Joell Ortiz’s titled quote from Slaughterhouse’s interview with Hard Knock TV touches on rap audience’s preoccupation with presentation. I agree with his stance to an extent and I’ll explain in a moment. My reaction to lyrical ability and content are paramount in sifting through music. Image doesn’t matter so much to me currently since everything in the industry, even “real” rappers, is packaged in a way to cater to certain audiences. And, truth be told, presentation has always been a hook to get music out.
Developing a distinct appearance helps reel in fans who end up genuinely liking their music. For instance, Run DMC’s everyman style and appeal resonated with listeners since rappers, at the time, were more likely to wear ornate stage outfits than rock common threads. Moreover, I highly doubt Notorious B.I.G. would get as many initial looks he received if not for his smooth, don-influenced persona put together by Puff. Wu-Tang’s unique assortment of rappers along with their kung fu-influenced-grimy, in your face edge played big roles in enhancing their mystique. There are a myriad of other examples but by now I hope you get the gist.
Music will always need a compelling “face” attached to the product as long as it’s sold. I mean it’s a bit difficult to just be “joe rapper” and expect to make waves. That’s not to say Joell Ortiz said otherwise. If anything rap’s obsession with image nowadays downplays the importance of the rhymes and topics. That’s where things get complicated to say the least. At any rate, the embedded video goes into more detail about the crew’s stances their inspirations and hip-hop’s current status. It’s a worthwhile interview to check out since each member of Slaughterhouse gives their perspective on multiple topics.