February 15, 2011 12:01 am
Your Parents Were Right… About Hip Hop
Remember when you were in middle school, and your mom walked into your bedroom to find you dancing to “What’s Your Fantasy” (a raunchy Ludacris song), flailing your arms around like you were directing air traffic?
Remember the horrified expression on her face as she set your CD on fire and forbade you from ever listening to rap music again?
…Well, maybe that was just my experience.
But, even though hip hop reached a point where one could call it “art” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, parents are back to hating it.
Why? Because it’s awful. Back then, hip hop was celebrated for its quality themes and complex lyricism. Hip hop has changed a lot since then—now rap is a “Swag Fest,” and if it isn’t that, then it’s “trap houses,” cooking drugs, stacking money, or taking girls home from the club.
And although some people see these themes as “quality,” for a lot of folks, hip hop has officially died.
Ok, it’s not dead quite yet, but the murderers currently on the radio and on VH1 are working on it as we speak.
One of my favorite perpetrators is Soulja Boy, an Atlanta-based rapper who was discovered over YouTube and SoundClick with the worn-out song “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy).”
Though it was catchy and came with a little dance, Soulja Boy’s bad production quality and lack of rhyme and cadence makes it hurt to listen to his music.
If you want quality rap, throw his album back in the 99-Cent bin. Gucci Mane is another perpetrator; his nasally, congested flows in “Wasted” and “Freaky Girl” prove to be good for southern rap music, but are bad if you want complexity in rhythm and subject matter.
For a rapper who has so much money, he can’t afford to buy talent (or a box of tissues).
There are, however, hip hop artists who are trying to do CPR on this controversial-yet-popular music genre.
Kanye West is the first we think of. Though he himself is a first-class jerk, and his lyrics have gradually become mediocre, the power of his hooks, themes, and sampling/production, especially on his albums Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy make his words hip hop genius.
Drake is another trying as well. His airy, deep production, as well as his thought-provoking themes (the insecurities and paranoia that come with being famous, friendships that fall by the wayside, etc.) and introspective lyrics make him stand out and give rap enthusiasts hope that hip hop will eventually return to its golden years.
Though these artists and many others are working tirelessly to restore hip hop, the money-seekers and “swag” rappers outnumber them.
And whenever your parents turn on the radio or play an iPod, one of the hip hop murderers is probably who they’ll hear first.
So, tell your parents they can hate hip hop now. After years of defending it, I can finally agree.