Ever since I was little, rap music has been a huge part of my life. Storytellers like Tupac, Dougie Fresh, and Run DMC entertained me with their lyrics and rhyme scheme and influenced me to get in touch with my creative style. But as I grew up, the music changed. It no longer has substance. It seems like artists today praise the negative more than the positive.
I very rarely listen to the radio now because of what artists portray in their music. The music radio plays is all about partying, sex, drugs, and money, which most fans really cannot relate to because they don’t live that lifestyle. The majority of listeners just vibe to the beat and are caught by the hook and want to emulate that lifestyle. I think artists go that route to sell more records. The motto is that sex sells and the shoe fits, because it does. Rap artists let their record labels market them in a negative light forgetting that their targeted audience is looking up to them. The things these rap artists say, kids are going to go out and do.
Most stuff rappers talk about, they do not really do. One can turn on any song and the majority of the time they will come across lyrics stating they sell drugs and kill people and commit other illegal activities and listeners will believe them. It is really a lie. Unfortunately, millions of people have fallen victim to believing their music. If one took the time to research the artist, they would find out they are liars. I know I have listened to rappers like that and once I found out the real them, I began to listen to them less or just totally stopped listening to them. It is disrespectful to the people who have no other choice but to actually live that lifestyle. It is not something to be glorified, but it does show their struggle to get by.
Rap lyrics do not have substance anymore. Half the rap songs on the radio make no sense. They put a catchy hook and then when they rap in the verse, it does not even correlate to the hook. It is ridiculous how people do not realize this. In today’s time, all a rapper needs is an attractive beat, a couple of punch-lines then he or she is golden. Dances out of nowhere have begun to sweep the nation, which is good, but not traditional hip hop. Television and internet have influenced it more and more, taking away from the hip hop culture. The essence of the music is taken out and is being commercialized.
It seems to me that real hip hop music is still alive in some artists. Many of Lil Wayne’s fans were taken back by his platinum selling “Carter IV” album. In his album, he cut back on the club banging songs and punch-lines and spoke more truth in his music and used other beats and stayed on topic with his songs. Jay Z and Kanye West collaborated together to create another platinum selling album, “Watch The Throne,” in which they discuss past issues in the music industry and the friends they have lost. They compete back and forth throughout the album, talking about the beloved cities they are from.
J. Cole is another artist that fits the build. He speaks on past experiences growing up with no money and following his dream of becoming a famous rapper without selling out himself and becoming commercial. He also talks about what it is like being a man and the pain he has been through with past relationships with women.
I am a rapper and I enjoy listening to good music, but I hate fake artists. I do not find it appealing to listen to rappers who talk about smoking and killing all the time because I do not do that. Most of my raps in my early stages of rapping were more about catchy punch-lines and metaphors that would make people be like “oh man that was sick.” As I grew so did my music. I ventured away from that and talk about subjects that people can relate to like relationships and battling adversity and staying true to oneself. It makes me feel good inside to know others can listen to my music and be like “wow he has a point there,” or “that is a really good message to spread.” Hip hop is sending the wrong message to audiences around the world. There is a time and place for all music types, but it is imperative to recognize what is real.
Spencer Pullen is a freshman majoring in new media. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.