Ok, so you just heard that new Young Thug song and the first thing you think is “WHAT THE FLYING F*CK?!” Trust me, we understand…
If you talk to a 90’s hip-hop head, his primary complaint is that the music is “too simple” and nobody is really “saying anything”. The problem is that rappers seem to be relying too much on the beat rather than being a cohesive force lyrically. Growing up, when I would play my music around older individuals they would say “That’s not REAL music”, but I would swear up and down that Eminem (’97) was the hottest shit to ever play out of my headphones. I have come to notice however, that I have now become what my fore-generation is to me, to the new generation of fans…
Biggie Smalls is proclaimed as one of the best (if not THE best) rappers in the history of hiphop, but what is the “thing” that he had that today’s artists also have? If your answer is “talent” I would concur, but that is totally subjective especially if you ask the same question on the West Coast.
When a dish is prepared with the right amount of ingredients, we tend to focus on how it tastes, rather than what it is actually made of.
Was Biggie Smalls not just a product of proper marketing to us, as Rick Ross is to the new generation?
When Biggie was putting out music, emcees aspired to rap like him. DJ’s would use his beats on mixtapes and get other rappers to freestyle over BIG’s songs. Everyone bumped him as loud as possible, whenever possible. The question is, how does Rick Ross have that same effect on the younger generation? An artist doesn’t gain social recognition solely based on talent alone, seeing how the most talented emcees are seldom in any type of spotlight. Money and hype are what turn even the most garbage rappers into a cash crop, so when you get an artist who actually has pure skill, you can extract a buttload of cash from a targeted market (Hi Kendrick). That’s the trick for when someone “sells out”. The market that an artist “sells out” to tends to not realize he was “doctored up” specifically for them.
Now, as older individuals, we see the stupid shit that the 90’s babies buy into, just as the generation above us has seen the stupid shit we bought from these complex marketing strategies. Let’s admit it, they got us! Fortunately (for hip-hop, not for him and his family) Frank White didn’t have the chance to make a song with Katy Perry or Justin Timberlake, so we were never allowed the chance to disapprove of the switch. But as you can see, those who were the backbone of hip-hop at one point have made DRASTIC changes to their persona and sound to appease to the new generation of music listeners.
Rap is like sports. As a professional gets older they have to find a way to keep up with the ever-changing conditions and pace that the new generation comes equipped with.
A new sound and direction is like steroids to an older artist. That’s why Styles P will never be as commercially accepted as Jadakiss, because he lacks the ability to transcend into the new “hip-pop” cultural perspective. That’s why Red and Meth cannot for the life of them make a DECENT BlackOut! continuation , but Kanye puts out “808’s and Heartbreaks” (OMG don’t even get me started) and then “Yeezus” (No Comment) and the world goes crazy. Biggie Smalls would have had too much monetary backing to not make certain changes and would be right alongside Jay-Z (Stop. Just… No.) in terms of artist development. At the end of the day, when you have the ability to become richer and more popular than you ever imagined, you are faced with the choice to either stay stagnant or move forward. Unfortunately, moving forward usually means “moving away” from the core fan base that brought you success, ultimately by reaching out to a larger audience using a broader approach. Hip-hop has started moving forward in this sense and is becoming richer and more popular than ever imagined. It has too much monetary backing to not make the changes necessary to reach a larger audience. The artists you love and the artists you hate are all components to a bigger scheme of things, and even if what is being sold today isn’t for you, best believe it’s being bought elsewhere. Don’t hate, congratulate. The relationship was mutual: They sold you a piece of history that is forever embedded in the core of your being, and in return, you gave them money. The cycle repeats. We are now the Disposable Minority to the Profitable Majority but rest assured, the new generation will one day understand our pain. F*ck it.