Usually when people have complaints they go through the appropriate channels to have their concerns resolved. The music industry doesn’t really have that. If there’s a problem with the label an artist can talk to his manager or the label’s A&R person to fix things that they see as an issue. However, if someone is stealing your style and image who do you talk to? Who was the first new rapper to wear locs? Who colored their locs first? Who wore “skinny jeans” first? Who popularized homosexuality in Hip Hop? Who is responsible for the current trends in the culture? There are a few names that come to mind when answering the aforementioned questions but now a couple of those artists are upset that someone is biting their style. Well, when you don’t give other’s credit for “inspiring” you this is the result. A lot of the new rappers are trying to look different by looking and sounding like someone else. Elvis copied MANY Black artists and popularized Rock N Roll when he was made the face of the Black music genre.
It seems like a lot of what the older Hip Hop heads have been trying to say the “middle-aged” Rappers are starting to see with the newer artists. Joey BADA$$, A$AP Rocky, Fat Joe, and Nicki Minaj have expressed their concerns about people copying their style or someone else’s swag. I haven’t heard from Lil Wayne or Bun B complain. We’ve heard Lil Kim’s concerns and complaints several years ago. It was all good for the newbies until someone started taking their swag. It was okay to “borrow” or pay homage to another artist that inspired you but you’re mad because it’s happening to you? My how the tables have turned! The money involved in promoting an artist is not as long as it used to be so a lot of labels push their artists to do what others are doing because it’s working for them. The complaints come in when the newer artist start making more money than the one they’re copying.
So now when someone is doing something better than you or tailoring your style to their audience you’re mad and run to social media to vent your frustrations. Being different is popular. Punk Emo Rap is the new wave just don’t forget to dye your hair. Most of these new rappers have a bunch of music but only one song so when their buzz fizzles out they fall into a drug induced depression and cry out to their fans on social media. Fans today enable the artists and blow up their ego so when the success bubble bursts they don’t know who they are without their fans telling them. A lot of these artists are young and don’t know how to channel their emotions appropriately so all we see are tantrums and fits. Granted they may be warranted but don’t say we didn’t try to warn you. The problems that you all are complaining about caused a ripple effect within the rap music industry. Being different means being yourself regardless of what is seen as popular. Colored locs, tight clothes, and androgyny won’t get you into the Hip Hop History books only lyrics can do that.
“Follow my steps is the road to success.” –Jay Z (Swagga Like Us)