As with a lot of my posts this one is inspired by commentary of other people. To give credit where credit is due, I saw Danny Brown first make this point in an interview he did with The Fader. However this ideology was really solidified by a friend of mine @atmikedenny. A guy who can rattle off a library of punk rock/90′s rap comparisons for days. My buddy Mike took a leave of absence from rap for the past couple of years. So when a guy like him starts hitting me on DM about rap again…I take notice. Below are some of the hip hop deductions I have made as of late.
Rap is pretty much where hair metal was in the late 80′s. In the 1990′s and even in the early 2000′s rap was very much like punk rock. It was raw, in your face, and cut throat. The fans of the genre embraced that, and created a rebellious element to the culture of hip-hop in general. But as with punk rock, the hyper masculinity became almost ironic. The hardcore imagery got played out and became financially legitimate enough for the culture vultures to come in and create an environment that disgruntled fans. The bubble popped and that hardcore element became very commercial and got exploited.
So rap kind of went the other way in recent years. Rap became a lot more emotional, and definitely a lot less masculine. It became a lot more visually “loud”. Hip-Hop became very celebrity oriented and metaphorically “Black Hollywood”. Just look at most of the prominent hip hop artists right now. To be honest this change was something that had to happen to the genre. I’m not mad at this evolution and I have been a big advocate of much of the music that some of these artists have made. However, this Renaissance also happened in the digital era. An era in which trends turn over quicker than ever. There are things like twitter and blogs, and these outlets have put a magnifying glass on these artists. So when that sun starts beating down on that glass some of these artists get cooked…quickly.
So what the f*ck is really my point? I guess my point is that I see a change in the culture on the horizon. Much of this hair metal wave has been fueled by these major labels’ desperation to stay afloat and make monetizeable music. However it’s looking like a lot of these labels are beyond repair, and the desperation of their moves is evident to most people within the culture. Plus I feel like some hip hop fans are ready to do the Al Gore flip-flop. Like I said I was a big champion of the techno/emo/hipster rap wave or whatever you want to call it. To be perfectly honest I’m just flipping sides now. I think this change includes the new approach artists are utilizing. There is also another element of the culture bubbling right now.
I think this “real” street sh*t might be making a comeback. The streets are finally starting to figure out the internet and how to utilize it. This is coming from someone who a year ago was mainly listening to emotional Drake mixtapes and Wiz Khalifa indie rock rap compositions. Because as of late this rap nerd has been spending the majority of his free time smoking dope and watching videos from artists like Boldy James, Fat Trel, Alley Boy & Trouble. Just lots of face tattoos and what I call “fried bologna rap”. Street music has always been popular and/or relevant. However I actually believe this new wave of artists. Rick Ross is obviously killing it right now, but unlike this guy Trouble, he isn’t haunting my dreams. These guys aren’t claiming to be drug lords. They are claiming to be surviving in America. Because in 2011 that can be an accomplishment in itself.
So it really comes down to this question. Who is going to be hip-hop’s symbolic Nirvana? The lane is wide open. Someone just has to own it.