Let’s start with a bait & switch. If you thought this would be a defense of Lil Yatchy, you’re dead wrong. Dead ass wrong. He sucks. I’d rather listen to a CD of tugboat sounds than hear him rap. God, he’s awful. As awful as he is, though, he isn’t bad for hip-hop. You are.
Hip-hop in 2017 definitely isn’t your father’s hip-hop. It sounds different, it looks different. People even consume it differently. Just how our parents didn’t understand “what the hell a Snoop Doggy Dog is”, we (also, I, as a 28-year-old) can’t expect to understand everything that’s going on in the game today. It’s also unfair to the up and coming rappers to hold them to antiquated standards.
The 90s is clearly the Golden Age of hip-hop. Just look at 1996 alone. The Score, Reasonable Doubt, ATLiens, It Was Written were all released during this year! Since classics were being released at such a high volume, we tend to only remember the good times. Ask anyone what they think about the NBA in the 90s? Or 90s R&B? Surely, all the answers will be the same. “It’s great! Better than today!”. Even with the Golden era, we tend to forget that everything wasn’t golden.
Nostalgia provides a euphoric feeling. It’s a safe place to escape to when times get rough. We remember the bygone era of 25 cent Little Debbie cakes. We remember watching Rap City after school. Nostalgia is also blinding because we forget all the bad shit. Here lies the point: Hip-hop isn’t whacker now than it as ever been. There has always been whack shit. There always will be.
The problem comes from balance. There has always been a Lil Yatchy to bear the cross of whackness and fans of “real hip-hop” seem to want to fight this battle more than advocating for artists they like. This is totally counterproductive because all press is good press and yaddi yaddi yadda. By giving attention to things you don’t like, you’re actually adding to the conversation.
I used to be guilty of this myself but I realized why should I waste time talking about what I hate when I can focus on what I love? Hip-hop is a melting pot of different subgenres. There’s no such thing as “real hip-hop”. There’s no such thing as hip-hop in its purest form. We’re experiencing a boom in the culture and the genre will only get more diverse as time passes.
So instead of talking about whack shit, focus on what you like.
Talk about how Oddisee released the best lyrical display of the year.
Talk about how Joey Bada$$ released a socially aware album at the perfect time.
Talk about how refreshing Smino’s music is.
And please, talk about how you think Kendrick Lamar is the best rapper alive without striking a cold war between him and other popular rappers.
If there is any lesson to draw from my unless opinion, it’s to let the youth do what they do. We don’t understand their moves. People didn’t understand ours. Allow hip-hop to progress or it’ll remain stagnant.
Have some chicken today and visit your local record store. God bless.