kid Cudi , Frank Ocean , Pusha T , Mac Miller , Big Sean & Quest Love were all underground artists at one point .

    Now I consider all of them to be huge sell outs & mainstream puppets .

    Look at the Wikipedia article for The Roots :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Roots

    Look at some of the talented former members of the group . Most of whom are now working in underground hip hop . Dice Raw , Malik B. , Rahzel & Scratch . Even Scott Storch was a talented guy back in the 90’s .

    • You have to ask yourself if you were an intelligence agency would you merely control the obvious mainstream output or would you also want control over the underground? The underground is after all where the themes, topics, and styles originate, if you can nip any dissidence or counter culture in the bud before it goes mainstream wouldn’t that benefit you?

      The hippies by the way included people like Jim Morrison of The Doors, but when you look at who his father was you realise that he was probably a plant or infiltrator. The military’s influence is well documented in the hippie movement and in Hip-Hop you have ex-Army Ice-T, ex-Marine Bambu, and even Canibus joined up after 9/11 then conveniently got discharged (he also worked for the Department of Justice) – it’s exactly these types of people who have influence over the underground and it’s possible that they’re intelligence agency plants. No proof, but there has to be a modern equivalent of Laurel Canyon/Lookout Mountain Laboratory since Hip-Hop is the 21st century’s version of potential anti-government sentiment.

  6. Bambu & Canibus are at too low of levels of popularity , even in the underground , to influence things in any major way . Dizaster ( who beat Canibus in the infamous K.O.T.D. rap battle in June 2012 ) has a much bigger audience . So does any other major battle rapper in K.O.T.D. , U.R.L. , Got Beef ? , Grind Time Now or Don’t Flop ! . Arsonal Da Rebel , DNA , Charlie Clips , K-Shine , Conceited , Hitman Holla , T-Rex , Tsu Surf , Aye Verb , Calicoe , Tay Roc , Hollow Da Don , John John Da Don , Daylyt & Shotty Horroh have even bigger audiences than Dizaster .

    Canibus was very briefly was a low-level telecommunications worker or labourer when he was 19 to 21 years old . He may have been a contracted labourer to a D.O.J. project . As you said , he joined the American Army after 9/11 . He joined in December 2002 & was dishonorably discharged less than 18 months later after getting caught smoking marijuana . I don’t even know if he was in the Army full-time because he was able to work on several projects while enlisted . He may have been an Army reservist .

    Jay-Z , Kanye West , Eminem , Drake , Kendrick Lamar , Ice Cube , J. Cole , Common , Lil’ Wayne , Nicki Minaj & Dr. Dre are followed by billions of people .

    Things Canibus said on his last studio album , “Time Flies , Life Dies , Phoenix Rise …” , are not in accordance with what the major artists I mentioned above promote . Ill Bill’s “Septagram” wasn’t mainstream at all . Razzy’s tone on “Intellectual Property” is not a mainstream one .

    A hidden gem from this year is “Divine Tyrant” by underground North Carolinian emcee Danegurous . He has some very heartfelt & real tracks on that album . Danegurous has worked with Diabolic , Apathy , Canibus , JuJu Mob , Block McCloud , Anno Domini Beats , The White Shadow Of Norway , DJ TMB , Junior Makhno , Snow Goons , The Savage Brothers , Sean Strange , Beast1333 , Killah Priest , Afu-Ra , A.O.T.P. & The Lost Children Of Babylon as well as hundreds of other underground rappers & producers . He has his albums for sale on his Band Camp . The tracks “Karma King” , “Psychosomatic” , “Street Scholar” , “Head Trip” , “March 9th” , “Anxiety Attack” , “I Remember” , “Not The Same” , “Liver Damage” & “All Dogs Go To Heaven” are quite good .

    https://danegurous.bandcamp.com/album/divine-tyrant

    I didn’t like the fact that Ras Kass paid RZA for a horrible chorus / hook & shout out . I have nothing against Bun B. but the track with him on it was very poorly produced . It bugged me that he shouted out Eminem on one of the tracks . The rest of the album was much better .

    In other news I found out that Eminem secretly wrote an extremely racist rap verse back in 1988 when he was a high school kid .

    Here it is :

    “When, long ago, the gods created Earth
    In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
    The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
    Yet they were too remote from humankind.
    To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
    Thee Olympian Hosts conceived a clever plan.
    A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
    Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Ni**er. ”

    I’m joking . I know that sounds like Eminem wrote it . It was actually penned in 1912 by the old , dead bigot H.P. Lovecraft . Lovecraft was the founder of The Cthulhu Mythos & a very prominent & influential figure in the literary genres of science fiction , fantasy & horror . He died in Providence , Rhode Island , U.S.A. in 1937 from small bowel cancer at the age of 46 .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/On_the_Creation_of_Niggers

    That was my attempt at humour . I would say that “Foolish Pride” & Lovecraft’s short poem are equally racist , though .

    K-Rino is dropping 7 studio albums all in one day in the next month . Now that is something to look forward to .

    Vinnie Paz is dropping a studio album called “The Cornerstone Of The Corner Store” on the 28th of this month . He has production by Oh No , Buckwild of Diggin’ In The Crates , C-Lance , 7L & Esoteric , Psycho Les Of The Beat Nuts , Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind , J-Zone , Teddy Roxpin & DJ Eclipse (formerly of Non Phixion) . He has features from Eamon , Demoz , Conway The Machine , Ransom , Ghostface Killah , Tha Connection , A.G. , O.C. , Jakk Frost , Ras Kass , Malik B. (formerly of The Roots) & Agallah .

    I don’t think that the C.I.A. or F.B.I. or The American Military have K-Rino , Vinnie Paz , Ras Kass or Danegurous working for them as secret double agents .

    • I think you’re missing the point. When you say “Things Canibus said on his last studio album… are not in accordance with what the major artists I mentioned above promote” or “Razzy’s tone on “Intellectual Property” is not a mainstream one” that’s the whole point – why would an intelligence agency promote the same agenda to both sides? The mainstream has a certain audience and the underground has another, they appeal to completely different demographics so the influencing of them would also be entirely different.

      That being said, I have to point out that I’m not saying unequivocally that ANY of the people I mentioned above are infiltrating Hip-Hop – I have no proof. The point I’m making is that most people think the underground is filled with people from the “street” but there’s numerous underground rappers that have served in the military. Serving in the military or working for the government is the antithesis of 80s or early 90s Hip-Hop – back then Hip-Hop was an obvious left-wing, anti-establishment genre. If the powers that be affected Hip-Hop it would have to have been from the golden era onward and that’s possible.

      Over the early 90s, this political artform was changed into a mainstream/money-centric genre (no proof that the CIA did this or it happened organically) but if it was influenced/infiltrated by intelligence agencies they did a good job. It’s been documented that the same thing was done to the Black Panthers, they were a left-wing, anti-government organisation and with a few bags of cocaine they were infiltrated and that directly led to the bloods and crips. So now you don’t have any black militants (at least not Black Panthers) in Oakland, Los Angeles etc. but you do have gangs and drugs.

      Surely they’d want to do the same thing with Hip-Hop since in the 80s it was slowly becoming an anti-mainstream, political force? To top groups like Public Enemy, Gangsta Rap was pushed (conveniently from the same CIA created Bloods and Crips) – this then usurped a gentle left-wing movement by groups like N.W.A. and rappers like Ice-T. Ice-T like I said was in the military, N.W.A. was created and funded by gang profits, so both have tenuous connections with the C.I.A. Then over the coming years, N.W.A. went from “Fuck The Police” to Eazy-E supporting the Republicans and Dr. Dre supporting the War On Terror, that’s either selling out or trying to transform Hip-Hop from left-wing to right-wing. Hip-Hop is fast becoming a right-wing artform, dead prez was the last group I remember to mention socialism, rappers these days don’t care about their community or even their race, they’re in a mad dash to get cash, make a few political friends, sell or promote products, avoid social commentary except for obvious bullshit (Kendrick Lamar) and in turn influence the masses.

      Now that’s obvious to everyone, pretty much everybody can see the change in mainstream Hip-Hop, the problem is the underground. The underground if left unchecked could potentially grow and overthrow the mainstream, so surely a separate agenda for that audience has to also be put into place. So contemporary underground Hip-Hop pushes certain ideas… either get high on mind-altering drugs and ignore the real world (Flatbush Zombies) keep battling amongst each other and ignore the real world (Dizaster) focus aesthetically on the past and ignore the real world (Joey Bada$$) and if all that fails, go all out and become right-wing and pro-war (Canibus). I’m not saying these rappers are plants or that their music is bad, the whole point is that it’s catchy and influential despite their small number of fans – but you have to agree that nobody is really speaking about relevant issues like Public Enemy did in 1990, Ras Kass did in 1996, or dead prez did in 2001.

      Like I said all of this is coincidence but it’s weird that with all the unjust wars, all the police brutality, all the xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia on the rise – why is there so little commentary on all these issues from Hip-Hop – mainstream and underground? Seems suspicious to me.

  7. Canibus went through a phase in 2001 & 2002 where he was pro-military . After he was dishonorably discharged in 2004 he got more into conspiracy theory rap .

    I still think Immortal Technique is a legitimate political rapper . He hasn’t released an album in over 5 years , though . Sometimes it bugs me because he claims to be a democratic socialist or even a revolutionary socialist & he has a net worth of $3 million U.S. . You can’t fault him , though . Viper Records & his music is successful . I’m sure he gives to charity & is a mentor for hip hop culture .

    Hasan Salaam is signed to Viper Records . He has done some good stuff . Akala , Akir , Lowkey , Diabolic , Adil Omar , Blak Madeen , K-Rino , Boots Riley / The Coup , Sabac Red , Riviera Regime , Red Cloud , 2nd Born Son , Illus , Ras Kass , Talib Kweli (although , I don’t always agree with his positions) , Natural Born Spitters / N.B.S. , Mysonne , Prince Ea , Jasiri X , M.K. Asante & Emcee Lynx all have political subject matter .

    I don’t think any American government agency has interest in their music . The only exceptions might be Immortal Technique & Talib Kweli because of their popularity .

  8. Hip-Hop was a cultural movement being played at park jams and parties; dancing, breaking; graffitti (late 70s early 80s) before the music industry was even involved in it. It was compromised from the beginning and once the DJ and the other cultural elements were ignored (Sugar Hill Records fiasco ring a BELL!!) the MC would be the next to go when he could be branded for commercial/consumption purposes in the 90s. Interesting to note the street wear of street culture such as Adidas sneakers, Polo’s shirts, St Ides liquor among other things were early marketing product tests that rappers supported, that really was not benefit by the consumer. (People are in prison for robbing of such so called “luxury” product!!). This was the entry way for the corporate takeover once rap sales were supported by white audiences and product placing/branding helped to create a win/win for the rapper/corporate executives. Granted, rappers at that time were teenagers and in their early twenties and most likely were just happy to make money and have the platform. But where were the old school black promoters and music tastemakers who neglected rap and were not dropping knowledge about the music industry. It was sad to see acts like Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest be taken to task for the creative output and getting little money from it and having their legacy marginalized for different reasons!!! There was a brief period in the mid 80s to early 90s where rap had a more diverse sound and subject matter that originated the from the streets. To be clear, rap music with heavy social commentary and political views is by definition harder to promote and sell. It requires a level of investment by the rap consumer/listener to engage in the content and message, understand the broader issues that created it, and enjoy the production. It was obvious when you trace the history that rap would lose that messaging once more readily accessible content (drugs, money, sex, violence, etc.) that requires little intellectual engagement is overcome by subject matter that engages the emotions and feelings can not only sell records, but create brands out of rappers image and likeness.

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