During the early years of Hip Hop Culture and Rap music it was harder for people in other countries to get a hold of the culture. There were no radio stations or music channels that played Hip Hop/Rap and there definitely were no concerts happening overseas just yet. Somehow, Monie Love and Slick Rick got a whiff of what the young Black and Brown kids were doing in the states and the rest is history. Come with me now into 2016 where a real Emcee is not as appreciated as they once were. It’s no secret that emcees, dee jays, and the like still tour and make more than enough money rocking shows in Japan, Europe, and elsewhere simply because they aren’t over saturated like they are here in the states. You can listen to their music, watch their social media, and see them in concert whereas they don’t have the luxury of seeing their favorite emcee as often as they’d like to.
What many artists have done is relocate to the countries where they are appreciated and can continue making a decent living in a country where the radio isn’t monopolized by one entity. From Yasiin Bey living in South Africa to Jeru the Damaja and The Alkoholiks living in Europe Hip Hop emcees may “retire” in Europe to ensure the longevity of their craft. Hip Hop is art so why not move to a place where you can be appreciated and not live under a microscope. These emcees can perform freely without any worries about whether or not the radio is going to play their music or any of the other politics that compromise the art form. They can do shows knowing that they are going to sell out every venue and that the fans are there for pure poetry and substance. No rhymes about hoes, heavy 808s, and boombap-less beats, pure Hip Hop. With that said; how many others will join them as they “age out” of Hip Hop? Will Drake go back to Canada never to return? Will Andre 3000, Jay Electronica, J. Cole, or anybody else that’s hot right now leave us for a better life as an emcee in another country?
Will Kendrick Lamar move to Senegal? Cuba is an option for some! How would you feel if Jay Z moved to Brazil and never looked back? Nas could leave us for Australia and we could do nothing. Some Rappers I’m sure we wouldn’t mind if they moved to another country and never did music again but we are appreciative of all the wrong things which is why some emcees relocate. Hip Hop was once about the poetics, uplifting others, authenticity, and talent compared to now Hip Hop is now about nonstop fun, demeaning others, lies, sex, money, and drugs. So where would the latter fit? Hip Hop is now a career path. No matter how bad your Rap is there is someone somewhere willing to promote it and usually you have to sacrifice the Black & Brown community to do so. Doing international shows is when some Rappers realize they made it but to live overseas means you made it out.