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Mixed Signals

As my Instagram followers may know I am in Vegas writing this piece for you Hip Hop heads. Can’t stop, won’t stop! So I was on the plane enroot to Las Vegas and I played with the touch screen to check out what music they might have had available to stream during the flight. Under the Hip Hop genre there were only a few albums and some of them weren’t new but that’s not the point. There was J. Dilla, Saul Williams, Bilal, and a name I had never heard or seen. If you’re not familiar with any of those artists I suggest you do yourself a favor and do some research but the mixing of artists in certain categories is a problem within Rap music. The first thing a young Rapper will say is “don’t put me in a box” or “don’t label me” but it creates a problem for the genre, streaming platforms, and award recognitions. “Rappers” like Lil Uzi Vert don’t even want to be known as a Rapper even though they “Rap”. I know, crazy right?

During an award show especially the awards that aren’t Hip Hop focused or have any knowledge of the culture the genres become blurred and lines get crossed. Rap is pop music because Black culture in general is popular but when I see Chris Brown and Trey Songz categorized as Hip Hop when there’s no R&B category there’s an issue. Some people may have a problem with it but if you’re Rapping you need to be in the Rap category. If you’re singing you need to be in the Rhythm & Blues section. Are some artists afraid to be in the R&B category because they know their skillset is not that of a Jill Scott? Is that why they categorize her as Neo-Soul? They moved all of the R&B acts to Neo-Soul so the new age Rappers can win with a melody? (I know for a fact that none of these Rappers can outdo Jilly from Philly) I bet you your favorite young Rapper doesn’t know the music scales. They haven’t studied music only the aesthetic of being a Rapper. You’re either a Rapper or a singer and since most of the younger artists don’t know how to sing they are sadly in the Rap category. When you’re born you are either a boy or a girl and you can’t be both unless you’re one of the few with a special medical condition. So if you’re not one of the few Rappers that actually know how to vocalize you should probably give it up and just focus on becoming a better Rapper.

While every Rapper is trying to sing they are shutting out real singers and vocalists like Anthony Hamilton, Jazmine Sullivan, and SZA. Why wouldn’t you want to get a real singer to sing on your record? Then maybe you can give them a feature verse on one of their records. I know it’s all about keeping all of your money and not wanting to pay anyone, but why? Capitalism? Greed? If you’re trapped in a 360 deal why does it matter? Is that what the label reps told you? That you should just sing on the record yourself so you can keep the money as if they aren’t getting any bread off of you or your likeness. Young Rappers don’t keep letting the label gas you and fans you need to stop gassing these artists and keep it 100! You can’t sing without that auto-tune and you can barely Rap! S/O to The Last Poets. Stop sending mixed signals by singing and calling it Rap. Stop sending mixed signals with the way you dress. Stop sending mixed signals to your fans as if you care about the culture. Stop sending mixed signals to yourself knowing that you’re only hustling them out of their money; just go on and do something else outside of Hip Hop Culture.

“Hear my words or listen to my signal of distress” -J. Cole (Love Yourz)