Every Memorial Day Weekend I write about emcees who have passed and have been soldiers in this section for the music industry. The legends of our time who are no longer here with us but for this special edition weekend blog I think I want to get into the future of Rap music. Young rappers today are shying away from label deals and are more focused on touring, fashion, and being a “brand”. Before the culture was monetized the brand was to simply be a dope emcee with your own individual image and persona. Now the brand includes fashion and selling merch at shows but will an artist’s brand last well beyond its years? Even Grandmaster Caz admits the style in the earliest years of Hip Hop Culture was not something he’d wear today despite the look being “high fashion”. It seems that there are a lot of new Rappers that are using Rap music to start their careers in fashion or to just do something different altogether.
Lil Uzi is going around telling people that he’s a rock star and not a Rapper, which I can agree with as far as his image and likeness goes because he doesn’t have any hits yet. (XO TOUR Llif3 is not a hit, sorry) Nothing is wrong with someone wanting to achieve a certain level of success but using Rap music to do so is lame and misleading to young people and fans of the culture. That just shows you how easy people think it is to Rap and become an overnight success! The “gatekeepers” who keep allowing this to happen are only worried about one thing, their own pockets. They don’t care about the culture or a legacy that we built up from the ground of a burning building in the Bronx. They are using these artists to cash in and then pass that money on to their kids. The only way to elevate ourselves and the culture we have to stop memorializing these artists as Rappers. We might have to give in to having subgenres of Hip Hop music. The idea was shunned years ago but if they all just want to be “rock stars” or “pop stars” then we need to let them do that but they need to relinquish their use or misuse of Rap music.
We have to give props to those who deserve it and believe y’all a lot of these Rappers ain’t worth it. We have to go out and support movies like “All Eyez on Me” and preserve visual memorials like the Biggie murals in Brooklyn. We have to make sure that Phife’s name stays on Linden Blvd. That is the best way to memorialize those who have made a significant contribution to the culture. How would you like to be memorialized when you leave this place? Would you do everything you did as a young person today in 2017? I keep reiterating to everyone that we cannot keep giving out this “immediate praise” because we could be wrong about some things and put our foot in our mouths. We contribute to the demise of the culture when allow and accept the foolishness. Remember, they look to us for culture and to define what is “cool” and “not cool” and a lot of these new young Rappers aren’t cool.
“This life goes passing you by. It might go fast if you lie.” –Lupe Fiasco