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I’ve got a question asking about is hip-hop or is rap dead. Let’s start by defining these terms out a bit – hip-hop is generally accepted to be a broader movement including things like graffiti, dj’ing and breakdancing. I’m definitely not an expert on these topics and the social movement as a whole, so I’m going to place my focus in the realm of rap.
Now, speaking about rap – when people say it’s garbage or dead or anything else of the sort, it’s certainly misguided. It’s the equivalent of saying country music is horrible, which I do often. Is that because country music is actually horrible? No, it’s obviously a way for me to express my opinion because it doesn’t fit my preferences. I don’t understand or appreciate that style of music enough to understand the state of the art as a whole.
The same thing happens with rap music. Random people with little knowledge of the craft say it sucks or individuals whose preferred style of music isn’t played on the radio anymore. Only a specific type of music makes it into radio circuits most of the time – it needs to be catchy and popular. There’s a huge range of reasons why a song does or doesn’t end up heard often, but it certainly shouldn’t be taken as indicative of everything available from the genre.
As of right now, mumble rap or whatever you want to call it is fairly popular. It’s a style without much lyricism or even clear pronunciation. Personally, this isn’t a style that resonates with me. Oh no, raip is dead. Except, thinking back – a vast majority of what is played on the radio or in clubs hasn’t appealed to me much. Maybe rap was never alive to begin with? Or maybe we can dig a little deeper than just the 4 songs you hear repeated on the radio over and over.
If anything, rap is more alive than ever. Why? Because more individuals have the ability to have their voices heard. It’s easier and less expensive to make music. You have more opportunity to find the specific genre and niche that appeals to you. You can build an audience base using social media without ever going through a gatekeeper.
Another point to consider – what’s popular in a certain genre of music will continue to adapt and evolve. It’s inevitable. We’ve seen this over the entire course of rap music’s history. The first handful of rappers are nothing like current rappers – even the higher regarded ones like kendrick lamar. Does this mean that rap is now bad? Or that the past rappers were worse? It doesn’t mean either, it just means we’ve moved into a different era of rap.
Last thing I’ll say on the topic – rap has always had lyrical heavyweights and meaningless feel-good music. While what’s most popular and the form it takes might be different, change is not indicative of death, if anything, it’s indicative of life. While people are still listening to rap and learning to create more, it’s still alive. I don’t think we need to worry about the current state as much as we need to work on creating the future evolution. Support the artists you care about, make your own music, and keep building – don’t worry about the parts you don’t like.
That’s all for this video, feel free to ask questions in the comment box below. You can also check out RapBetter.com, which is a community dedicated to creating better rappers.
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