My Relationship Woes with Hip Hop

Chris Rock said once, I love rap music, but I’m tired of defending it,” and as I get older and have entered different areas of work & life where Hip Hop is not a predominant genre of choice for most people, I understand where he’s coming from. Now mind you, he said this in 2004 when the South had started its takeover and the essence of music that was more of a stream of consciousness, started to get geared as more of a party/turn up vibe that still has a lingering effect today; maybe not even lingering, but very much so in your face. To the degree where at times, I’ve found it overbearing.

Now, I enjoy myself whenever music comes on, if I’m at a party, when I’m taking transit, or in the comfort of my own home, but as Hip Hop (the most evolving genre of music) grows, I also grow, but I’ve felt myself become more distant with it as a whole because the quality of music has somehow lost its substance and outside of those that I consider my favourites, nothing hits my soul like it used to. Many people say that this is the ‘Microwave Era’ of music, and you listen to what you like, regardless of when it dropped, so that’s not wholeheartedly true, but whether on the mainstream level or even ‘on-the-bubble,’ there’s a lot of music that just sounds alike, and not too much variety if you’re looking for specific sounds to appease you. Artists who stretch out beyond what people’s expectations are of them, are the ones who are appreciated. It’s why people love Kanye, Kendrick, Anderson. Paak (he’s certainly made an impact), Drake, and Chance the Rapper, just to name a few (don’t tell me I missed anyone, because I’m just going off the top of my head).

There are so many artists out that I’ve listened to that have a similar approach, delivery, and sound, that I really question to people how something is good, or how they can differentiate between two artists who sound like carbon copies of other artists who’ve been around for less than 5 years. And also, it’s the acceptance of mediocrity. Far too many excuses like. I understand the importance of being entertained, but there has to be some balance. The cop-out that is often expressed is, “I don’t care about bars, but the music is dope.” To each their own, and I pass no judgment to those who have their specific tastes in music. I was raised to have an open mind and was encouraged to form my own opinion, but there are just certain things that I don’t sit well with. Having microwaved meals is cool here and there, but I need to be satisfied, and the lack of that lately has really shifted me into listening to older music to ‘cleanse’ myself of the stains of most of today’s music, and immerse myself in the originality that inspired the genre that I love today. The keyword in that sentence: originality. I understand that everything is inspired by something, but in terms of breaking the mold and forming your own unique sound that sets you apart, I haven’t heard much of that, and I don’t want to buy the excuse that not everyone can do it.

We, the consumers, should be allowed to hold up a standard of quality that doesn’t have us continually saying “it might be bad now, but trust me it’s good.” When did it come to this? I’m trying not to be the old guy in the room (I’m not even old, so I’ll fight you too), but it’s hit somewhat of a lull where I’ve become detached from Hip Hop. Whether that shifts or not, that’s to be determined, and when I’m at whatever venue, that’ll be most likely the only points in time where I’ll listen to a lot of the new music. But as of right now, Hip Hop and I are in some turmoil. We’ll get right at some point – I hope so, at least.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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