This week Hip Hop Culture celebrated our young brother, Kendrick Lamar, after it was announced that he was chosen as the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner in the music category for his album DAMN. The average person may be familiar with the award but let’s be honest, a lot of us didn’t know that the prestigious award could be earned for music. So when the announcement came it was breaking news and we all celebrated via social media sharing our support and admiration for the auditory art. The Pulitzer Prize is an honor known around the world only awarded to those who garner a certain level of integrity and requires true creativity. Not to knock other “creatives” working in the realm of Hip Hop but these type of awards separate the real from the fake and serve as proof as to why certain artists will be with us forever as oppose to those who will only be here for the moment.
Let’s take a look at the recent Billboard Award nominations; “Cash Me Outside Girl” formerly known as Danielle Bregoli but now known as Rapper, Bhad Bhabie. After being noticed by social media on Dr. Phil this young lady has turned an opportunity into a career in Rap music. Why Rap? Because “it’s easy and anybody can do it” especially if they’ve got a good ghostwriter. Now I don’t know any of her music, I’ve never heard it, TIDAL has never suggested it, I’ve never heard her on the radio, and I’ve never seen any videos on YouTube but she is nominated for Best Female Rap Artist along with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. Two major Hip Hop/Rap music announcements in one week that represents two sides of the same coin.
On one hand we have the traditional style of Hip Hop music with an emcee who writes his own rhymes, can freestyle, raps about what’s right and what’s wrong, and has his own style without being preoccupied with what his peers are doing. Then on the other hand we have a rapper that doesn’t write their rhymes, can’t freestyle, raps about vices, and sets a bad example to young fans. This is the Hip Hop dichotomy. This dichotomy is what has the “old heads” and the “new school” at odds on how to go about participating in the culture, the art form, and the music. How things should be versus how we think they should be. Being that we don’t have complete control of the culture we have to remember that history will only tell one side of the story. Which side do you want your great-great-great-great-grandchildren to know?
“That’s Heaven and Hades, Tigris and Euphrates.” –Black Thought (Hot 97 Freestyle)