Sunday, April 5, 2020


Hip Hop Music: Yes, We Get It, Everything Was Better Back in Your Day.

May 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Music is timeless and hip-hop is engrained in our culture—Black culture and yes, American culture. It’s no surprise that people are defensive of hip-hop and hyper critical of it as well. When hip hop rolled to the direction it is now with this new crop of rappers, there were my fans, enthusiasts, historians, and just hip-hop heads who weren’t having it.

I was one of those initially. While I heard Bone Thugs, Biggie, Snoop, Pac, and Nas growing up in the early-90s, I didn’t become a fan of hip-hop until the late-90s. By that time, it wasn’t just about the technical, lyrical ability and grimy East Coast hip-hop or the gangsta rap and g-funk of the West Coast. Southern hip-hop had staked a flag on that mountain and it was taking over. Yes, for the 99 and 2000.

You had the slow, smoke one vibe and Screw music of Houston, Memphis crunk, bounce from New Orleans, an evolution of the Miami sound, and Atlanta getting their hands on crunk and eventually giving us trap. That was what I loved: Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Tommy Wright III, Youngbloodz, Pastor Troy, South Park Coalition, the Geto Boys—that stuff.

Even then, there were purists and enthusiasts who couldn’t get down with it. They loved the mid-80s-early-90s stuff. Which was weird because Southern hip-hop had more in common with the West Coast stuff than anything else. Then again, at some point, we all believe what we heard back in our day was better than what we hear now.

Music Changes

Hip-Hop is living and breathing. It grows. The artists who come in each decade and generation take what they grew up on and what inspired or influenced them and add something different. Now and days, the flows are different but the lyrical content is really untouched from the early-90s.

There are some artists who give us something different lyrically, you might even get something insightful. However, as my young brother will tell you “That’s ain’t the sh** that sales. It won’t get girls shaking their asses in clubs. It’s not the stuff I’d blast down the street.”

He’s not lying either. I dig artists like Macarone, Jasiri X, and Dead Prez. They have songs that you could blast at 30 or 40. Dead Prez’s “They Schools” is one of them. I love Random, Sammus, and Willie Evans who rap about nerd and geek stuff that I’m into. They have songs that can be blasted but a lot of their stuff wouldn’t deliver hits-hits.

I Actually Like This New Stuff

This newer wave of artists, they deliver hits-hits. They figured out a formula that works and while the lyrics might not feed what you want politically or even from a technical or lyrical standpoint, those songs ride. Hell, there were artists we listened to in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s who had songs that absolutely banged that wouldn’t be hits. Usually, that was down to some of it just not being radio friendly. It happens.

It took me a while to get into guys like Trinidad James, Lil Uzi Vert, and 21 Savage. Something about their music didn’t click with me until I actually sat down and went through an album. Some of it still doesn’t hit me the right way while others take me back to being 17 and blaring Three 6 and Project Pat in the living room with my younger brother.

The thing to remember is that, music changes. It’s never going to stay the same. Who knows what hip-hop will morph into in the later part of the 2020s? What we do know is that hip-hop has become more nationalized than it was when we were listening to it. It’s not as regional as it used to be. No one really cares what city an artist claims or who they roll with. It’s nice to know but ultimately no one cares except those from that city.

What we also know is that what we listened to in our youth and what we’ll always be loyal to now that we’re older isn’t what sells any more. Most of those artists are doing features now and release albums that don’t do the same numbers they did in their prime. And you know what? That’s alright. We can still blast that and enjoy it. It doesn’t make them any less of a great rapper or invalidates the music they’re still releasing.

Besides, the young folks listening to this stuff in 2019 will likely be saying the same thing in 2039.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


Comments

One Response to “Hip Hop Music: Yes, We Get It, Everything Was Better Back in Your Day.”
  1. Steph says:

    Interesting article even if I do not agree with everything written. It would have been interesting if we knew the age of the author and if he named some female rappers he enjoyed with his perception of the current ones. For my part, I am from the generation X. I loved hip hop from the 80s and 90s. I loved the female pioneers such as Klymaxx, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Sister Souljah and so on. I think the current so-called women like Nicki Minaj are an embarrassment!!!!

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