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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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$$ of Pro Era also releases the free mixtapes “1999” and “Rejex”. These mixtapes would sound like a renaissance of the early-nineties East Coast sound made popular by artist like Black Moon. The Golden Era felt like it was coming back.
Kendrick Lamar‘s “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is released, however under a major label’s influence the album contains many Hip-Pop tracks including the popular “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
The mainstream continue to plug sub-par Hip-Hop by artists like Tyga and Rick Ross.
A$AP Rocky releases “Long.Live.A$AP”. A$AP Ferg releases “Trap Lord”. These albums popularise the latest Hip-Pop incarnation of Trap music originally created as an underground sub-genre of Hip-Hop in the Southern states of America. As white fans begin to assimilate this culture along with it’s associated “ratchet aesthetics”, it soon becomes an overground style. Because of this, Pop artists like Madonna, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus begin to wear items like “Grillz” despite them being a sub-culture item for more than thirty years.
A once underground artist, Chance The Rapper features on the Justin Bieber track “Confident”. Even though he is not a great loss to Hip-Hop; he is yet another rapper who sells out for exposure whilst giving “credibility” to a lame Pop/R&B act.
Joey Bada$$ 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.
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.
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…
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.