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What Went Wrong With… Hip-Hop And Rap? (A Timeline)

An illustration of a timeline featuring caricatures of rappers and producers who have destroyed Hip-Hop. By What Went Wrong With

It gets tiring trying to defend Hip-Hop music, especially when the contemporary image is that of misogyny and money. Every time you bring up reasons why Hip-Hop is great, the majority of people don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. The only Hip-Hop they’re aware of is the bullshit that gets aired on mainstream radio and television.

What’s funny is, that when you bring up “real” rappers in an argument; more often than not the artists themselves have since disappeared off the face of the map. The media, The Labels, and all the sell-out Rappers it seems, have done a great job of transforming an underground art-form from credible to incredibly crap. Mention Hip-Hop these days, and instead of thinking about graffiti, block parties, two turntables, and a microphone; people think about diamonds, champagne, strippers, and chrome rims.

So where did it all go wrong? Who was to blame? Let’s start in the nineties, a time that most people refer to as the “Golden Era of Hip-Hop”. But go through the years and you will realise that even during this time, seeds were planted, bad decisions were made, and sell-outs would emerge that would later destroy Hip-Hop as we know it…

1990

Many classic Hip-Hop albums were released this year including LP’s from Eric B & Rakim, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, and Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth.

In this classic year, Public Enemy released “Fear Of A Black Planet”. This album made the mainstream notice Political Hip-Hop with tracks like “Fight The Power”.

Ice Cube released “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” which included commentary on sell-outs, Police brutality, riots, and ghetto life. Despite the album having socio-political commentary, the mainstream media labels Ice Cube and his album as “Gangsta Rap”. Rolling Stone magazine gives the album 2.5 stars out of 5.

A Tribe Called Quest release “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” and even though it was non-violent, non-political, and completely accessible, it does not become a huge hit. Rolling Stone gives the album 3 stars.

Amidst all these great releases, MC Hammer’s “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em” and Vanilla Ice’s “To The Extreme” would become Number 1 albums. They were the most popular Hip-Hop albums of the year.

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1991

Main Source release the classic album “Breaking Atoms”. Hype Williams would direct Main Source’s “Just Hangin Out” video with a street-style aesthetic using real locations and no sets. He would continue to use this style for five years.

1992

Pete Rock & CL Smooth release the classic “Mecca And The Soul Brother”, Gang Starr release “Daily Operation”, and Showbiz & AG release “Runaway Slave”.

Despite these classic albums dropping in this year, it is Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” that goes multi-platinum, with its 4.5 stars from Rolling Stone and misogynistic and gangsta-inspired lyrics.

The biggest selling Hip-Hop single was Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” which began to tie a certain image of women with the Hip-Hop genre.

The Source’s Unsigned Hype column features a rapper called Biggie Smalls and showcases his Demo Tape. Tracks like “Microphone Murderer” and “Guaranteed Raw” showed his original raw style.

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1993

Black Moon drops the classic “Enta Da Stage” but Rolling Stone magazine only gives it 3 stars. Wu-Tang Clan release “36 Chambers” and almost everybody recognises it as flawless. Rolling Stone magazine however, only gives it 4 stars.

The success of Dr. Dre‘s “The Chronic” a year earlier paves the way for Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “Doggystyle” which goes multi-platinum and is the biggest selling Hip-Hop album of the year. It contains many sexist and misogynistic lyrics, and the overall tone of the album helped trivialise the genre.

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1994

Nas’ “Illmatic” is released. The album is an instant classic but only goes gold. Smif-N-Wessun release the album “Dah Shinin” but it only sells 300,000 copies. Dr. Dre‘s stepbrother on the other hand; Warren G releases “Regulate: The G-Funk Era” and it is certified 4x platinum.

Notorious Big’s “Ready To Die” drops and despite Biggie’s original style as shown in his Demo two years earlier, he begins rapping about champagne and clothing labels. Puff Daddy and Bad Boy creates an image of a mafioso-esque “Gangsta” for Biggie. Commercialised songs like “Big Poppa” & “One More Chance” were encouraged by Puff Daddy to be singles. The album contained samples from 80’s Pop music and also incorporated R&B hooks; both elements began to create a radio-friendly persona for the genre.

With Puff Daddy‘s re-branding of Biggie Smalls, true Hip-Hop like Jeru The Damaja’s “The Sun Rises In The East”, Gravediggaz’ “Niggamortis”, The Fu-Schnicken’s “Nervous Breakdown”, Gang Starr’s “Hard To Earn” and even Method Man’s “Tical” would be forgotten by the mainstream media this year.

The ignorance of mainstream magazines like Rolling Stone were now extremely obvious, especially when they wrote “(Ready To Die) almost single-handedly… shifted the focus back to East Coast rap” like Boot Camp Clik and the Wu-Tang never existed in 1993.

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1995

Das Efx release “Hold It Down” and it was a great album, Mobb Deep release “The Infamous” and it was an instant classic, Gza releases “Liquid Swords” and it was a perfect album. Raekwon releases “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx”, although slowly; even the Wu-Tang Clan began to infuse their solo albums with Mafioso-style content on the back of Notorious Big’s success. The Wu begin to use their “Gambino” alter-ego names like Bobby Steels, Rollie Fingers, Lucky Hands, and Cappachino. The emergence of Mafia-Hop would firmly align Hip-Hop with Gangster Films but inadvertently it would also equate Hip-Hop with falseness; after all when is the last time you saw a real-life black Crime Boss? The whole look and style began to make Hip-Hop look as fictitious as a Hollywood movie.

KRS One releases his self-titled album. Despite it containing classic tracks and being played extensively on underground and pirate radio, it is ignored by the mainstream. Rolling Stone gives it 3 stars.

Smoothe Da Hustler & Trigger Tha Gambler’s “Broken Language” becomes an underground success with its clever back-and-forth wordplay and no chorus.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s album “E. 1999 Eternal” becomes the biggest selling Hip-Hop album of the year and begins to popularise Midwest Hip-Hop. It includes more of an R&B-style than their previous release, and the melodic rapping begins the amalgamation of the two genres. Despite the inclusion of underground themes and styles including Horrorcore, it is soft R&B tracks like “Crossroads” which bring the group the most success.

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1996

Heltah Skeltah release “Nocturnal”, Mobb Deep release “Hell On Earth”, Smoothe Da Hustler releases “Once Upon A Time In America”, Lost Boyz release “Legal Drug Money”, and Heather B releases “Takin Mine”. Despite these classic Hip-Hop albums, it was commercial albums like The Fugees’ “The Score” and Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” that would be remembered by the media.

Jay-Z was yet another rapper who began to popularise the “Mafioso/Player” image in Hip-Hop. Up-scale clothing brands would be mentioned in these mainstream records. Even Nas would wear a pink suit and pretend to be a “Gangster” in a video to “Street Dreams” for his disappointing follow-up to Illmatic; “It Was Written”. The video was a pastiche of Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” and further bolstered the idea that rappers were essentially actors.

Artists like Originoo Gunn Clappaz would diss the “player/pimp” image in tracks like “No Fear”, but the mainstream took no notice. They were busy making Lil Kim’s “Hard Core” a success, which in turn would plant a seed for the objectification of women in the genre, even though in the same year strong female rappers like Heather B and Bahamadia were present.

This was the year that Ras Kass released “Soul On Ice” which contained the seven and a half minute history-of-racism track “Nature Of The Threat”. It was ignored by the mainstream media. This was also the year that Chino XL released “Here To Save You All” which mocked the commercialisation of Hip-Hop at the time. His high vocal tone, complicated rap style, and controversial celebrity-name-dropping would be ignored by the media.

Xzibit would release “At The Speed Of Life” and he would comment on the state of commercialised Hip-Hop and sell-out rappers in tracks like “Paparazzi”.

Despite this year being crammed with so much credible Hip-Hop, this was yet another time when a lame album would become the most popular. Master P‘s “Ice Cream Man” would begin the No-Limit-era of Hip-Hop. It contained singing hooks, an ultra-dumbed-down flow, and music videos with cheap-looking gold-grillz, cars, and rims. It was certified Platinum.

Hype Williams would begin to use Fish-Eye Lenses and bright sets in almost all his music videos. The first would be Busta Rhymes’ “Woo Hah”.

On September 7th, Tupac Shakur is shot by an unknown gunman whilst in a car with Suge Knight in Las Vegas. He later dies on the 13th September. The crime remains unsolved even though Yaki Kadafi (of The Outlawz) who was in a car directly behind Tupac, said he could identify the shooter. On November 10th, Yaki Kadafi is shot in the head and is found dead in the stairwell of an apartment building.

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1997

Camp Lo release “Uptown Staurday Night”, Capone-N-Noreaga (with help from Tragedy Khadafi) release “The War Report”, and Royal Flush releases “Ghetto Millionaire”. KRS One releases “I Got Next” and despite it containing underground hits like “Come To Da Party”, “Blowe”, and “Step Into A World”, magazines like Rolling Stone only give it 3 stars.

Instead albums like Ma$e’s “Harlem World” become a huge success (fresh from Murda Mase’s name change courtesy of Puffy and Bad Boy). “Harlem World” features production from Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes. This marks a change from using short analogue samples from a vinyl source, and the start of synthesised sounds in Hip-Hop. Missy’s “Supa Dupa Fly” along with Timbaland‘s synthesised and R&B influenced production becomes a huge hit. These albums would also continue the blending of R&B with Hip-Hop. This songs would be accompanied by yet more shiny-suit wearing, fish-eye videos courtesy of Hype Williams.

Cormega is dropped from the original line-up of the Firm, who release “The Album” with production from Dr. Dre.

Cormega begins recording the album “Testament” for Def Jam Records. Trigger Tha Gambler plans to release the album “Life’s A 50/50 Gamble” for Def Jam. The dates of these albums keep being pushed back.

Tonedeff would release “The Monotone EP” with humorous lyrics mixed with complex rhyme schemes. The album would be ignored by the media.

On March 9th, Notorious Big is shot to death by an unknown gunman. The death is exploited by the media to demonize violent lyrics and hardcore Hip-Hop. The crime remains unsolved.

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1998

DMX releases “It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot” and it becomes a success despite it containing dark themes. Even though the majority of the album was produced by Dame Grease, the album would be remembered more for Swizz Beats’ electronic synthesised production on “Ruff Ryders Anthem”. DMX would start a trend within the genre for lyricism to take a back-seat to the production.

Big Punisher releases “Capital Punishment”, however tracks like “You Ain’t A Killer” and “The Dream Shatterer” are overshadowed by the commercial singles like “I’m Not A Player” and “Still Not A Player”.

Under the influence of Puff Daddy, The Warlox change their name to The LOX and release “Money, Power & Respect”. Despite their lyrical ability, the album and the group was another attempt by Puffy and Bad Boy to push the “radio-friendly” agenda.

With Capone in prison, Noreaga releases his solo album “N.O.R.E.”. It is remembered for The Neptunes’ produced “Superthug”, a club-friendly and radio-friendly track.

The album containing the most credible lyrics and the most skilled delivery was Killah Priest’s “Heavy Mental” which despite it’s non-mainstream content charted in the Billboard 200. This proved there was a market for Hip-Hop which was not necessarily “radio-friendly”.

Despite promotion for Cormega’s album, “Testament” becomes shelved. Trigger Tha Gambler’s “Life’s A 50/50 Gamble” also becomes shelved.

Lord Have Mercy begins releasing promo singles for his album “Tha Ungodly Hour”

Jay-Z‘s “Vol. 2: Hardknock Life” becomes a mainstream success, thanks largely to the commercial single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”. It features a chorus containing a sample from the Broadway play “Annie”, which aligns Hip-Hop with middle-class and upper-class pastimes such as theatre. It also makes ghetto-life look and sound as superficial as a Musical.

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1999

Eminem releases “The Slim Shady LP”. His high vocal tone, complicated rap style, and controversial celebrity-name-dropping would be lauded by the media; despite Chino XL doing exactly the same three years earlier. His cartoonish style and Pop-friendly aesthetic helps to trivialise Hip-Hop whilst simultaneously attracting a larger white audience.

Lil Wayne releases “The Block Is Hot” and The Hot Boy$ release “Guerilla Warfare”. Pen & Pixel would become known for creating tacky and gaudy album covers for No-Limit and other Southern-State Rap Artists. B.G., Hot Boy$, & Big Tymers release the single “Bling Bling” which not only popularises the term “bling”, but forever ties in the idea of jewellery and decadence with Hip-Hop.

Jay-Z releases Vol. 3… “Life and Times of S. Carter” with the majority of production from Timbaland and Swizz Beats.

This year the Papoose track “Alphabetical Slaughter” and the Blackalicious’ track “Alphabetic Aerobics” are released. Despite being the most lyrical tracks of the year, they are ignored.

Lord Have Mercy’s album gets pushed back.

Napster a peer-to-peer file sharing services for sharing mp3 files is launched.

On February 15th Big L is shot and killed. Although someone was initially arrested for the murder, they were released and the crime remains unsolved. On March 29th, Freaky Tah of The Lost Boyz is shot and killed. In April, P Diddy is charged with weapons violations following the Club New York incident along with Shyne and others. The media uses the incident to add credibility to P Diddy‘s image (although he would be found not guilty of all charges following a court case that would send Shyne to prison for ten years).

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2000

Screwball release the hard-as-nails “Y2K”. Jedi Mind Tricks release the instant-classic “Violent By Design”. Dead Prez would release the super-political “Let’s Get Free”. Instead of acknowledging these classic albums for their importance in Hip-Hop, the media largely ignores them. “Y2K”, “Violent By Design”, and “Let’s Get Free” don’t sell well and instead people choose to purchase Nelly’s “Country Grammar” and Ludacris’ “Back For The First Time”. This would mark the beginnings of the Midwest and Southern takeover of the genre, and also helped the continuation of blending R&B with Hip-Hop.

Eminem releases “The Marshall Mathers LP” containing humorous lyrics mixed with complex rhyme schemes. This would become Eminem’s trademark despite Tonedeff doing exactly the same three years earlier. Rolling Stone gives it 5 stars.

Lord Have Mercy’s album gets shelved indefinitely.

Napster becomes the only place to download tracks and albums from artists who have been shelved by the mainstream Music Labels. Tracks from Trigger Tha Gambler, Cormega, and Lord Have Mercy (to name but a few) appear on Napster despite their albums being unreleased.

Underground acts like Black Opz release their album “First Strike” on MP3.com. The website is one of the first ways that independent artists could release their material by uploading tracks to the site.

MTV begins airing the show “Cribs” which focuses on the materialistic side of celebrity and fame.

On February 7th, Big Punisher dies from a heart attack and respiratory failure.

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2001

Immortal Technique releases “Revolutionary Vol. 1” which features an amazing narrative driven track “Dance With The Devil”. It has tremendous storytelling, great lyricism and even features a twist ending. The mainstream however, were busy plugging Ludacris’ “Word Of Mouf” and Ja Rule’s “Pain Is Love”.

Napster is forced to close due to copyright issues. Mainstream music remains unaffected by this closure but all shelved albums and unreleased material is now further hushed. It is now illegal to download unreleased albums, even though (quite ironically) they are impossible to officially buy. Labels begin to sign artists who are tried and tested or who are copies of already popular performers. Artists who are dropped from major labels and other unsigned acts begin to release free mixtapes of their songs whereas signed artists remain profitable. Money therefore becomes a focus in overground Hip-Hop music.

On May 11th Marlon Brando of group Sporty Thievz is killed by a car as it swerves onto the sidewalk. Even though it later transpires that Marlon saved a child’s life by pushing him out of the way, the media do not mention a tale of heroism in Hip-Hop. Then in July 15th Poetic of the group Gravediggaz dies from colon cancer. The media again does not mention it, probably because it cannot exploit disease the same way that they exploited gun crime.

2002

After 9/11 many rappers make songs which outline their non-populist viewpoints. Social commentary was always an integral part of Hip-Hop, as groups like Public Enemy showed over a decade earlier. The new breed of Political Rappers however, are hushed by the corrupt mainstream media and subsequently all forms of Political Rap is suppressed. Artists like Immortal Technique, Mr. Lif, Dead Prez, and Paris, are relegated to the underground.

Eminem releases “The Eminem Show” and becomes the most popular Hip-Hop album of the year.

Nelly releases “Nellyville” which features the Pop singer Justin Timberlake. Justin Timbelake releases “Justified”, and thanks to Timbaland and the Neptunes‘ production, Pop music begins sounding like the R&B and Hip-Hop amalgamation of the day. Thanks to once credible rappers like Redman, who this year features on the lame Christina Aguilera song “Dirrty”, the mainstream media begin to mention Pop artists in the same sentences as Hip-Hop artists. The convergence of the two genres create an “acceptable” version of Rap that would be referred to as Hip-Pop by real Hip-Hop fans.

On October 30th, Jam Master Jay from Run DMC is shot and killed.

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2003

Immortal Technique releases “Revolutionary Vol. 2” which features more social and political commentary. It is ignored by the mainstream.

Scorzayzee releases the realest Hip-Hop track of the year “Great Britain” with social commentary and anti-establishment viewpoints. It is yet another track that criticises the Iraq War. Despite the track being played on underground radio stations, it is largely ignored.

50 Cent‘s “Get Rich Or Die Trying” becomes the most popular Hip-Hop album of the year, with its “thug” and “club” themes.

Julez Santana releases “From Me To U” and makes dumbed-down, production-focussed, Hip-Hop like “Dipset (Santana’s Town)” even more popular. Wearing American Flags on clothing becomes a part of mainstream Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop officially becomes the antithesis of it’s roots as an anti-establishment social commentator.

The website and domain MP3.com is sold and then closed down. All music uploaded to it becomes unavailable.

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2004-2007

These years saw the total takeover of the genre. Almost every album which was released was by a collection of Hip-Pop artists who had slowly muscled their way into the industry. Wu-Tang’s “8 Diagrams” was one of the few non-Hip-Pop albums that was released during this period.

Ironically, despite releasing two albums in the nineties which commented on fake rappers and sell-outs; in 2004 Xzibit would become presenter of MTV‘s “Pimp My Ride”. With Xzibit as its host, and the use of the word “Pimp” in the title; the show helped mock Hip-Hop culture and demean its aesthetics.

Albums like Kanye West’s “College Dropout”, “Late Registration” and “Graduation”, Eminem’s “Encore”, and Lil Wayne’s “The Carter” are wildly overrated by mainstream journalists.

In 2004, Nelly would release a track called “Over And Over” with Country Music artist Tim McGraw. This would further water-down and destroy the genre, whilst also trying to appeal to a broader (whiter) audience.

Artists like T-Pain began furthering the amalgamation of genres by blending auto-tuned R&B with Hip-Hop. Producers like Lil’ Jon began popularising bass-heavy, simple production that would cheapen the overall sound of Hip-Hop.

Rappers with real skills like Papoose remain unsigned or are placed in Label Limbo, and so waste their skills by releasing several free mixtapes during a short period of time. Established Rappers with a non-mainstream sound like The Coup release albums which included important tracks like “My Favorite Mutiny”; but they are given no airplay and no marketing. They are ignored by the masses.

In response to the feeling by the Hip-Hop community that mainstream Hip-Hop was becoming mediocre; in 2006 Nas releases “Hip-Hop Is Dead” despite himself helping kill the genre by wearing a pink suit, pretending to be a Mafia don, and doing tracks with Puff Daddy in the late nineties.

NYOil releases the track “Y’all Should Get Lynched” which mocks the current breed of Hip-Hop artists. The accompanying video was banned and the original version remains banned from YouTube.

2008

Artists who once had great lyrical skills in the underground (like Cory Gunz) would become a part of Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint in an attempt to sell to the mainstream. They remain in the background while Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled become evermore popular.

Promising Rappers like Ali Vegas despite making memorable Hip-Hop in the noughties begin to fade away.

Nas releases the album “Nigger”. NYOil says about Nas and the album:

“If you ain’t been blown over by a water-hose, if you haven’t been beaten over the head with billy-clubs in the name of marching for your peoples’ freedom (chanting) ‘We shall overcome,’ scared out your ass while doing it, if you haven’t had the experience of seeing your people get snatched away and never coming back… so forgive me if I have the audacity to expect that if you have the unmitigated goal to name your album Nigger and wear a shirt that says ‘Nigger,’ with your wife, (Kelis) who has a jacket with ‘Nigger’ across the back, and you bring a white girl, an Asian girl and a Latina girl to wear the same ‘Nigger’ shirts on the Grammy’s, that you would at least respect the people who really, really went through this”

Despite the controversy, the mainstream media only comments on the title; not the fact that inadvertently, the album started a culture where Caucasians thought the use of the word “Nigger” was acceptable to use within the context of the Hip-Hop genre.

On 28th March, KL from group Screwball dies from an asthma attack. On October 24th, Half-A-Mill is found shot in his apartment. The media does not mention these deaths.

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2009

Blaq Poet releases “Blaqprint” with production from Gang Starr’s DJ Premier. It is one of the hardest albums released in some time, however it is ignored by the mainstream. Instead albums by Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and Eminem are pushed to the masses.

Idasa Tariq, Jasiri X, & Living Proofe release “Just A Minstrel” speaking about the state of Hip-Hop. It is ignored by the mainstream and instead receives criticism over the video.

2010

Nicki Minaj‘s “Pink Friday” is released and because of her newly-created “bubblegum” image, it further cheapens Hip-Hop as a genre and firmly aligns it with Teen-Pop acts like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

Quick blips in Hip-Hop skills like Bones Brigante fade into obscurity.

Killa Sha (of Killa Kids) dies due to complications from Diabetes. Guru of Gang Starr dies after a battle with Cancer. The mainstream media don’t mention either stories.

Rappers like Celph Titled begin to reminisce over the Golden Era of Hip-Hop and make tracks like “Miss Those Days”.

This year sees the release of albums by Kanye West, Drake, and Lil’ Wayne, and it is Eminem‘s “Recovery” that receives the most sales amidst some of the worse Hip-Pop ever to be released.

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2011

Kendrick Lamar releases “Section.80”. It is one of the first albums to dismiss the current mainstream sound.

Great lyrical skills come from female Grime artist No Lay, but she remains underground due to the fact that British Hip-Hop and Grime gets little or no international exposure.

A$AP Rocky releases the mixtape “Live.Love.A$AP”. In the video for track “Purple Swag” Anna Perp (a white woman) mouths the word “nigga”. The mixtape is a success and further increases the usage of the word by Caucasians.

Ed O.G. releases the track “I Was There” which again reminisces over the Golden Era of Hip-Hop.

Guru of Gang Starr is not mentioned during the Grammy Awards’ annual retrospective of musicians that died, despite contributing 25 years of his life to Hip-Hop music.

It is Drake’s “Take Care” that is the biggest selling and most popular Hip-Hop album.

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2012

This year marked the biggest shift in the genre, especially in the underground. Pro Era would release two free mixtapes “The Seccs Tape” and  “P.E.E.P: The aPROcalypse”.

Joey Bada$$ of Pro Era also releases the free mixtapes “1999” and “Rejex”. These mixtapes would sound like a renaissance of the early-nineties East Coast sound made popular by artist like Black Moon. The Golden Era felt like it was coming back.

Kendrick Lamar‘s “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is released, however under a major label’s influence the album contains many Hip-Pop tracks including the popular “Swimming Pools (Drank)”

The mainstream continue to plug sub-par Hip-Hop by artists like Tyga and Rick Ross.

2013

A$AP Rocky releases “Long.Live.A$AP”. A$AP Ferg releases “Trap Lord”. These albums popularise the latest Hip-Pop incarnation of Trap music originally created as an underground sub-genre of Hip-Hop in the Southern states of America. As white fans begin to assimilate this culture along with it’s associated “ratchet aesthetics”, it soon becomes an overground style. Because of this, Pop artists like Madonna, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus begin to wear items like “Grillz” despite them being a sub-culture item for more than thirty years.

A once underground artist, Chance The Rapper features on the Justin Bieber track “Confident”. Even though he is not a great loss to Hip-Hop; he is yet another rapper who sells out for exposure whilst giving “credibility” to a lame Pop/R&B act.

Joey Bada$$ releases the free “Summer Knights” mixtape, Underachievers release the free mixtape “Indigoism”, and Bishop Nehru releases the free mixtape “Nehruvia”. Despite these mixtapes feeling more like classic Hip-Hop albums they are ignored by the charts due to the fact they are mixtapes and not official label-backed releases.

Again, despite the attempts at creating credible Hip-Hop by a few underground MC’s, it is Hip-Pop that gets mentioned by mainstream media. Kanye West‘s “Yeezus”, Macklemore‘s “The Heist”, and Jay-Z‘s “Magna Carta… Holy Grail” are hailed as successes.

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2014

Sub-par material by Hip-Pop Artists gets overrated and over-hyped like never before.

Lame albums such as “The New Classic” by Iggy Azalea sell in big amounts and even go on to win awards such as “Favourite Rap/Hip-Hop Album” at the American Music Awards. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ “The Heist” also wins a Grammy for “Best Rap Album”.

Rappers like 50 Cent, Future, and Nicki Minaj release Albums which contain corny out-of-style sounds. Albums such as Riff Raff‘s “Neon Icon” make the genre seem cheap, and albums such as “Blacc Hollywood” by Wiz Khalifa showed that dumbed-down lyrics and auto-tuned vocals weren’t going anywhere.

Nicki Minaj would sample Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” for her equally horrid single “Anaconda”. This would perpetuate the trend for poor Hip-Pop whilst simultaneously referencing the worst Rap from the nineties.

Some good but flawed mixtapes such as Mick Jenkin’s “The Water[s]” and Raz Fresco’s “The Screwface Tape” are released. Rappers with skills unfortunately release disappointing albums such as Bishop Nehru’s “NehruvianDOOM“. Because of all the mediocre releases this year, average releases such as J. Cole‘s “2014 Forest Hills Drive” are overrated.

Statik Selektah releases “What Goes Around” and showcases production reminiscent of the mid-nineties, however albums like Joey Bada$$’ B4.Da.$$ (for which Statik produces three tracks) get pushed back.

The only worthwhile Album released is The Underachievers’ “Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium”.

Overall a disappointing year for real Hip-Hop.

THE REAL

THE FAKE

If you call yourself a Hip-Hop fan just because you own one Biggie or Tupac album, you’re part of the current Hip-Pop problem. If you’ve ever danced to a Timbaland or Pharrell track, if you think Kanye West is a genius, or if you  think Dr. Dre is the Godfather of Rap, then you are without doubt a part of the problem. If you believe Eminem or Jay-Z is the greatest of all time, then you are definitely part of the problem. In fact if you are thinking of defending any of the artists I have mentioned in this paragraph, you have personally helped kill Hip-Hop.

To the people who read this article, who say things like “why are you disrespecting Dre or Warren G?” or “why didn’t you mention Outkast?”, you’re exactly the so-called fan who has ruined Hip-Hop. If you fail to recognise that I didn’t include Brand Nubian, EPMD, Naughty By Nature, Double X, and countless others; you have no authority in the matter anyway. You’re no Hip-Hop fan, you’re a Hip-Pop fan plain and simple, and Hip-Poppers don’t recognise real, they only acknowledge the fake. Any real Hip-Hop Head can trace the decline in the genre from Dr. Dre’s involvement, whether it’s misogyny, R’N’B infused songs, to faux Gangsta Rap. In fact most of the contemporary aspects of Hip-Hop that people complain about were birthed by Andre Romelle Young, they were then moulded by Sean John Combs, and built on by Shawn Corey Carter. If you fail to see that, then you have failed the genre.

Everybody who has helped tarnish this great art-form, by either making it soft or accessible, or who bought into its contemporary image, is responsible for its downfall. Just because some rappers have an above average flow or because they have made one classic album, they are not blameless if they had a part to play in the demise of a once great genre. Because of these dicks, Hip-Hop is no longer a voice for the oppressed, it is no longer political and it is no longer hardcore. Take a look at how Hip-Hop is represented these days by the media and by it’s so-called fans. In iTunes the artwork for the Hip-Hop genre is written in a corny “bling-bling” jewelled and gaudy typeface. Thanks to all the artists and consumers over the last fifteen years or so, this is the modern day persona of Hip-Hop and Rap…

The Artwork associated to the genre Hip-Hop by Apple iTunes

Everybody who’s anybody knows that Hip-Hop isn’t what it used to be, but the same people who whine about what ruined Hip-Hop music, then turn around and listen to all the garbage put out by commercialised Hip-Pop artists. Some rappers may have a few lyrics which seem to agree with this decline in Hip-Hop, but even they later appear on tracks with the very artists who helped destroy the genre. You aren’t real if you’re seen giving shout-outs to sell-outs, and you cannot complain about what’s happened to Hip-Hop, when you yourself buy into all the Hip-Pop.

The media, the sell-out artists, and the fake fans have done a great job obliterating a counter-culture art-form. Hip-Hop’s rise and its subsequent downfall began in the nineties, but this year could mark the beginning of a Hip-Hop renaissance… All people need to do is stop buying Hip-Pop.

Hip-Hop Hooray.

 

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72 replies »

  1. I’m glad I got your site bookmarked and that you found a topic that I at least partly am interested in. I am from Germany, so my English is not too good, listening to American Hip Hop for the lyrics is difficult to me, I of course understand enough to know what’s going on. I myself don’t have no real knowledge about most of the groups you mentioned above (but because of that I found it very interesting to read how things got started and went downhill to the way they are now), I just know the mainstream rappers mostly.

    Rap came from the US to Germany and then in the 90s rappers started to write German lyrics, in 1992 “Die Da” bei “Die Fantastischen Vier” (maybe you have heard of them) got the #1 spot on the charts. And this track I still enjoy was one of many “fun-oriented” Hip Hop tracks, a lot of groups just made “normal” Hip Hop, talking about life and funny stuff mostly. So nothing with Ghetto or violence. But there also was this Underground part where groups were rapping about social issues and so on. And from the Mid-90s until 2000-2001, there was a boom of German Rap music when there were tons of great releases with clever rhymed, intelligent, fun, social critism lyrcis without violence, bling bling, gangster image and stuff. Yeah, the “I am the best, you all suck, my rhymes are better, I’m more real” stuff was part of it too but that’s for me at least no problem, it’s fun and it’s part of the genre, because there are fake MCs or Hip Pop artists around. There was also pop-oriented rap and also Euro-Rap like “Nana” with “Lonely” or “Remember The Time”, where they sampled a well-known popsong and used the sung chorus and that were chart successes. But then Battle Rap slowly got bigger and bigger and also rappers with “violent/sexist/offensive” lyrics got more popular when at the same time the normal rap lost success. And around 2001 it changed and then the whole “I am the toughest gangster from the hood, I like violence, money, bling bling, girls and expensive cars” becamse the new standard and that had nothing to with intelligent Hip Hop anymore. Yeah, I know that it is a lot different than in the US where Hip Hop was a medium for opressed people to talk about their problems but I want to say that though it started out positive, it went down the same way it did in the US. So it’s no wonder that most of my Rap albums I own are from the mid 90s to early 00s.

    I find it sad that Hip Hop, a Genre that has the almost unique possibility to give the artists the time to talk about almost every topic is used to promote all these bad things. It’s only about materialism, objectifing women, making money is the greatest, driving expensive cars and so on. You often wrote “They are ignored by the masses”. Yes, that’s true, but I don’t think it is the only problem. If the masses don’t get a fair access to all releases, how do you expect to make underground Hip Hop or tracks with positive, social critic lyrics to get to the audience? And the reason why they don’t get to hear the real good stuff is that the media is corrupt. They are simply not interested in giving the people something to think about, because if you think then you start asking yourself a lot of questions which leads to more questions to doubts about our pointless way of living and doing everything they tell us, so it’s way safe to throw the masses party music without any real message and promote that music/prevent the good, intelligent releases from getting to the surface.

    Hope that is a bit interesting for your to read, I can’t really say too much about the whole situation because I’m not from the US, but I listen to some good old German rap and I see what happens to the once great genre, it’s a joke, if it was only Hip Pop, that was a lot better than it is today.

    • Here’s the thing though, rap back then knew how to handle the subject of women, they didn’t go out saying “Bitch suck a dick so good make a nigga cum fast” or “I got a dick so big it make a bitch choke hard” (random examples .-.) it was seen as a parody/reality/or a different genre, I’ll list examples.
      Parody – Sir Mix A Lot
      Reality – Tupac/Biggie/Eazy E
      G-Funk – Nate Dogg/Warren G
      These are different examples of rap for women, it was different then because it’s not like that’s all they rapped about.

    • Hip hop has had braggadocio since its conception, as far as I know. The only difference is that now, that’s what fills up most of the mainstream. That aside, the average consumer of Hip hop care mostly about the beats, anyways. Speaking about the beats, I don’t know what it is with them. These trap beats are hypnotic. They just make you wanna move around, regardless of the lyrics. When you actually listen to the lyrics, it’s just a hot mess. It doesn’t help that a lot of these rappers are blurring the lines between singing and rapping, due to the fact that they sing a lot more than they rap, yet are still considered rappers above all else. I hate to sound like an out-of-touch old guy, but most of what the mainstream rappers rap about consists of promoting materialism, violence, drugs, nonstop partying, and hyper-sexuality, instead of meaningful things. It’s even worse, because rappers who can actually rap well, and address serious issues, tend to get clowned. I’ve seen fans of Shit-hop blame the previous generation’s fathers for “not being there”, or some shit. Most would state that it’s just their preference, which is fair, but it downplays the fact that those preferences are what screwed over Hip hop, to begin with, and they’re only making it worse. I hate to shit on people’s opinions like that, but it’s true. It’s gotten to the point that fans give rappers all the credit, calling them “fire”, even though if it weren’t for their producers making such catchy beats for them, most of their fans probably wouldn’t even fuck with them. Then, you got those gangsta rappers, most of whom act like they live lives they don’t, influencing the impressionable youth into believing that it’s cool to be like them. It’s sickening. Then, there’s the anti-police shit. Look, I understand that there are some cops out there who are completely fucked, but without law enforcement, America would be a complete shithole. I also hate that “snitches get stitches” shit, cause it fucks over good citizens, who try to bring criminals to justice, and hopefully clean up their neighborhoods. So many hoodrats run around committing crimes like it’s nothing, because everyone’s too afraid to tell the cops anything, due to this stupid ass “no snitching” policy, and the media demonizing cops. Now, there’s the usage of the term “nigga”. I don’t understand why minorities are allowed to throw that term around, yet it’s suddenly racist when a white guy says it. It’s a textbook example of special pleading. If it’s a term of endearment, then it should be okay for anyone to say. If it’s a racial slur, then nobody should be using it, period. I’m sick of bad rappers getting famous, hypocritical social norms, music that endorses bullshit, and everyone who just follow along like drones. Nowadays, the majority of Hip hop’s current consumer base prefer something that looks and sounds like something out of an episode of The Boondocks. I really got a feeling that a lot of these Shit hop fans don’t know much about Hip hop.

    • I completely disagree with your views about the word “nigga” or more accurately “nigger”.

      I hope you understand the historical usage of that word; white people created the word “nigger” to demean the black race, therefore it always will be a derogatory term if spoken by a white person. Black people over the latter half of the twentieth century began to use the word between each other in order to lessen the effects of it, if a black person calls another black person a “nigga” then some of the historical pain is lessened, because the word on those occasions is a term of endearment – but only when said to and by black people.

      This does not apply to white people since they originally created the word to demean and belittle an entire race, their descendants can’t use the word freely in the same way that black people can, since they can never be on the receiving end of the slur. If you let white people say “nigger” thinking they’re merely saying “nigga” (as a term of endearment) you also give them the power to take the word back and begin to use it as a slur again – in fact it wouldn’t take more than an argument before a white person who has been allowed to say “nigga” to then say “nigger”. And at that point there’ll be no going back.

      You can’t say “nobody should be using” the word because the target of hatred always has the option of claiming a slur, the same way “fag”, “dyke”, “paki”, “mong” etc. can/has. The demographic who can never be on the receiving end of the slur in question can never (and should never) have the option to use it in the same way the target has. Ever.

  2. Thanks to my freedom of speech and because I’m watching this video:

    Neil Sanders – Control of Popular Music

    LINK REMOVED DUE TO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
    VIDEO CAN BE FOUND ON RICHARD D. HALL’S WEBSITE http://www.richplanet.net

    Neil is talking about how rap started out being a positive thing with lyrics about equality, then the drugs came to the ghetto and drug dealing, being an evil gangster got popular. Very interesting. Also he talked about the killing of Tupac and that gangsters wearing all these slave diamonds is extremely ironic and of course totally wrong.

    It totally makes sense (to me at least) that the powers that be didn’t like that and slowly turned the positive thing around into what Hip Hop is today. And so many people who dislike Hip Hop dislike it for the commercial sell out rappers on tv, they’re dragging down the entire genre. As I probably said: Hip Hop is THE genre where you can tell long clever stories with complex and clever rhymes and it is used for dumbing down young kids. Really sad, I myself love good storytelling, clever rhymes and deep lyrics.

    • I definitely agree with that section of the video. It’s widely known that the CIA flooded black areas of the USA with Crack, and I don’t doubt for a second that when the powers that be saw the potential of Rap (as Political/Positive/Subversive etc.) they wanted to destroy it. West Coast Gangsta Rap definitely began the decline (of positivity) within in the genre and Death Row and later Aftermath had a big part to play in Hip-Hop’s downfall. I never rated Death Row Records anyway, even Tupac wanted to leave the label and some say that’s the reason he was assassinated. Thanks for the link.

    • You’re very welcome. I’m glad that you not only liked what was said in the video but also can confirm what he is saying, I’m never sure how people react when they hear theories about CIA involvment and conspiracies. It is scary when all the pieces of the puzzle come together and the truth is revealed but even more scary that it doesn’t really shock me that the powers that be change something to prevent a counter movement into a money printing machine, that includes bad role models for young people and the destruction of moral and vaules. Very clever. It’s interesting that my research about the beginning of Rock ‘N’ Roll (The Beatles and Rolling Stones) led me to this video and when I heard him talking about Hip Hop, I remembered your article you had published right away. Keep up the good work.

    • Whether people believe in conspiracy theories or not, it’s hard to argue with the fact that music has been watered down over the years until almost every song released these days is a mass advertisement for products. Political music has all but disappeared, and if anybody comes out with anything that actually means something or has a political stance; it is quickly drowned out by the corrupt music industry (since they directly control the radio and tv playlists, charts, and promotion of songs).

      Everybody pretty much knows that the CIA or some branch of the CIA put cheap drugs into American ghettos and then at the same time flooded it with guns so to put an end to minority uprising. It directly led to the downfall of the Black Panthers (watch movies like Mario Van Peebles’ “Panther”). I mean even on a subliminal level, if the only way you can make money in American ghettos is by selling drugs; then any art which is made in/from that environment (ie Hip-Hop) it will inevitably mention it. That is why many rappers refer to drugs in their lyrics and even name themselves after real or fictitious drug lords (Scarface/Frank White/Freeway/Rick Ross etc.)

      Music as a whole (especially in contemporary society) has the potential to make people think and act on political issues in a way that no other medium can. Therefore if you want to control your citizens, you need to control mainstream music. So if music on a mass scale is telling you to party and bullshit rather than fight the power; it’s strange but it does indirectly affect the way the public acts (especially children/teenagers/young adults). Hip-Hop like you said was THE political music once the hippie movement ended so it had to be controlled… and judging from all the garbage put out these days from A$AP Rocky, to Eminem, to Kanye West and all the other crap; it looks like they won.

    • West coast did not have anything to do with the downfall of hip hop the south did just look at all the “rappers” from Atlanta. :/ West Coast Hip Hop was just a more violent version of the east coast rap obviously they were sick of being oppressed and the east coast “peaceful” protest wasn’t doin shit, it’s a simple as that. What messed up Hip Hop was many rappers deaths (Tupac, Biggie, Big L, Eazy E, etc…) also rap isn’t bad when you rap about girls (sir mix a lot/Warren G & Nate Dogg) it’s just bad when that’s all the genre does back then it wasn’t a bad thing because it was seen as a parody (Sir Mix A Lot) or it was placed in a genre of its own (G-Funk =/= Hip Hop/Rap) but now since that’s the only thing “Rappers” rap about it’s seen as a bad thing, I’ll name some old school/golden age rappers that rapped about women sexually (Tupac/Biggie/BigL/EazyE/DrDre/SnoopDogg/NateDogg/WarrenG/IceCube/Eminem/Big Pun) and all of those rappers are considered legends because they knew how to handle the subject you never heard any of those rappers say “I got hoes in different area codes” or “girl suck a dick so good it make a nigga cum fast” they rapped on a funky base line with creative lyrics (Snoop is an exception lol) they weren’t just acting like 3rd graders and saying it so blaintly. IMO (In my opinion)

    • I never said that the whole West Coast Hip-Hop movement was responsible for the downfall of the genre. N.W.A. made a great album in the eighties but this article begins in 1990 so it’s not included. There’s a lot of other great West Coast rappers out there like The Nonce, Ras Kass, Hieroglyphics, Alkaholiks etc. but rappers like Dre and Snoop have contributed to Hip-Hop’s downfall, and just because I mentioned them it doesn’t mean I’m knocking all of the west (the reason I mentioned Warren G was because I hate nepotism in entertainment).

      The same goes for Master P, Hot Boys etc. (stylistically they’re the antithesis of someone like Scraface) it doesn’t mean the whole of the south fucked up the genre, in fact some of the worst shit was created when east and west coast rappers faked a “southern” Hip-Hop sound. There’s also the fact that the mainstream kept acts like Ludacris at the forefront and ignored people like 4-Ize so they made it look like Atlanta rappers were one-dimensional too.

      On a side note, there are way too many Dr. Dre suck-ups around these days. Don’t forget the lame Wreckin Crew, his contradicting lyrics, his shitty album once Ice Cube left N.W.A., his ruination of The Firm etc. I wouldn’t put Dre’s misogyny alongside sexual lyrics by Akinyele for instance. I mean c’mon, “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” isn’t exactly a great lyric, in fact it isn’t that much better than “I got hoes in different area codes”.

  3. Hip Hop, as an art form, is inherently terrible. It was never good. It simply cannot be ‘good’ – doesn’t matter if it is counter-cultural or capitalist….it is dumb, low level, throwaway art. It is completely and utterly culturally degenerate and was from the start. At its core it is simplistic baboonery. It was invented by bored, borderline imbecilic ghetto ‘poets’ and is kept alive by the culturally confused and aimless dregs of western white society who mindlessly ingest the low culture that is fed to them by MTV executives just like they mindlessly ingest McDonalds. It is third rate music produced and admired by third rate humans. It is nothing but the ‘swing’ and ‘blues’ of the modern era…ie forgettable, simplistic cultural waste created and admired by those who just couldn’t do any better.

    • For somebody who uses tired old references from throwaway art such as sitcoms; you are probably the most unqualified person to say what is and what isn’t “Art”. Unless you’re the ghost of Robert Hughes; you can go an stick your horridly prejudicial opinions up your foul racist arse. To actively seek out an article about Hip-Hop and then critique all black music from Blues to Swing to God knows what else; is the epitome of moronic. And only an uninformed imbecile would call an entire Art-form which encompasses graffiti, break-dancing, sampling, and rapping; “simplistic baboonery”. Saying Hip-Hop is produced by “third rate humans” just proves what kind of mind we’re dealing with here, and I’m sure people like yourself would feel much happier burning art than praising it. On a Dadaist side note; anything is art if the artist says it’s art, and that sentiment extends to Hip-Hop. I would rather be a fan of contemporary Degenerate Art, than anything you deem artistic.

    • Hip Hop was originally an art form shared in person. It wasn’t about mass-producing records and selling them. It was about contributing to the scene, which was an actual physical gathering of people.

    • Just so you know, your opinion is not a fact. The music industry and american culture it’s self disagrees with you. Your entitled to your (wrong) opinion but blindly writing off hip-hop as terrible and simplistic just makes you look like an even bigger tard than you already look.

  4. Sorry to dig up this topic again, but you know how these things work, you google for something and you magically find a super interesting article that not only gives you an important insight but also is kind of a missing piece of the puzzle.

    http://www.hiphopisread.com/2012/04/secret-meeting-that-changed-rap-music.html

    You wrote in the comments: “I don’t doubt for a second that when the powers that be saw the potential of Rap (as Political/Positive/Subversive etc.) they wanted to destroy it.” Now we have proof (if you believe that the person is telling the truth. I am very sure, but on the comment section on that page there are many disbelievers) hat there was an agenda, destroying rap’s original intention and the black culture, promoting drugs, violence and cash, it’s a perfect plan and it’s perfectly working.

    • Even though I think that Hip-Hop was purposefully dumbed-down (as was all music) I don’t believe the story in the link you suggested. Firstly, it ties in a conspiracy theory with the REAL problem of the Prison-Industrial Complex and in doing so; it takes away credibility from the real issue of prisons for profit (which is a documented fact). Secondly, it suggests that music fans (like some kind of zombies) copy the lyrics they listen to. I remember when the mainstream media tried to tie the Columbine shootings with Marilyn Manson and The Matrix, and also the killers of James Bulger as being influenced by the film Child’s Play. The media loves to say that people are directly influenced by film and music, and that itself facilitates the banning of certain art which they don’t like (I suppose that’s a separate conspiracy).

      I believe that people seek out music that represents them, and not the other way around. If you are a killer for example, you will always be a killer; you won’t kill because you heard it in a lyric. If that lyric hadn’t existed, you would have killed somebody eventually and blamed something entirely different. To say that Gangsta Rap was invented to create more real-life “Gangstas” (and therefore fill the prisons) just detracts from the genuine corruption of Prisons and the Justice System.

      What happened to Hip-Hop, is that the Political element was removed and over time Rappers were slowly tied in with pop-culture products such as mainstream fashion labels. This mainstream content was then used by the music business to sell Hip-Hip music to a wider demographic (more white people).

      If the story from your link was true; the creation of Gangsta Rap would have increased the WHITE Prison population (since that has been the primary consumer of Hip-Hop since the mid nineties). The fact that this hasn’t happened, makes the letter either untrue or unsuccessful.

      You are however, free to disagree with me.

  5. The consumer is to blame. We asked for it. If Eminem were removed from the pop scene, we would’ve had a riot. And yet he could claim that he didn’t sell out while making craploads of money. Because we gave it to him. And that’s okay. But you can’t expect the average consumer to understand that this is lame music because they don’t desire a deeper meaning. Most commercial hip hop is something that’s brought up and laughed at. The dumbest of them all are the people who think it’s serious work. It’s unfortunate that hip hop went from being a common artform that everyone in the inner city would practice and fight over and became something else. It was huge money for some time and respect was given for these street rappers who became millionaires, plenty of which still couldn’t knock drug habits. But now it’s an incentivized common art form. Like someone who plays basketball or football in high school. There’s a gigantic market for that, and you’ve just gotta be creative enough to find your way in as these people did.

    • I don’t think there would have been a riot without Eminem. He’s not that great. I don’t think that there would be a real riot without any of them. Who really cares that much for them. There might have been some words from their robotic fans, but a riot is a bit of a stretch. If rappers did what you suggested, black people will continue to be the butt of everybody jokes. Hip Hop was never a children genre. To say that you have to dumb it down to find your way only gives credit to Teh Racism who says that it is bofoonery. If I didn’t know the history of hip hop, I would say the same. I don’t see any other genre having to dumb themselves down to sell to a audience but hip hop. It’s almost like the media thinks that the only thing that sells to black people is ignorance, drugs, money, promiscuous behavior, etc. To me, that makes them ignorant of black people period, and it is insulting on so many levels. The fact that they spend tons of money to market it to black youth kinda adds truth about the whole prison complex thing. The worst part is, after they spend all that money to make us look ignorant, then they scout blogs and talk about how ignorant we are in all the comment sections. This is a system that has worked against us for years dating back to the 1700’s when books were written and sold on how inhumane we are. Sad to say, it is the same system that works against us today. Until black people wake up and learn their history then they will continue to loose. You can’t win a war, when you don’t know a dam thing about your enemy. Most blacks left the crack era in the 90’s, but they talk about it like it’s still popping like that in the hood today. You see more young black men graduating from high school and college then ever before, but white people will have you believe that we have more black youth in prison.To be honest, white people appear to be more strung out on drugs today, and are the ones who are always pumping that ridiculous music; trying to be down with something that most of us aren’t down with anymore. Talk about old school. Logically speaking, that is old school. I’m not surprise that they glorify that behavior. You have to be on drugs to think that ignorance is dope. smh

  6. Someone recently made a comment about my gold teeth, “wow, you still rockin a grill?? aint that out of style?” My reply to him was “No, I been wearing gold in my mouth before it was ever in style, before Nellys Hit song “grillz” was out, I wore it because I was unique and people did not know yet what a removable grill was, unless you were privileged to be “in the know” about this street shit. It was a status symbol, a sign that I came up, havin thangs, and not some broke clown, It meant I was from the streets, and not scared to floss my shit. It was no different from the gang tattoos you see on my body, wich sadly also became popular and a fashion symbol through RAP. I guess now it means that I am an out dated fashion idiot who is still trying to copy Rappers? SMH fucking sad.

    BTW, what kind of hip hop you think is real and fake is your opinion. Why would you say snoop, and Warren G are Fake? Because there not from NY? and they are not down for WU TANG? Coming up in the streets of CA, we listened to the shit that was reflecting our life style and life experience day to day, We really were getting shot at, we really were getting locked up and going away for a long time, We really were getting pulled over by the police 6 times a day, Raided, and had police helicopters shining bright lights in our back yard BBQ’s. We may have been influencing RAP music while RAP was influencing us, either was you slice it, it was very REAL, NOT FAKE. We had tons of RAP artist, from Sacramento, the Bay Area, and L.A. that never had any rap videos, all underground music, that we listened to strictly through word of mouth, and family members and friends who lived in those regions would loan you the tape or CD, there was no Internet back then, There was no Cell Phone or texting. The beeper on your hip was as technical as it got. THe music was very REAL to us.

    We did not listen to the NY rap, because we had no one to show us the NY rap, by the time NY rap was being exposed and compared, we were already fans of our own back yard home grown rappers who are now CA legends. Peace.

    • First of all, your comment about gold teeth and tattoos is exactly right. I said the same thing in my article about Sub-Culture Styles. In this article about Hip-Hop, I said it was the fault of mainstream Pop acts for fucking up the look; so like you said somebody today thinks gold teeth is Hip-Hop or Hip-Pop when people have been wearing them for years. When people in the streets wore gold in their teeth either because it was a status symbol or because people without Bank Accounts put their wealth close to them; that was real. Shitty singers wearing grillz on the red carpet is fake, I never said it was the other way round.

      Secondly, when I said Warren G and Snoop were fake, it wasn’t because I was knocking California, it’s because in my personal opinion they only got where they got because of Dr. Dre and not necessarily because they were more talented than the next rapper. I said Ice Cube’s first few albums were real, I said Ras Kass’ first album was real; without resorting to some clichéd shit like “some of my best friends are from Cali”, I can confirm I do not have anything against rappers from the West. But when Snoop had speeded-up Animal Control running around with a net in his video, that shit was fake. When Warren G leant towards RNB to get a hit, that was fake. Plus in my opinion without Nate Dogg that single wouldn’t have got anywhere. If Warren G wasn’t related to Dre, I don’t think he would have ever got signed, so to me having connections and not that much talent is fake.

      The other thing is, when I called out people like Timbaland for being fake, or Puffy, A$AP Rocky, 50 Cent, Eminem; you didn’t say I hated Virginia, Harlem, Queens, Detroit, so why single out one section of the article and say I don’t like any rapper other than those from NY? There are plenty of fakes from New York, that whole shiny suit shit in the 90’s was directly because of NY.

      I do however respect you for not bad-mouthing me in your reply (like many people do). You are entitled to your opinion; and like you said this was my opinion and I aired it. Peace.

  7. @ To the Author.
    Why do you constantly mention Rolling Stone as if they have authority to validate a culture & artform?

    Here’s a simple observation.

    Take a look at this first verse of the Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight..Now juxtapose it with the latest materialistic video.. Do you see any difference?

    Ya see I’m six foot one and I’m tons of fun
    And I dress to a ‘T’
    Ya see I got more clothes
    Than Muhammad Ali and I dress so viciously

    I got bodyguards, I got two big cars
    That definitely ain’t the wack
    I got a Lincoln’ continental and a sunroof Cadillac

    So after school, I take a dip in the pool
    Which really is on the wall
    I got a color TV so I can see
    The Knicks play basketball

    Hear me talkin’ ’bout checkbooks, credit cards
    More money than a sucker could ever spend
    But I wouldn’t give a sucker or a bum from the rucker
    Not a dime till I made it again

    Nothings changed..It’s just Business as usual
    Rap in it’s purest form is simplistic raw & repetitive.This is a perfect marketing tool for product placement, endorsements.

    Anyone with wealth uses cards but rapp videos always show banknotes.
    The video’s have a cosmopolitan range of women but the darkest women is usually the minority. And the focus will be on the darkest womans body.

    The boastful materialistic rapper is the perfect host to advertise. And that boast can become reality…I cannot see this happening in any other genre other than rap ,reggae or reggaeton..

    Now lets look at some earlier examples. See the images in my link ( or signature… if moderated)

    Lady Reed was known as Queen B .. Lil kim pays homage to Queen B..
    Betty Davis was once married to Miles Davis & Betty was criticised by the Naacp.
    Millie jackson – The Royal rapper was an x rated performer who influenced many females..She created a song with a full piece orchestra called **ck you.

    Rudy Ray Moore & Blowfly were also popular.

    A similiar transformation occured with reggae & dancehall. (See images )

    King yellowman
    General Echo
    Supercat
    Josey wales
    Prince Buster

    Nothin new to see & hear here..

    Some additional info & objectivity.

    Ice Cube is a bigot & a fraud. This gets overlooked as he was the most credible member of Nwa..And just look at his Hollywood career & screenwriting.

    Kool G Rap switched up his style & started cursing to sell more units.
    Eazy E was a mediocre excuse for a rapper.
    Tupac was mediocre. (Same flow on every other track )
    The Jungle Brothers – Black women ( Predates Tupac & refutes the nonsense talk about being the first rapper to show sensitivity & emotion blah blah)

    Continuing..

    Blacks emulating Mafia culture & themes.
    Fake Afrocentric Hip Hop rappers & pseudoscience.
    The Black Eyed Peas & Will.i.am
    Hank & Keith Shocklee of Public Enemy creating the Young Black Teenagers.
    Run Dmc constantly endorsing.. Walk This Way in every other interview ( Obviously contractually obliged )

    Flav Flav ( Public Enemy’s message can’t seem to penetrate & enlighten it’s own member after decades. )

    Also..

    Artists, Colluding, endorsing & collaborating using material of the deceased .
    Eg.. Bob Marley & Lauren Hill . Biggie . Tupac.
    MF Doom sending imposters to perform at his shows.
    DJ Premier’s inabilty to create a original drum pattern for over 20 years.
    9th wonder’s inabilty to create a beat using a different drumkit.
    Wu Tang Clan trying to sell an album for millions to be exclusively heard in a art gallery..

    Finally…

    It’s interesting to note that the most wealthiest rap artists have the most destructive & negative influence on the artform & culture. However they will never have the same impact or reach as Afrika baambaata & the zulu Nation..

    • I refer to the Rolling Stone reviews because it shows how Popular Culture incorrectly “grades” art which they have absolutely zero knowledge of. Rolling Stone magazine has systematically under-rated great Hip-Hop and over-rated every bit of detrimental piece of Hip-Pop over the years, and the majority of people have believed their bullshit. Albums they have given the thumbs up to have (by and large) sold the most units. So after years of promotion, the public at large think that Rolling Stone do indeed “have authority to validate a culture & artform” such as Hip-Hop; I was making it clear that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

    • ^
      I never paid much attention to the press & their reviews. But i always felt something was off when viewing many of The Rolling Stone magazine covers expecially when they featured a rapper..

      The Kanye West v 50 cent head to head publication Issue 1035 September 20, 2007. with the caption
      ” Who will be the king of Hip Hop? ” Is a monumental example of self incrimination of their ignorance but there are many more which are questionable..

      @ What went wrong .
      I have some scans in my link which you may find interesting..They also substantiate my previous posts.

    • Great scans. Looking at “Lil’ Wayne Goes To Jail” & “Rick Ross Gangster Of Love”, it’s plain to see that they’ve never had real Hip-Hop acts on their cover; they just perpetuate the stereotype of ignorant, law-breaking, money-loving black rappers. And yet they and the public think that Rolling Stone can review Hip-Hop albums without any bias? XXL and The Source sadly went the same way too.

    • Rolling Stones is not even a hip hop magazine so they shouldn’t be rating hip hop at all. It’s good that they promote artists, but leave the rating to the most passionate fans. Hip hop was stolen like Jazz. Jazz artists didn’t just let them have it. Then again black people were more enlightened about the world they lived in back then.

  8. Hip Hop is not dead, it has just evolved. There were good and bad rappers and producers in every era, that includes the golden age. Sure the ratio of bad rappers to good rappers in mainstream rap is high, but that doesn’t mean it is dead. The problem with modern mainstream rap is not that rappers bragging about materialistic things, money and bitches, but it is that these topics are now being used to cover their lack of talent. The Notorious B.I.G bragged about being rich and fucking bitches, but that doesn’t change the fact that I consider him as one of the greatest rappers of all time. There is no such thing as “Real Hip Hop” or “Hip Pop”. They are just labels. 2 Chainz may represent a corrupted version of Hip Hop, but he is still Hip Hop. What is considered “real” or “fake” is subjective. For example, I don’t like Drake or Meek Mill, but there will always be someone that will like them. That doesn’t mean that they are any less a hip hop fan. There is good music in mainstream and underground, someone just has to find it.

    • I disagree, Hip-Hop has devolved not evolved. Underground Hip-Hop and mainstream Hip-Hop was almost indistinguishable during ’93/’94 but now there’s a huge disparity – Onyx and Cypress Hill got into the charts and they were just as good as B.C.C. or the Wu. Obvious mainstream crap used to be confined to one or two rappers like Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer, now EVERYBODY in the charts “representing” Hip-Hop is a colourful, caricatured lame, and there’s no longer just one or two of them.

      When Shabazz The Disciple coined the term “Hip-Pop” I and many others began to use it to describe all the overground fakes, technically they might be “rapping” but they do not represent the five elements of Hip-Hop so they are not Hip-Hop, they’re Hip-Pop. Whether people like them or not, rappers like Drake, Lil Wayne, Migos are ruining the genre, and since everything they make contains autotuned singing bullshit, they may as well be called R’N’B, but then again where’s the blues? This shit is obviously Pop music disguised as Hip-Hop (created to appeal to the masses)… therefore it’s Hip-Pop and not “Real” Hip-Hop.

      Everyday I get hits from search terms like “what happened to Hip-Hop?”, “why is Hip-Hop lame these days?”, or “why are modern day rappers so commercial?”. Everybody feels like the crap has risen to the top and the good stuff is getting suppressed. Yes there’s good rappers out there, but they NEVER make it to the charts or to the radio, and the genre is going to get nowhere unless the public calls this shit what it is… it’s club, dance, radio-friendly Pop music that contains a bit of rapping, that doesn’t make it Hip-Hop, plain and simple.

    • First of all, I would like to say that I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Not all of it, but a lot of it. In my opinion, hip-hop and rap are two different entities. But, I wouldn’t necessarily call of it fake, just because something has r&b vocals in it. Different regions have different sounds that are to those areas. And of course the storytelling is going to reflect what you see and what you live. But, like I said I agree with a lot of things that you stated.

  9. I really enjoyed reading your opinion about how hip hop became what is today, in a mainstream sense. …I’ve myself been shuttering and searching this topic for the last 10 years. ….tbh, I disagree with what u considered fake or hip pop….because a lot of those artist or songs help make the genre as popular as it is today… to even be considered a profession that u can live of off……I feel that we and the elders of the hip hop generation messed up, by allowing the pop media to even have a day so and what’s hot or not. ….we allowed the labels, and publications to take over and have a say over what’s hip hop…..also…the mainstream shouldn’t be shunned, because the real issue with the music end of the culture is there’s no balance. …..back then there’s was room and a place for all forms of rap. ….now it’s all the same. …because we the people, the fans, and consumers, bought into the propaganda, the hype, the bs……there’s nothing wrong with the music. ….there’s just a lack of balance

    • The music sucks! It makes me sick when people say that commercial artists made hip hop what it is today. That’s so not true. Hip Hop was huge before any of them had deals. People that appears to be the same ones who listen to the watered down version of black music.

  10. these are horrid examples of fake artists. I can think of a hundreds of more artists that were the real cause behind this decline. G-Funk…Really? 50 cent? come on. you cant label every artist with slightly different lyrics to be fake. there is way worse ones.

    • I didn’t blame ALL of G-Funk (did you read anything against Spice 1 or Above The Law?) I just blamed Dre and his connections. You have to recognise that most negative aspects of Hip-Hop such as sexism, glorification of violence, stereotyping black men, demonising gangs are all things Dr. Dre and Rappers like him instigated.

      50 Cent is a lame fake, he went from “How To Rob” to “Candy Shop” within the space of a few years. How is that not selling out?

  11. I’m a aspiring rap/Hip Hop artist and I’ve been trying to really want to get my voice heard out there.But why is it everything a person have to do to get famous is be auto tuned and talk off the wall shit just to get airplay that don’t seem right and matter of fact is racist and that’s the real reason what’s really killing not just Hip-hop culture itself but also the whole industry.No body’s honest about themselves , they’re caught up in trying sound like somebody else And you wonder why people don’t buy Cds no more it’s not the technology that killed it’s the stupid public media that’s behind this destruction and division about what’s and what’s fake I hate that auto tuned shit and Future ,Fetty Wap and alot of these weirdos need to be stopped and challenged point break they’re the modern Hammer and Vanilla ICe of this generation way before JaywannabeHova ever sought to question the sound. Matter of fact didn’t he also responsible for stealing other people music as well and had Frank Ocean T-pained his song what a fucking Hypocrite and fraud. I can sing also and i don’t need that to make a song that’s sounds like a enhanced version of Roger Troutman it should be real as it is.I think you’re right but a little wrong also it’s really about what the radio wants folks to hear rather having the people decide what’s get more vibe and what dosen’t but when are radio stations going to give underground a chance to shine I mean fuck the fame and fortune where’s the love and respect of the music at? that’s the whole problem about the state of Hip Hop it’s not the gimmicks it should be about the message it’s sending and don’t give no Holy Hip hop ether that crap is fake and we know that church hates rap why are we trying to get in religion sounds kinda of fucked if you ask me

    • Holy hip hoppers who are supposed to stand against the world sound just like them today. Mary Mary just made a song entitled, I luh God. That’s exactly how they spelled it. That’s why the world calls us dumb. I saw Future on Saturday night live and I don’t even know if he used real words. A horrible performance that white people glorify. These are your radio artists today. lol

  12. Thank for this finally someone who gets it!!! I agree with you 100%!!! There’s alot of soulless crap out there chasing the dollar bill!!! Again thank you!!!!

  13. o be fair, Rolling Stone magazine is about as reliable as those sitting in Office at the minute. 😉 They have slanted brilliant albums (Iron Maiden’s Number Of The Beast, Weezer’s Pinkerton) & run fake stories to further an agenda. Quite frankly, they are one of the worst publications out there, and I do my best to ignore them. If they help shape popular culture, then we are all screwed.

  14. I totally agree with u, hip hop/rap died for me in 2003..

    Nowadays I hate radio so much.

    Nothing but shit..

    People like David guetta also wrecked hip hop… And Ian Carey

    Cypress hill keeps it real

  15. Thanks to technology, I don’t even have to listen to radio anymore. Technology has made it so that we can listen to whatever we like. That music is not as relevant in black neighborhoods as the media would have you think.

  16. I think you are quite wrong about some of your “fake” examples. I think artists in the mid to late nineties just did what they had to do to stay relevant and get airplay. To use BONE as an example of “fake” is ludicrous. They changed the whole sound of rap/hip-hop as we know it. Expressing negativity doesn’t make them any less of an artist. People were just letting the world know about the things they had to deal with in their environments. In fact Krayzie Bone has recently released an album pointing out the hypocrisy and misleading messages contained in the industry today. If you consider bone to have ruined hip-hop you need to dig deeper into their music as a whole. Some of these artists grew into something more than a few songs about money and women. However there are plenty who have really no message or content at all in their music and is just purely about being catchy or having a good beat.

    • You might not agree with it but the reason Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are in this article is because they went from being “Hell Sent”, Ouija-obsessed, horrorcore, double-timers to godly R ‘N’ B Hip-Poppers. Yes they changed the game but Faces Of Death & Creepin On Ah Come Up were hardcore, so was E.1999 (for the most part) but slowly a few songs like Crossroads and If I Could Teach The World began to sneak in and before you know it they were bringing in Mo Thugs with contrived pyramid signs on their album covers. To water down your original content for the sake of album sales and to “get airplay” is the very definition of fake, but that’s not to say they weren’t talented and original (at least to begin with).

      If you read the article properly I wrote “It [E.1999 Eternal] includes more of an R&B-style than their previous release, and the melodic rapping begins the amalgamation of the two genres. Despite the inclusion of underground themes and styles including Horrorcore, it is soft R&B tracks like “Crossroads” which bring the group the most success”.

      Just because someone starts off good it doesn’t mean you have to follow them when they become bad. This has nothing to do with “expressing negativity” it’s about changing your sound or content or opinion drastically to make money. Listen to Bone in 1994 and then in 1997/1998 and tell me you can’t tell the difference.

  17. I totally disagree with you. A lot of the artists you mentioned as fake didn’t kill hip hop. Many of these guys are beloved by hip hop fans and followers because they made great music. Just because some music is mainstream doesn’t that their music is trash and is ruining hip hop. Remember, rappers aren’t just judged on their content they’re also judged on their skill level as a rapper/MC. Rappers Eminem, Jay-Z, and Biggie are revered because of their talent and skill. Eminem slays any of the “real” rappers you mention when it comes to skills on the Mic and so does Biggie. These guys are legends for a reason. Just because a rapper is talking about important messages doesn’t mean they’re doper than next rapper who doesn’t. The reason why Kendrick Lamar gets my respect is because he talks about messages but also does it in a way that is creative and he is a tremendous MC. Lecrae is the most popular christian rapper not just because of his content its also because he is dope and I can enjoy his music and his message. There are a lot of christian rappers who aren’t his level because they are wack. Rakim didn’t always have a message in his music but he is one of the greatest MCs of all time because he set the bar for skill level. So in my opinion you completely overlooked the importance skill level in why these “fake” rappers are revered. I can’t relate to anything Eminem talks about but I can acknowledge he is a legendary MC. I can enjoy his music because I love hearing him rap and who doesn’t. Immortal Technique is a dope rapper but doesn’t just automatically deserve a 5 star rating because of his content. Another point is that this article to me makes no sense because you’re putting Hip Hop in a box. No Musical genre should ever have to be put in a box. There are no rules in Hip Hop or music. Can you imagine how much great music and art we wouldn’t have if there were rules in place for all artists. You wouldn’t have Prince or Michael Jackson. Music and art should be about quality and creativity as much as it is about content. Your whole “real” hip hop is wack. There is no such thing as real hip hop. X-Clan was around the same time Public Enemy was around and they had the same messages but they didn’t make themselves stand out. Their music had a message but P.E was more creative and they had Chuck D, a legendary MC. A Tribe Called Quest stood out not just because of their messages but how creative their music was bringing in a new sound mixing jazz with hip hop. You did forget that their 1996 album Beats, Rhymes, and Life hit #1 on billboard 200. So they had their success. The reason why artists like OutKast and Kanye West are legends is because their music was creative and pushed boundaries like no artists did before them previously. You can’t tell me Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is not among of the best albums ever. You can’t tell me Jesus Walks and B.O.B aren’t great songs that help push the genre forward. You can’t tell me Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was not an innovative classic album that help put the South on the map. You can’t tell me The Chronic was not a classic album that established the West Coast place in Hip Hop. You can’t tell me Dr. Dre is not a legendary producer who help jump-start the careers of very talented artists, popularized the G-funk sound and was an important member of one of raps most legendary groups in N.W.A. If Hip Hop were to be the same kind of music you want it to be then it would be what jazz is today. An irrelevant genre of music that has failed to evolve and now it is not making money like it used to and it doesn’t connect with the younger generation. Rappers should just be allowed to do what they want and be original. Hip Hop has always been about self-expression. I’m not saying content is not important but its not the end all be all. There are a lot of rappers that I enjoy listening to that don’t have important messages but I enjoy their music. I think there is a place in Hip Hop for party music and songs that get play in the club and on the radio. You also got to remember that Music is like an escape from reality for a lot of people so we also want to have fun too. As much I love message music, I don’t want to hear that music in the club. I want to hear those Bad Boy records and Death Row records. I want to hear Lil Jon and 2 Live Crew. I want to hear the songs that gets me in a fun mood. I want to hear Nelly or 50 Cent in the Club. So it may not be your taste so you can just speak for yourself. As a Hip Hop fan myself, you don’t speak for me. And just because I like artists who are popular and I admire Biggie and Jay-Z doesn’t make me less of a fan. You’re the one who is setting extremely unrealistic expectations. Not every rapper has to be a social conscious rappers because everyone life experiences and mentality is different. It wouldn’t make sense for Drake to make message rap or gangsta rap because that is not who he is. And if he did he would be fooling himself and his fans. Drake is popular because he is talented, hes genuine, hes not afraid to be who he is and his music relates to a lot of people which is why he has fans. Same thing with J. Cole. And also just because certain hip hop music is popular doesn’t mean its not good music. Sure the lyrics can be dumb down a bit but mainstream success can be a factor in measuring an artists impact. If you’re making great music but only have 5000 fans then you’re not making any impact or you’re music is not standing out from the pack. As an artist you got to prove to people that they should listen to your music and not anybody else. You can blame corporate labels all you want but artists don’t have an excuse anymore in today’s internet era. Artists like Macklemore, Mac Miller, and Chance the Rapper have shown you can build a fan base through the internet without major label help. The fact that a lot of these great artists have sold records and carved out careers is positive. If there no was money in Hip Hop or if this was just a niche genre with no commercial appeal, then there would still be dissatisfaction because we would feel like our music is not getting recognized. So you can’t say mainstream artists ruined hip hop for the worse its just different than what it used to be. Your argument is very subjective because you’re probably somebody who is a backpacker type fan who wants to sound smarter than everyone else by criticizing whatever is popular. If you don’t like it don’t listen to it. I am not saying you didn’t make any good points but I think you took a position that is very irrational and very extreme in my opinion. Hopefully you read and respond to my post so we can keep this conversation going.

    • You’re against me labeling or generalising rappers and fans, but you instantly call me a “backpacker”? That was almost like calling me a “hater” or “hipster”. You don’t agree with my opinion, you say art is subjective but then dismiss my opinion because it doesn’t gel with yours, that’s pretty contradictory, no wonder you give a free-pass to mediocre Hip-Hop.

      So let’s break some of your points down:

      • You’re mixing up multiple arguments and not understanding mine correctly. I have never said that because of an artist’s lyrical content they should be given a perfect rating; albums and MC’s are two separate things entirely. An example of this is Canibus, a rapper with skills who makes horrible albums.
      • I’m not putting Hip-Hop into a box, I’m outlining what is either fake (i.e. a person who switches their style for money) or people who are mediocre from the start. The term “fake” in this article could be changed (depending on who I was talking about) to “Sold Out”, “Shit From The Get Go,” and “Overrated”. Just take the word “fake” as an all-encompassing term.
      • The same goes for the term “Real Hip-Hop” it’s meaning is essentially; Hip-Hop music that’s not watered down to appeal to the mainstream, or musicians that never changed their ethos or style.
      • On the topic of “putting Hip-Hop into a box” I’m not, I enjoy Hip-Hop from many rappers, the styles of let’s say The Fu-Schnickens differs greatly from The Gravediggaz, the style of Camp Lo differs to The Coup, and nobody sounds like Lord Have Mercy. You can do what you like in Hip-Hop but make good music and stick to what you purported to be when you started. You can’t go from devilish to saintly, or from enlightened to ignorant, that makes you “fake” by definition.
      • Certain rappers are only “legends” because the mainstream media keeps plugging them and the masses conform. Dr. Dre’s Chronic is massively overrated, Kanye is a good producer but a below average rapper, Jay-Z was good during the mid nineties, Biggie was good too, but they’re not THE BEST, everybody’s told to think that way so they accept it. Plus Jay-Z is just a Biggie+Jaz-O wannabe with a lot of hype added. Biggie was a good rapper but thanks to his image created by Bad Boy he’s responsible for that tacky “player”, “champagne”, and “bitches” shit that plagued the latter half of the nineties. So he partly gave birth to “fake” Hip-Hop.
      • “Eminem slays any of the real rappers” that I mentioned? C’mon, the only people he’s ever battled are lame mainstream types, he’s never been up against anybody “real”. So you’re telling me Eminem is on par with Ras Kass? The man is overrated and he has less skills than the people he’s bitten over the years: AZ, Masta Ace, Chino XL, Tonedeff. If you listen to him alongside better rappers like G Rap/Pharoahe Monch/Chino it’s clear he’s overrated and under-skilled…
      • “Drake is genuine”? Get the fuck outta here.

      Most of the arguments you have can be answered by reading my other articles…

      You like Kendrick Lamar? Read thisand this

      You like Eminem? Read this.

      You like Dr. Dre? Read this.

      You like Drake? Read this.

      And fuck Nelly, that prick ruined Hip-Hop in the noughties, and people like you were probably on his side when his beef with KRS-One kicked off…

      “Sales don’t make you the authority, it means you sold out to the white majority. What you know about seniority? You ain’t major, your whole album appeals to little second graders.”

      And finally, even though I don’t agree with your sentence, you’re the one who wrote the contrived line; “If you don’t like it don’t listen to it”. Maybe you should do the same and don’t read my articles if you don’t agree with my stance.

  18. Okay … I meant to say that I have lots on my MIND when it comes to the cultural decimation of mainstream hip hop (which occurred from about 1997 to 2002 — in 2003 mainstream hip hop became unlistenable , in general , and has been ever since) . My top 5 rappers of all time are —

    1. Canibus (especially from 1992 to 2010)
    2. K-Rino (of The South Park Coalition)
    3. Chino XL
    4. Vinnie Paz (of Jedi Mind Tricks)
    5. Kool G Rap

    Canibus has a bad reputation for the LL Cool J and Eminem beefs and the June 2012 K.O.T.D. incident in the battle against Dizaster with the notepad . Still , he is the finest lyricist hip hop has ever seen and has always remained true to the art form .

    K-Rino is currently the best out there right now. He is a southern rapper from Houston , Texas , USA . He is so good it is mind-bending . He is the definition of real hip hop . He can rhyme about it all . All subject matter from street life to real shit to politics to economics to metaphysics to religion to love stories to history to high fantasy / science fiction themes to (even) club tracks . Best story teller hip hop has ever seen . 12 years ago (in 2004) he released an Eminem diss track called , “Fuck Eminem” , and absolutely lyrically killed Marshall . You can find that diss track and all of his tracks on YouTube . Look up the YouTube channels “The Colorful Cube” and “TheHipHopSpot” for his tracks. Or just type in K-Rino into the search bar . Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks and The Army Of The Pharaohs is also hard-as-nails and real as fuck . Check out Celph Titled and Apathy – who are closely associated with Vinnie – they will blow your mind .

    I don’t have to say much about Chino XL . The guy is a lyrical legend and a timeless classic . Eminem bit the horrorcore content from Chino XL , Esham , N.A.T.A.S. (Esham’s crew) , The Insane Clown Posse , Twiztid & Cage (Chris Palko) . Cage killed him in the diss “4 Letter Word”. Lyrically , Cage and Chino XL are the only ones of that horrorcore style to be better than Eminem . The biting of all of those guys is very evident . Eminem was able to put it into the mainstream for white ,middle class kids that could afford to buy CD’s . With Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine’s huge promotional marketing budget he sold phenomenally well . ICP & Esham were from the same Greater Detroit Area as Eminem and he was greatly influenced by them . He also bit horrorcore content from Kool Keith and a very early Tech N9ne . He bit his multi-syllabics from AZ , Pharoahe Monch , Rakim , Big Daddy Kane , Masta Ace , Wordsworth , Punchline & Nas .

    Eminem , The Notorious B.I.G. & Jay-Z are the most overrated rappers of all time when it comes to lyrics .

    Kool G Rap is as hard now as he was in 1983 when he was coming up . Enough said .

    Ill Bill , R.A. the Rugged Man & Diabolic are white rappers that all you guys need to start listening to . All lyrically better than Eminem and not sell-outs . They aren’t pretty-boys (like Marshall) but they are truer to the culture .

    You mentioned the late , great Big L & Big Punisher . Their untimely deaths killed mainstream hip hop even quicker. Even though I’m not a 2Pac fan I recognize his importance. When 2Pac was killed that was when the death of mainstream hip hop really started . Almost the exact moment in time. The Fall / Autumn of 1996 .

    There are some white boy alternative rappers (maybe you could call them “nerd rap”) with great skill . Eyedea (he has since died — R.I.P.) , Brother Ali , Slug (of Atmosphere) , Sage Francis , George Watsky and Aesop Rock .

    Copywrite is another white rapper with similar lyrical content to Eminem that I feel is lyrically better .

    Ras Kass had an album released in late 2014 . It is called “Blasphemy”. The whole album is produced by Apollo Brown of Mello Music Group . “Blasphemy” is an underground classic . Look up the YouTube videos for the tracks “Humble Pi” and “How To Kill God” — and you will see what I mean .

    Canibus released an underground classic album in May 2015 . Well after the King Of The Dot notepad incident . “Time Flies , Life Dies , Phoenix Rise” . It is produced in whole by Bronze Nazareth . Bronze Nazareth is a close Wu-Tang affiliate .

    I wouldn’t give to much concern to The Underachievers , Pro Era , Boldy James, Action Bronson, Mick Jenkins, Raz Fresco , Odd Future , Flatbush Zombies , Bishop Nehru or Odd Future . I mean — they try to imitate . I appreciate their interest in the golden age . But still they can only imitate .

    My favourite younger rappers are Hopsin , Dizzy Wright , Swizzz and Jarren Benton . Some may say that they are corny . But they have real lyrical talent .

    A year ago Hopsin released an album called “Pound Sydrome” . It has a classic track called “Fly” on it . Some of the production methods I dislike on that track. But the message of it is a breath of fresh air . It brings up positivity , hip hop culture and materialism in a clever way .

    There is an 18 year old cat from California called A-F-R-O or All Flows Reach Out . That kid is the future of hip hop . His mentors are R.A. The Rugged Man and REKS . His free verses are amazing .

    If you go on YouTube you will find even younger kids from across the world that have major skill .

    I personally am a conspiracy guy . I believe that there was a meeting in 1991 and it left the rap world crushed . There is nothing supernatural or abstruse about that . Dr. Dre , Iovine , Hollywood & music execs and officials from various federal agencies of the American government got together . The message in the music of Brand Nubian , Public Enemy , X-Clan , Big Daddy Kane , KRS-One , Kool G Rap , Rakim Allah , Native Tongues and Poor Righteous Teachers was not in sync with oppressing minorities and making mass amounts of money . The golden era message was dangerous and subversive . The music promoted a left-wing or socialist agenda for better civil rights for minorities of all types . Think of it . Wealth redistribution , humanism , public protest , spirituality in poor communities , equal rights and positive rhymes .

    You can be damn sure that Uncle Sam , George Bush the First and Reagan didn’t want that . They wanted to keep minorities dumbed down and in jail . Dr. Dre was the perfect double agent for this . A man willing to forsake poor people and his fellow African Americans for his own power and economic game . You saw a continuation with Sean Combs , Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z . And then Birdman , Master P , Ja Rule , Ludacris , Nelly and Eminem . And then Kanye West , T.I. , Rick Ross , Akon ,T-Pain and Lil’ Wayne . Now it’s Mac Miller, Macklemore , Chief Keef , Miley Cyrus , Donald Glover / Childish Gambino, Big Sean , Future, Yo Gotti , Young Thug , Iggy Azalea , Nicki Minaj , G-Eazy , Boosie , Meek Mill , G-Herbo , J. Cole , A$AP Mob , Brick Squad, Gucci Mane, Riff R@ff, Tyga and Drake .

    Kendrick Lamar and his whole Black Hippy crew are sell-outs and vastly overrated . Kendrick Lamar will become the new Dr. Dre . Mark my words . After “Section 80” he sold out .

    Lupe Fiasco and Jay Electronica have talent but are soft as heck .

    Somebody mentioned above about Sway & King Tech’s 1999 Wake Up Show Anthem . Yes, on that track you can see that Tech N9ne , Kool G Rap , Chino XL & KRS-One smoked Eminem lyrically .

    Yeah , ultimately Eminem , Dr. Dre , Snoop Dogg , 50 Cent , Birdman , Lil’ Wayne , Kanye West , Sean Combs & Jay-Z are the rap artists in the game you have to blame for mainstream hip hop’s demise .

    Check out underground and independent hip hop . Start with my top 5 rappers. Check out the other rappers they have collaborated with . Both the older ones and the younger ones . You will see that the underground is still going strong .

    4 last things . The average every day person out their is dumb as a rock . So if they listened to classic Nas or KRS-One or Brand Nubian or Ras Kass or Geto Boys they wouldn’t understand it . Mainstream society has dumbed greatly down as we enter the social media age ( or “The Kardashian Age”) . Hip hop in the mainstream is marketed towards 5 to 25 year olds anyways . I hope that as these kids get older they get smarter and their tastes mature .

    Second , you say Canibus makes horrible albums . You must be thinking of only “Can-I-Bus” , “C True Hollywood Stories” , “Lyrical Law” and “Hip Hop For $ale” . The rest of his albums are decent to exceptional . “Rip The Jacker” , “2000 B.C.” , “For Whom The Beat Tolls” , ” Melatonin Magik ” , “C Of Tranquility” , “Fait Accompli” and “Time Flies , Life Dies , Phoenix Rise” are all classics . Chuck D , KRS-One , Ghostface Killah , Raekwon , Inspectah Deck , Rakim , Tonedeff , Zion I , Gift Of Gab (as a solo artist) , Freestyle Fellowship , UGK and Del The Funky Homosapien have all released crappy albums , too . They are all great artists but I have bought albums by every one of them that were bad in the past . People love to hate on Germaine for being a commercial flop in the mainstream back in ’98 but they won’t bash Andre 3000 or Big Boi or Killer Mike for selling out and softening up .

    Thirdly , bling or jewelry or diamonds have been a part of African culture for thousands of years . Kurtis Blow , Melle Mel , Grandmaster Flash , Grandmaster Caz , Doug E. Fresh , Slick Rick , Coke La Rock , Rammellzee , Ice-T , Too $hort , Spice-1, LL Cool J, T La Rock , Masta Ace , Craig G , GangStarr , EPMD , Pete Rock , Run DMC ,Tony Touch , Domingo , DJ Screw , Willie D. , Scarface , Funkmaster Flex, Fab Five Freddy , The Fat Boys , DJ Red Alert and DJ Kool Herc all rocked huge amounts of jewelry at one time . Does that not make them hip hop legends ?? I seem to recall seeing Rakim Allah , Kool G Rap , KRS-One , Nas , AZ and Big Daddy Kane all rocking big jewelry as well . It’s when the materialism becomes the sole subject matter of your music and weakens the artistic or social message .

    Fourthly , everyone on this forum should give dap to K-Rino and check his music out on YouTube . Sometimes he has weak production . But , if you are lyrically at his level it is hard to get production to match .

    ,

    Paul Bocian

    St. Albert , Alberta , Canada

    (You can check out my YouTube channel by typing “Mr Tantamount” into the search bar.)

  19. I read your Canibus / “Fait Accompli” thread . Also the Eminem , Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre threads . You know your stuff . On Canibus , in specific , don’t you think you were way, way, way too harsh ?? I mean every hip hop head has different tastes . The track “Draft Me” and the whole album it was on was a satirical album . Canibus is not a racist . Yeah , the album with “Draft Me” me on it was garbage . It has maybe 2 decent tracks on it . Dizaster called Canibus a “monkey” and a “lesser evolved human being” in their battle . ‘Bis & Diz did a track together on the “Time Flies, Life Dies, Phoenix Rise …” . It is called “Battle Buddies 4 Life” . Diz actually came off as a bit cliched , outdated and corny . Referring to “Rambo” and “Steven Seagal” and “Snapple” . Also just spitting a litany of violent terms ranging from MMA holds to bomb shrapnel . Diz , is still a decent rapper on wax / in the sudio , though . He just is so used to doing battles. where he has to memorize a lot of stuff , master humor / jokes / delivery / tempo / flow and do a lot of research on his opponent .

    Hip hop is far from dead . You have to look in the underground or independent scenes when it comes to American hip hop. I take it you live in Britain . My favorite British rappers are Akala , Devlin , Adil Omar , Lowkey , Scroobius Pip and Ms. Dynamite (Akala’s sister I believe) . Kate Tempest is quite good . The battle rapper Shotty Horroh has released some decent stuff . My favorite British hip hop group is Rhyme Asylum .

    Australia has many decent hip hop artists . Bliss N’ Eso , 360 , Damo , Hilltop Hoods , etc . . Obese Records had quite a nice roster of talent . The label shuttered a month ago ,sadly . If you go on the Obese Records wikipedia page and look and the list of artists that were signed to them — it is an impressive list .

    Lastly , the guy in the comments section who called Kanye West and Drake musical geniuses doesn’t know shit about real hip hop . Neither of them write their own rhymes . Rhymefest , King Louie , GLC , Consequence , Mad Skillz , Magoo and Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) write the bulk of Kanye’s stuff . Jay-Z , Common , Masta Ace , AZ , Nature , Cormega , Remedy (The Wu-TangCclan affiliate) , Big Noyd (the Mobb Deep associated rapper) and Nas have secrelty written for Kanye in the past . He has employed many more ghost writers than that , as well . Kanye’s writers — if you start in 2001 — probably reach 150 . Drake has Noah “40” Shebib , Majid Jordan , T-Minus , Boi-1da and Mike Zombie write a lot of his stuff. I also imagine he has used Canadian hip hop legend Maestro Fresh Wes to ghost write as well . Drake probably has used a lot of the guys that Kanye has used to write his shit .

    When people call Drake and Kanye West lyrical legends it chaps my hide . You can’t take anything else they say about hip hop seriously again once they make that claim .

    *** This and my last post may have some spelling and grammar errors . I’ve typed this real fast .

    • I hear what you’re saying about Canibus but a fan of Drake would think my article on him was too harsh and a fan of Eminem would think the same about my article on him, and so on and so forth.

      On the topic of Canibus and satire, Canibus’ album C True Hollywood Stories was no Colbert Report. There was nothing on the CD that exaggerated the people/atmosphere it was allegedly commenting on. If you listen to the track Draft Me, the lyrics are venomous, I don’t know who the individuals in the group C4 were but their verses were out and out Islamophobic, they weren’t funny, and they weren’t ironic. Then when Canibus joined the US Army, the whole idea of satire was made null and void since the majority of people who signed up after 9/11 were fake-patriotic Islamophobes. It’s impossible to satirise a group of people you yourself are a part of.

      On the topic of King Of The Dot, yes Dizaster’s line was also racist but as far as I remember it came AFTER Canibus’ prejudice shit so it was justified. Just for the record I don’t really like Dizaster either, he’s just some rich kid who’s playing battle rapper.

      I agree with pretty much everything else you said though, in both comments you left.

    • i agree that Diz is a spoiled millionaire’s son . But , Diz is one of the best battle rappers in the world in the English language . You shouldn’t judge Canibus based on that one crappy track ,man . Canibus has apparently been a Sunni Muslim , a 5 Percenter and a Nation Of Islam member in the past . ‘Bis has good friends that are God Bodies , LGBTQ , traditional Muslims , Christians , Jews , Hindus , Buddhists , Jains , secular / atheist / agnostic / non-religious and even Scientologists . I don’t think the man is a bigot or Islamophobic . After all , we all say stupid shit in our lives that we regret later on . Many would say that Brand Nubian’s Lord Jamar is a rampant homophobic prick & an anti-Semite from the shit he says on his VladTV interviews . Eminem made a stupid track in 1993 , I believe. But I don’t think that he is a racist . A selfish guy and egotist , yes. But not a racist .’Bis recorded that track 15 years ago .

      Here is a track called “Mr. Montana …. Thank You” from Canibus’s last album .

      He mentions his respect and tolerance for all of his fans and peers regardless of “color , ethnicity or religion ” .

      ‘Bis seems to have greatly matured in life .

      Really Doe , Busta Rhymes , Mos Def , Pusha T (of Clipse) also wrote a lot of Kanye’s bars .

      Who are some of your top lyricists ??? Say if you could mention 20 names ….

    • I really hate that excuse, that someone is sorry or that they were too young or foolish to know what they were doing/saying, or some other contrived bullshit.

      It takes time, thought, and effort in making a prejudice song; you have to think it, write it, record it, and then market it. Along this whole lengthy process you also have the option of abandoning the song if you think in hindsight that it’s too reactionary or based on feelings you only had for a short period of time.

      Obviously every person on Earth has thought something prejudice at some point or another, but the difference is that people like Canibus and Eminem put these thoughts onto wax. Once they’ve done that, to not call them racist is pretty diversionary. Racism isn’t confined to extremes like the Holocaust, lynching, or burning crosses – a dirty look or a nasty comment is also racism and so is a song; it may not be as bad but it’s racism nevertheless.

      Your excuse of having minority friends is also clichéd, how many racist white people have you heard say “I’m not racist some of my best friends are black”. Talking to, having sex with, hanging around with some minority doesn’t negate prejudice. There are many instances of a confirmed racist having relationships with the demographic they hate – look at slave masters and their mixed-race children, Hitler’s Jewish friend, the minorities on Fox News etc. I’m not saying all these examples are the same or are at the same level of severity, but I’m trying to make a point about the stupidity of hatred. People who are racist/sexist/homophobic always have some connections or acquaintances who are also the target of their hatred, but that never stops their bigoted views.

      Yes people like Lord Jamar or Sadat X have aired their bigoted views, so did Kool G Rap, Ice Cube etc. and I’m not making excuses for any of them.

      Saying someone is the most talented rapper or the greatest rapper is a separate issue entirely. You can say Canibus is the greatest, I could say that Kool G Rap is the greatest and we could argue that, but both of them being bigoted isn’t in dispute since we have proof (a prejudice song) from both of them. Their prejudice has no bearing on their talent however, fans can like who they want to like but they shouldn’t make excuses for these people’s points of view or things they’ve said and done, just say why you like them (their style, their flow, their delivery etc.) – that I wouldn’t dispute (unless it was Eminem who is overrated and under-skilled).

      On the topic of Dizaster, yes he’s pretty decent at battling but punching a fellow battler was the dumbest move, the whole point of battling with words is that you don’t resort to violence. He’s also never been able to make a record with the same level of feeling as he does in his rap battles. It sounds to me that he can free flow but when there’s a time signature he can’t flow over it properly. That to me makes him less of a “great”.

      Peace.

  20. ** Again , sorry for the spelling & grammar mistakes . I’ve been typing fast .

    Moreover , other than young cats like Pro Era , Stevie Stone, Andy Mineo , Akala, Lowkey , Devlin, Adil Omar, Ms. Dynamite, Flatbush Zombies , Rapsody, Bishop Nehru , Fashawn , Hopsin , Action Bronson , Earl Sweatshirt , The Underachievers , Hopsin , Dizzy Wright , Lupe Fiasco , Jarren Benton , Jay Electronica , A-F-R-O & SwizZ who do you thin can “hold the flag up” in mainstream hip hop ??

    Those guys I mentioned above have a buzz online . Hopsin , Action Bronson , Earl Sweatshirt , Dizzy Wright , Jarren Benton & Joey Bada$$ have the biggest buzz .

    If Hopsin could get even more popular it would help the mainstream .

    I don’t think Kendrick Lamar & his Black Hippy Crew can do much . Or J. Cole . They are artistic sell-outs .

    I hope there is a 8 year old kid out there learning how to spit and immersing himself in the culture. I hope that kid can become a lyrical legend like Nas and as popular as 2Pac . You can’t give up hope.

    This Trap Music movement , Bounce Music , Twerking Music & Chicago Drill Music is killing hip hop quicker.

    Not everyone age 25 or under in the world is as dumb as Iggy Azalea , Chief Keef or Kevin Gates . There has to be hope out there .

    The way you wrote the article things sound hopeless .

    K-Rino , who is my favourite current rapper / lyricist, says that there are desolate odds of mainstream hip hop with enlightening content coming back .

    If K-Rino is right then you have to look at the rap world like this ……. you’ve got to listen to what you enjoy and not care what anyone else thinks .

    I take it you like Lord Have Mercy (& other Flipmode Squad / The Conglomerate rappers) , Tonedeff , Akrobatik , Mr. Lif , Pack F.M. , Murs , Living Legends , Immortal Technique , Freestyle Fellowship , Public Enemy , Chino XL , Cunninlynguists, Ras Kass , DJ Premier , Boot Camp Clik , The Wu-Tang Clan ( & their affiliates) , Heather B. Gardner , Smoothe Da Hustler , Nas, Kool G Rap , Big Daddy Kane , Souls Of Mischief , Rakim , Mos Def, Jasiri X , Ill Bill, R.A. The Rugged Man, Talib Kweli, Edo G , Blaq Poet , A Tribe Called Quest, Blackalicious , De La Soul , Arrested Development , Onyx, Brand Nubian, Mobb Deep, M.O.P. , The Nonce , Hieroglyphics, Camp Lo , Big Noyd, Cormega, Nature, AZ, YZ, Remedy, Craig G, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, Punchline , Digable Planets , Vinnie Paz , Jedi Mind Tricks, A.O.T.P. , The Demigodz , Lauryn Hill , KRS-One , Homeboy Sandman , Aesop Rock , Locksmith, Sage Francis, Brother Ali, Little Brother, The Last Emperor, Atmosphere & Jean Grae .

    Most of those artists are still making music as of this year . Some of them have gotten better with age .

    Murs , Ill Bill , R.A. , Mr. Lif , Vinnie ,Apathy , Onyx, Homeboy Sandman, Souls Of Mischief , Blaq Poet , Kool G Rap , Jasiri X , Edo G , Craig G, Del the Funky Homosapien , Ras Kass , Grand Puba , Atmosphere, 9th Wonder , Buckshot , Aesop Rock, Locksmith , Ghostface, Czar Face (7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck) Brother Ali, Phonte & Tonedeff have put out good shit in the last 2 to 3 years — or less .

    My fellow countryman , Mad Child (of Swollen Members) , keeps coming out with decent material .

    If these kids want to listen to garbage “hip pop” that’s their problem. It’s their loss . You have to feel sorry for them . They are the ones not being enlightened by real hip hop culture .

    Sadly , in The U.S.A. The African American and Latino communities could use the message of positive hip hop more than ever.

    In Chicago , Illinois and other big american cities thousands of kids are killing each other every year . Over drugs and money .

    Idiots like G-Herbo , Boosie , Chief Keef , Wiz Khalifa , Meek Mill , Drake , Yo Gotti , A$AP Mob, Waka Flocka Flame , French Montana, Gucci Mane , Future , Tyga, Lil’ Durk , Trinidad Jame$ , Glizzy Gang & Bobby Shmurda ARE NOT POSITIVE EXAMPLES FOR YOUTH .

    In the past people criticized N.W.A. , Kool G Rap , Biggie, 2Pac , GangStarr , Brand Nubian , Public Enemy , Bone Thugs N’ Harmony , Tech N9ne , The Insane Clown Posse , Eminem , Paul Wall , Chamillionaire , UGK , Geto Boys and Ludacris for the examples they set .

    I personally feel that those older guys (the ones that are still alive , anyway) deep down have appreciation for “The Temple Of Hip Hop” .

    This new generation of younger kids need mentors . I think it is a corporate conspiracy . A plan to keep ethnic minorities and poor people down .

    Hip Hop is the greatest music genre . It has extraordinary power to communicate ideas and to teach .

    Against the corrupt “power brokers” Hip hop is a powerful weapon .

    The weapon is still their . Nowadays , it is a concealed weapon (in a metaphorical sense) .

    I hold out hope that the veterans will gather the youth . And teach them how to wield their poetic weapons properly .

    • You said in a previous comment that groups like Pro Era copy older rappers and in terms of style that’s true, but I’ll take anybody who references the elements of Hip-Hop over people who run this genre into the ground. Yes Action Bronson sounds like Ghostface and Your Old Droog sounds like Nas but they have skills and I don’t think it’s intentional it’s just coincidence.

      When it comes to someone like Meechy Darko I think his style has the ability cross-over and please both sides – Hip-Hop purists and Hip-Pop fans alike.

      I think rappers like Que Hampton or Santan Dave have the potential to create something classic, they have skills and personality. Spiz The Prophet, Cool Hand Lukey, and Westside Gunn have all made decent songs too but they’re all relegated to the underground like everybody with skills/individuality these days.

      I’m fine with people being in the underground because I’m the type of person who looks for good music rather than waiting for marketing from the mainstream media, but this article is written for the people who only know Hip-Hop from the outside/overground. The people who don’t seek out genuine/more credible Hip-Hop are the ones who are faced with all the trash and at the same time this ignorance stops the talented rappers from making money.

      Music has been cheapened ever since Napster and now with streaming and subscriptions only the overground people make money from music. That’s not just a problem for rappers but every performer. We need to get to at least the way it was in the eighties, a group like EPMD released Strictly Business and none of the singles ever reached the charts but it still went gold, that’s at least enough to eat. But today with Soundcloud and other free music streaming/downloading sites it’s the underground that has to financially subsidise their craft whereas the mainstream can live lavishly off garbage. That’s truly fucked up.

  21. Underground or independent artists can still make money . Sometimes they can make more money than mainstream artists who only have one or two well known albums .

    Look at the cult fan followings Mad Child / Swollen Members , ICP ( & other artists on Psychopathic Records) , Twiztid , Tech N9ne ( & other artists on Strange Music) , Ill Bill , K-Rino , R.A. The Rugged Man, Celph Titled, Ras Kass , Chino XL , Diabolic , Immortal Technique , Apathy, Vinnie Paz / Jedi Mind Tricks , A.O.T.P. , The Demigodz , Kottonmouth Kings , Necro , Mr. Hyde , Twisted Insane , Aesop Rock , Cage, RJD2, Run The Jewels , Snak the Ripper , Merkules , Death Grips , Das Racist , Flying Lotus , Despot, Shabazz Palaces (when they were a group), Atmosphere , Brother Ali , Sage Francis , Mac Lethal , Hopsin , Dizzy Wright , Jarren Benton , Fashawn , the Mello Music Group artists , Flatbush Zombies , Pro Era & The Underachievers have .

    Sometimes they can make a better living than some mainstream artists . Fans will buy their whole album – every track – on iTunes or Amazon Music or E-Music or BandCamp . Or buy their CD , retro cassette or vinyl . Fans will buy their merchandise regularly , as well . Fans will loyally buy tickets to their shows .

    These artists can also make decent money by doing features or production on tracks of little known underground artists .

    Many mainstream fans will stream the music of an artist they like short-term on a subscription service . Or just watch the video on YouTube / Vevo . Or listen to pop radio . They won’t buy an album or even a single . They often don’t go to shows or buy merchandise .

    It all adds up. All of those underground / independent artists I’ve named above can make a full-time living off of their music .

    Where will Future , Ne-Yo , T-Pain , Kreayshawn , Soulja Boy or Yo Gotti be in 10 years time in terms of relevance ?

  22. Oh please shut up I listen whatever I want. If me enjoying eminem songs more than others is killing hip hop then hip hop is pretty damn fragile.

  23. An Underground guy shitting almost everything popular for the last 30 years, even though the mid 90s stuff was clearly dope. Not a good look, man. I’d say it went very commercial and the quality definitely declined steadily around maybe 2005.

    • That comment makes no fucking sense whatsoever! Either say that Hip-Hop has always been great and still is or agree with me – don’t just show up and dispute the fucking date like the shit changed overnight in 2005!

      It took years for people like you to accept the tiny increments of change within Hip-Hop, from N.W.A. to Kanye and everything in between. The reason Kendrick Lamar did a song with Taylor Swift can be traced back to Run DMC making a song with Aerosmith, just ’cause something comes from the golden era, doesn’t make it all GOLD.

      And by the way, if a kid was born in 2005, they wouldn’t realise that Hip-Hop has changed at all – and they’d call you an “Underground guy shitting on everything popular for the last 10 years”. Check your bullshit opinion, man – not a good look to blindly like everything from ’79 – ’99.

    • I agree that the mid 1990’s to the late 1990’s was decent — even in the mainstream . But the problem was that the dope up & coming artists back then like Canibus , Chino XL , Ras Kass , R.A. The Rugged Man , Souls Of Mischief , Del The Funky Homosapien , The Lost Boyz , A+ , Heather B. , Bahamadia , Pacewon , Young Zee , Sunz Of Man , Killarmy , The Wu-Tang Killa Bees , Poly Rhythm Addicts , Thristin Howl III , Cage , Necro , Ill Bill , Lord Have Mercy , Rah Digga , Mykill Miers , Baby Blak , Brotha Lynch Hung , Andre Nickatina , Kurupt , Boot Camp Clik , Party Arty (R.I.P.) , Killa Sha (R.I.P.) , Yaggfu Front , Artifacts , Juggaknots , The High and Mighty , Little Brother , Tonedeff , The Cunninlynguists , Haystak , Lil’ Wyte , Jelly Roll , Hard Target , DZK , Warbux , The Demigodz , Company Flow , Doomtree , Aesop Rock , Atmosphere , Brother Ali , Eyedea (R.I.P.) , Copywrite , Saafir , Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz , Afu-Ra , The Gravediggaz , Queen Pen , The Lady Of Rage ,Free Marie , Jedi Mind Tricks , Black Rob , G. Dep , Loon , The LOX , Craig Mack , RBX , Tech N9ne , Krizz Kaliko , Yukmouth , DC Talk , 4th Avenue Jones , Dead Prez , Freddie Foxxx / Bumpy Knuckles , Nine , Deadly Hunta , Mad Lion , Wise Intelligent , Binary Star , Prozak , Strong Arm Steady , Bishop Lamont , The Last Emperor , Swollen Members , Kottonmouth Kings , Organized Konfusion , The Psycho Realm , John Forte , Sauce Money , O.C. , Petey Pablo , Black Pegasus , A.O.T.P. , D.I.T.C. , Street Life , Amil , Yo-Yo , Paris , The Coup , Tragedy Khadafi , Miilkbone , Ozomatli , Arsonists , Special Ed , The Madd Rapper , Jeru The Damaja , Mic Geronimo , MC Breed (R.I.P.) , The Dayton Family & Esham were all either dropped from their labels or forced to go independent . Many quit rapping full time & took a day job . The label execs & A&Rs fucked the game up .

      Hip hop took a bad turn in 1999 when Eminem was hailed as it’s saviour . It was all down hill from there for mainstream hip hop .

    • I forgot Mash Out Posse , Onyx , Ruste Juxx , Wordsworth , Scroobius Pip Vs. Dan le Sac , The Herbaliser , Consequence , GLC , Emcee Juice , Supernatural , Percee P , Oh No , Mad Lib , MF Doom , Stricklin , Punchline , Keith Murray , Z-Ro , Trae Tha Truth , Slim Thug , Nature , Remedy , Cormega , N.O.R.E. , Big Noyd , Mobb Deep , Paul Wall , Baby Bash & AZ on that list .

      If you look at all those artists I’ve named you can see that in the late 90’s a CONSCIOUS DECISION was made by the labels to start pushing less talented rappers .

  24. Rhymefest , Pumpkinhead (R.I.P.) , The Perceptionists , The Visionairies , Murs , Living Legends , Aceyalone , Abstract Rude , Torae , Skyzoo , Fu-Schnickens , Das EFX , Twiztid & The Insane Clown Posse are others . The comment hasn’t been approved yet . But , I named the rest of the artists there .

    I blame the major labels for not recognizing what real talent is . To think how they besmirched the legacy of Rakim , Chuck D , Kurtis Blow , Grandmasters Flash & Melle Mel , Big Daddy Kane , Kool G Rap & KRS-One with meaningless bullshit .

  25. Lil’ Flip , Fugitive 9 , Clipse / Re-Up Gang & Chamillionaire are also good examples of Southern rappers who weren’t pushed or promoted properly . Instead Lil’ Wayne & his label mates , Nelly & his label mates & T.I. & his label mates were pushed .

    In my recent comments I’ve listed at least 20 (or more) Southern rappers who had great lyrical talent . I wouldn’t blame The South for the decline of mainstream hip hop . If there are any artists to blame it would be Birdman , Lil’ Wayne , Eminem , Jay-Z , T.I. , 50 Cent , Nelly & Kanye West .

  26. Papoose , Fabolous , Cassidy , Planet Asia , Slim The Mobster & Killer Ben are other dope emcees that were never properly pushed by major labels .

  27. Agallah , Strong Arm Steady , Busdriver , Cappadonna , C-Rayz Walz , Kosha Dillz , Braille , Blueprint , Classified , Rhyme Asylum , El Gant , Rob Sonic , Sadistik , Kristoff Krane , Jakki The Motamouth , Camu Tao , Kung Fu Vampire , Level Jumpers , R.O.C. , Psych Ward , Kid Crusher , Bliss N’ Eso , Hilltop Hoods , Justice , 360 , Oldominion , Grayskul , The Sandpeople Crew , Damo , Edgar Allen Floe , Darien Brockington , Blu & Exile , Emanon , Freddie Gibbs , Guilty Simpson , Seven The General , Frank N Dank , Glasses Malone , Fred The Godson , Godfather Don , Da Beatminerz , The Beat Junkies , The Beatnuts , Domingo , Tony Touch , Kid Capri , Peanut Butter Wolf , Open Mike Eagle , Shyheim , Chi Ali , Blackalicious , Latyrx , Rascalz , Choclair , Checkmate , Thrust , Saukrates , Kardinal Offishall , Belly , Danny Diablo , Sean Strange , K-Solo , Screwball , Sage Francis , Five Deez , Shingo02 , DJ Honda , Mickey Factz , Sha Stimuli , many former members of The Conglomerate / Flipmode Squad , Outsidaz , Dungeon Family & The Roots …. The labels dropped the ball so many times . I don’t have to name any more artists .

  28. I actually think I named far less than 1% (one percent) of the dope underground emcees who never got properly promoted or never got signed . And those are just the rappers from English speaking countries .

  29. @ Bernie

    My 5 favourite emcees are Canibus , K-Rino , Vinnie Paz , Chino XL & Kool G Rap . Just from listening to those 5 I get introduced to thousands of dope artists . The guys in my top 5 have literally collaborated & performed with thousands of rappers , DJ’s & producers over their careers . K-Rino & Kool G Rap have been in the game since at least 1983 . Canibus has been in the game since 1990 . Vinnie has been in the game since 1990 , as well . Chino XL has been in the game since 1991 . The guy who runs this blog & What Went Right With has been listening to hip hop much longer than I have . I have only really been into it as a hip hop head for 10 years . He could add in British hip hop artists & artists from Europe , Africa , Mexico , Central America , South America & Asia & the list of real artists could run to one million or more .

    • Yeah. I have been listening to hip hop for only a couple years, so I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of MC’S you listed.

      I try to stay away from mainstream “rap” as much as possible, simply because I don’t view it is essential to what hip hop was originally about. The rappers I listen to are Big L, Necro, The Notorious B.I.G, Danny Brown, Tyler the Creator, MF Doom, Large Professor, Mick Jenkins, Three 6 Mafia, Denzel Curry, Death Grips, Royce da 59, Nine, J Dilla, Dilated Peoples and many more. These are rappers that stand out to me in a special way.

      If you are willing to comment on my tastes feel free to. I have lots of time on my hands to debate.

  30. @ Bernie

    I am a big fan of Big L (Rest In Paradise) , Necro & Nine . I don’t like Odd Future (the skateboarder / hipster factor) , Denzel Curry , Mick Jenkins or Royce Da 5’9” (because he is associated with Eminem) .

    The rest you’ve named are very fine rappers or producers . Three 6 Mafia was quite good back in the 90’s & early 2000’s . Juicy J is now a huge sell out .

    I would recommend K-Rino , Canibus , Ill Bill , Danegurous , Angry Mic , Mr. Hyde , Gore-Tex , Kool G Rap , Apathy , Celph Titled , Chino XL , The Snow Goons , Viro The Virus (Rest In Paradise) , Big Punisher (Rest In Paradise) , Ras Kass , Rakim , Big Daddy Kane , Poor Righteous Teachers , Wise Intelligent , Lecrae , Andy Mineo , Gift Of Gab , Blackalicious , Immortal Technique , The Demigodz , Army Of The Pharaohs , Vinnie Paz , Jus Allah , Jedi Mind Tricks , Diabolic , Virtuoso , Esham , R.A. The Rugged Man , Hopsin , Atmosphere , Aesop Rock , X Clan , Brother J , The Pharcyde , Souls Of Mischief , Hieroglyphics , Zion I & Del The Funky Homosapien .

    • I put Royce da 59 on my list of rappers I listen to because he is a very consistent rapper, and is quite lyrical as well as having an on-point flow. He released 2 projects this year, both of them being pretty good. One of them, Trust the Shooter, has been promoted heavily on the mixtape site Datpiff, and he has guest appearances from DJ Premier all the way to Westside Gunns.

      I put Denzel Curry on my list because besides from improving heavily from his last 2 albums with his new Imperial mixtape, he is a possible candidate for resurrecting the genre of trap. He has his own unique style of shouting punchlines while combining them with new-age hooks and fast flows. His instrumentals are usually pretty solid as well. Check out “ULT”,”Gook”, and “Zenith”, which features Joey Bada$$, and you will see what I mean.

      Mick Jenkins is on my list because for someone who bases his rap subject around water, he is amazingly versatile and has released numerous mixtapes and albums each with varying instrumentals. Check out “Leonidas”, P’s and Q’s” and “Negro League”. These 3 are some of the best tracks released in this decade.

      As for Tyler, I listen to his older stuff when he was solid and helped with other members of Odd Future. His new stuff just sucks.

  31. Can you do an article on Rick Ros…, i mean William Leonard Roberts or officer Ricky’s break through into mainstream Hip Pop and his stolen name and identity like he thinks it’s still the late 90s with that mofisco crap.

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