Is Rap Music Backpedaling?

I love Fridays if you didn’t already know. Hip Hop/Rap music goes through its phases like any other music genre. The genre has been in a tug-o-war with the mainstream since its inception. Are we doing it for the culture or are we doing it for ourselves? Id it for the love of money or for the love of the sport? Do we want rhymes or do we want vibes? The past ten years of Rap music have been a struggle for the Hip Hop generation and the millennials. You have some that want to teach and some who want to learn the culture’s history and then you have some who don’t care to teach and some who don’t care to learn the history. Listening to too much party Rap has an effect on how a person perceives lyrical Raps. If you listen to nothing but Uzi Vert then listening to Cyhi the Prynce might make your head explode for obvious reasons. There is a lot of room and respect for emcees in today’s Rap landscape due to the fact that there are very few emcees out there but it was only a few years ago when labels, names, and artists were being named dropped to take the fall for the diminished culture. Now you have Rappers like Migos doing more with their rhymes by simply annunciating their words for listener clarification.

A lot of young Rappers who though they were next in line never had their career pop off after their first “hit” and now they have to rethink the trajectory of their career if they can’t really Rap. The industry might be backpedaling at this point. Rap music shunned the culture and called it old but when the culture clapped back the industry got scared. You can’t cut off your nose to spite your face. You can’t get rid of the culture because the culture is the basis for which the industry is built. No culture, no industry. Emcees outside of J. Cole, Kendrick, Big Sean, and Drake are being recognized by Rap and Hip Hop fans because they are getting tired of partying and are looking for substance and context. These same outsiders are courted by industry folks right now but the problem is that they don’t bend like other Rappers. How can you market a strong heterosexual Black man who doesn’t want to collaborate with Taylor Swift or Katy Perry? With Rappers like Kodak Black, Kevin Gates, and Young Thug dealing with legal woes it seems like the industry is losing their top tier so they have to backpedal a little to stay afloat financially.

Now the industry is trying to court those same emcees in hopes of getting them to sign a label deal instead of remaining independent and keeping their integrity. The problem with courting emcees to be Rappers is that once the money comes into play, things change and so do the Raps. Money changes people. Backpedaling is more than simply changing your mind. When you know right from wrong but you choose wrong for personals and/or monetary gain that creates an issue. You have to become a liar, a cheater, a hustler, and a punk all in one and that’s just to survive in the game without being caught. Once the wool is pulled from over an artist’s eye (*coughs* Uzi Vert) and they see the games and manipulation then the buck stops. An artist must always be aware during times of transition and as the landscape of the industry returns to the roots of the culture things will change. Some artist will be made to feel like they aren’t as talented as they really are or that they aren’t as big of a star as they believe they are. If they jump on the next hottest emcee they know this generation of millennials will forget the spoon fed crap they were being fed but the Hip Hop generation will never let them forget. If you’re going to backpedal at least go in the right direction.

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