“Dress it up and make it real for me”… A dope line from a hot track (insert YouTube link to Future- “March Madness”) seems to have become hip-hop in a nutshell nowadays. Hip hop was once based on skills, originality, and being genuine. Its current state is a grand scene of inauthenticity made to sound as real as possible. Hip hop as we once knew it consisted of a dope DJ, lyrics with substance, and break beats/samples. Today’s hip hop however could easily be defined by dope beats, “wtf did he just say” lyrics, and sing-along hooks. With that being said, we as hip hop fans need to ask ourselves, are we just gonna settle for this?
Look… No one can deny the fact that the beats are hot… There are more beat makers/producers now than there have ever been at one time. We still have the OG’s; Timbo, Swizzy, Ye’, Premo, Dre, Zeytoven, Just Blaze, Pharell (in no particular order), that continue to create incredible beats. But now with production equipment and programs increasingly more accessible, there’s a massive influx of dope beat makers cranking out hits at a high rate. But while the sonics of today’s beats are still just as good as before(though significantly more simplistic), you can argue that the feeling they create is totally different.
Booming 808’s and synthesized melodies have been around forever, however the words laid down over em have totally transformed since its beginning stages. Over the course of time hip hop has gone from simple and catchy party raps (insert YouTube link to Sugar Hill Gang- “Rappers Delight”), to more lyrically driven content (insert YouTube link to Eric B and Rakim- “Paid In Full”), to finding a brilliant balance of both (insert YouTube link to Jay-z ft UGK- “Big Pimpin”). And then around the mid to late 00’s everything changed. That’s about the time when hip hop tracks morphed into strong hooks and verses consisting of simple indecipherable lyrics and lit ad-libs, with subject matter much more darker and wilder than before.
Where do we go from here then?… A tough question with a simple answer… SUPPORT QUALITY MUSIC! There’s plenty of it still out there. Plenty!!! It’s just harder to find now. Back in the day you used to be able to go to your local bootlegger and they had all the freshest music out, plus all the hot shit that wasn’t on the radio. Now you have to go online and hunt through hundreds of songs on various hip hop blogs/sites online, wasting precious minutes of your life listening to piles and piles of repetitive junk hoping to find a diamond in the rough(I do this often unfortunately… Very frustrating!.
It’s up to us as hip hop fans to not settle for mediocrity and to demand more music of better quality. We can/must make the difference. If we don’t, we may never hear or see hip hop as we’ve known it again.