it’s safe to say that hip-hop has reached its Emo Era. rappers, for the first time on a major scale, are extremely comfortable expressing their darkest thoughts and lowest emotions. good for them!
for a while, it seemed the only way for a hip-hop artist to be in touch with his emotions was to feel the pain of chewing on rocks and spitting out sand. or, some would express feelings of betrayal or mistrust (mostly about women) while brooding about selling the next kilo, or shooting the next clip. not only did that ring false, it became trite and narrow. besides, some of the biggest “masculine” icons in hip-hop (tupac, dmx, ghostface) are teary-eyed messes on their best songs.
as with most shifts, however, the pendulum only reaches the median when momentum swings it from one polar end to the other. presently, the rappers with the most blatant — and sometimes contrived — expressions of emotion are rewarded in kind by an audience now quite familiar with the Rapper’s Lament. the way to keep pace is to both out-brag and out-complain your fellow MC. rappers believe that they are chronically “slept-on,” tremendously undervalued, while also declaring that they’re the Best and it’s undisputed.
they are the emotional equivalent of hormonal sophomores throwing unprovoked tantrums.
the paradox here is that it makes sense. in terms of popular music, rappers are an endangered species fighting to stay alive as sales go extinct. it stands to reason that they are a little defensive and weepy about the State of Affairs. here is a visual guide to your favorite rappers and the moments they #caughtfeelings over public criticism and bitter rivals.