Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Struggle is at the Core of Hip-Hop.

November 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Hip-Hop began as a genre that was able to embody hardship, pain, and struggle. Granted it there are exceptions to every rule, but most of the rap artist that have been deemed legendary came from pain. Their art was engulfed by their struggle. So many are able to identify with Hip-Hop because they can find themselves…their struggle and a story about through various different artists. In addition to the struggle there was usually a coping mechanism in the lyrics. It is understandable that every vice used to cope wasn’t a positive one, but it was a direct by-product of the struggle itself. This is necessary to key in on because some of the artists our today force Hip-Hop heads to push against accepting the new sound of the day.

It is true that Hip-Hop is a genre that has evolved over time, but the bars have always matters. This is not an issue of whether conscious, fun, or gangster rap is best. Growing up I was a fan of KRS-ONE, Kid N Play, and NWA. The problem we tend to see today is everyone is deemed “relevant” because they have seemed to overcome hardship in their life. It seems hardship has become more of a validator than dope lyrics. I don’t mean mumble rap…but actual solid bars.

I’m aware that any criticism of the current artists such as Desiigner, 21 Savage, Migo, or Cardi B is met with some degree of hostility by fans. However, the problem is they have a style that seems to threaten what we understand Hip-Hop to represent. It all seems like one big copycat session by which there is no understanding as to why they are even on the mic. Everyone sounds alike, and the mumbling is ridiculous. Furthermore, when it comes to female artists it seems that all the she needs is a story of overcoming hardship, and we are now listening to the new best thing. No one is arguing whether Cardi B had a rough past, but this is Hip-Hop do at least 80% of the artist have a past. “Bodak Yellow” had an awesome track, and it was catchy.

However, I am still pondering the idea of “bloody shoes”, and it felt like a ball of contradictions when I was listening. The contradiction didn’t seem to play the role of a literary term that sided in the storytelling of the lyrics…it just existed. Yes, on social media she seems hilarious, and many feel she is real. However, it does come off as a bit of overkill to validate a realness that doesn’t have to be so hard. Yet none of this justifies why one should be a fan when just looking to the music. The same can be said for “Bad and Boujee”, catchy, but apparently, they have no concept of what “Boujee” really is. We can barely understand what’s being said…and the bars are terrible.

Thank God for artists like Kendrick Lamar, Big Krit, and J Cole because without them this generation of Hip-Hop would truly feel dead. We find ourselves kept by new albums from artist we have known for decades such as: Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, Common, Nas, and Jay-Z. The torch hasn’t truly been passed in a sense. The struggle of Hip-Hop is still being told more from previous artists, some of who are now in their 40’s. Overcoming struggle, and keeping it real vital parts of the soul of Hip-Hop.

It is necessary for many of the up and coming artists to understand what that soul means to our people. They need to find a voice that will transcend time, and realize this is more than immediate materialistic gain. Struggle is not a validation…it is what qualifies the artist as the listener must be able to relate to the music. New artists must take a moment to realize the power of their words on wax, or we will lose a generation as they chase an illusion while listening to one.

Staff Writer; Larry Jackson

LJ is an old school poet, new school writer… Also the “Web Admin” for the following blogs; ThyBlackMan, ThySistas, and BlackFitness101

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