So, what is it that hip-hop needs now? There are a few things actually. Firstly, the people- me, you and everyone else; it’s up to us to stand up and say what we want from hip-hop! If we don’t want this pathetic mumble rap and other top 40 garbage everywhere, then we need to do something about it, because if we don’t, then that’s all we’re ever going to get. We need to stop listening to this music, stop promoting it, stop sharing it; Just ignore it altogether. If we don’t give it the publicity that it needs to be successful then it will hopefully start to die down. It comes back to we need to stop making stupid people famous for stupid things!
Even though we can’t control what gets put out there on the radio, if we stop listening to and sharing what is out there then we can try to change what the radio stations and music channels are playing for us. They base what they are playing on popularity and what is going to bring in the biggest audience and thus make them the most money. Therefore, if we ‘the people’ stop tuning in for this crap then maybe things can start to change.
We also have to try and educate our friends on the topic, because some people are unaware the effect they can have when every individual’s behaviour is added together. Others are just unaware of what hip-hop really is meant to be, so we need to show them what it truly is! We need to change people’s perceptions of hip-hop and change how they approach it too. We need to look elsewhere to find our music idols, because the ones that we are seeing on the radio and music channels are generally not the ones we should be idolising.
Secondly we also need the real artists to shine again! But they can’t do this without our help, which it why if we don’t change then there’s no hope for the real musicians out there. We can keep listening to our old school 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s hip-hop because for us old school hip-hop heads, it will never get old. However, this won’t change what is happening to the next generation of music and the next generation of listeners. But, there are actually still artists out there making music that are not conforming to the status quo. This is who we should be looking for, listening to, requesting, streaming and sharing to try and help make real artists famous once again.
If you are looking for these real artists who are putting out new music amongst today’s garbage I would start with these three: J Cole (if that is not obvious enough by one of my previous posts), Kendrick Lamar, and last but definitely not least Lupe Fiasco! All of these three speak on real issues, aren’t afraid to speak the truth and call out what is wrong with society. They are a testament to old school hip-hop, thus if you want real, then start here; but if you want happy, fun and catchy songs then just turn on your radio like all the other sheep.
After the past few weeks talking about rap beefs and everyone trying to take each other down, I thought maybe its time to take it back to what hip-hop was originally about, which is the words that are written and spoken. Hip-hop is not just music, which it what many people think, its actually starts with the lyrics and poetry behind it!
When thinking about this, the first person that comes to mind here is Tupac. Yes, the one and only! Many of you may be unaware that in his time Tupac didn’t just write rap lyrics, but also a lot of poetry. After his death, there was a book released ‘The Rose that grew from Concrete’; which is a book complied of all the original poems he has written, and it’s even in his own handwriting. Many years ago, when I was first getting into hip-hop, I had a close family member buy the book for me, which helped to show and teach me where music was actually coming from. In reading the book, you can see his heart and honest emotions; its so real being written in his own writing because you can really feel his happiness, sadness, pain and anger.
This is the poem ‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ which would likely be his most well-known poem and what the book is named after.
Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete
Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned 2 walk without having feet
Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams it learned 2 breathe fresh air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete, when no one else even cared!
However, here is one of my favourite ones that he wrote called ‘And 2morro’. It really spoke to me when I was younger, and still does today. It’s one of those poems that just sticks in your head if you know what I mean? After not hearing it for years I could still remember every word and how I felt reading it.
Today is filled with anger
Fuelled with hidden hate
Scared of being outcast
Afraid of common fate
Today is built on tragedies
which no one wants 2 face
Nightmares 2 humanities
and morally disgraced
Tonight is filled with rage
Violence in the air
Children bred with ruthlessness
Because no one at home cares
Tonight I lay my head down
But the pressure never stops
gnawing at my sanity
content when I am dropped
But 2morrow I c change
A chance 2 build anew
Built on spirit, intent of heart
and ideals based on truth
And 2morrow I wake with second wind
And strong because of pride
2 know I fought with all my heart 2 keep my dream alive
There’s one last poem I thought I should share called ‘ Sometimes I Cry’, its rather sad but very true in today’s world, even though it wasn’t written for today’s reality, it appears some things don’t change even after 20 plus years.
Sometimes when I’m alone
I cry because I’m on my own
The tears I cry R bitter and warm
They flow with life but take no form
I cry because my heart is torn
and I find it difficult 2 carry on
If I had an ear 2 confide in
I would cry among my treasured friends
But who do u know that stops that long
To help another carry on
The world moves fast and it would rather pass u by
than 2 stop and c what makes u cry
It’s painful and sad and sometimes I cry
and no one cares about why.
So, after reading the last three poems, I hope I have opened up your mind to the words, feelings and emotions behind what real musicians write. This shows just how real Tupac was, he wrote about life, and the truth; whether it was good, bad or ugly. The problem was back then that a lot of people didn’t want to hear the truth which is why hip-hop faced such an upward battle back in the 80’s and 90’s. However, after reading this I hope it will make some people take a second look at others rather than just judging people based on what they look like. Tupac was more than a rapper, he was a real artist. He was something rare that I don’t know if we will ever see again.
Here’s what the book looks like for any of you who are interested:
Well after last week’s beef between Eminem and MGK, which is just heating up; it has brought up conversation about other hip-hop beefs, who has made the best diss tracks and who has ended whose career. Now its too early to tell whether Eminem has lyrically killed MGK yet as that is an ongoing battle, however Eminem fans will tell you that MGK won’t be around for much longer. This is shown by Eminem’s past track record, he’s gone up against other artists such as: Mariah Carey, Ja-Rule, Everlast, Limp Bizkit, Benzino, Iggy Azalea and Canibus. Now who have you heard of, and who is still putting out music? Its safe to say who won those battles; so maybe MGK should look back at the past to see what his future will be.
So, who had the biggest beef in hip-hop? Tupac vs Biggie, Ice Cube vs NWA, Dr Dre vs Eazy E, Nas vs Jay-Z, The Game vs G-Unit, 50 Cent vs Ja-Rule, Eminem vs, well anyone? Well, arguably I would say the biggest beef in hip-hop has to be Tupac vs Biggie because even after more than twenty years since they were both killed they still dominate the sound of old school hip-hop, their fans are still arguing over the two of them and still pick sides of the war. These two were both kings of hip-hop in their own ways and most hip-hop fans will have either one of them in their top three rappers of all time which goes to show the impact they have had on the industry. It is impossible to say who won this war between them as it is more of a subjective argument to who you prefer as they are both on the same lyrical level. Me, I prefer Tupac 100 percent, but that’s just my personal view due to who I grew up listening too. The facts here are that neither of them could end the others career because they both had so much talent and passion behind what they were doing.
The same cannot be said for rap beefs nowadays. When someone old school like Remy Ma comes at (new school) Nicki Minaj in a beef, she comes strong with two diss tracks. But the way Nicki fires back is by getting her friends on a track to diss Remy. This is pathetic, it destroyed all her credibility in my eyes (not that I respected her in the first place). But how can you enter into a rap battle with someone, thinking you’re the best and can out-rap them, when you can’t lyrically take on someone on your own? The difference here is that would kill her career in the eyes of true rap fans, however the rap fans of today don’t seem to care about that or respect the unwritten rules of hip-hop, battle rap, and diss tracks.
Out of these rap beefs over the years come some lyrical geniuses, and some great diss tracks. Now everyone’s got a different opinion on which is better, but it always brings a good debate! One of my personal favourites is by The Game. His song 300 Bars and Runnin’ is a fifteen minute long diss against 50 cent and his group G-Unit. Its just shot after shot at them, its non-stop lyrical bars, its not focused on being a top 40 hit or making a perfect song, it’s about what its meant to be. You would struggle to find many other rappers who can do this for fifteen minutes straight, so I have a lot of respect for The Game since he made this.
I also can’t miss out Eminem’s song Nail in the coffin, it completely buried Benzino! There was no way for Benzino to come back in the rap game after that song. I then have to give a special shout out to Tupac’s song Hit ‘Em Up, Ice-Cube’s song No Vaseline and Nas’s song Ether. To me these are all classic diss tracks that represent the true meaning of lyricism and battling for the crown! These are all songs made by true rap legends who have earned their place in the game through their skill and rhymes. They all fought the hard way to get to the top and have never had anything handed to them unlike the rappers do nowadays.
What do you think?
Well after what’s been happening in hip-hop this week, I thought it was only fitting to write about Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly.
Now Eminem is someone I would still consider to be an old school hip-hop artist, he was in the later part of the old school music, but he still belongs in this category. He came up on the music scene in the late 90’s and grew his career through the early 2000’s but he came up with other old school legends like Dr Dre which is likely why he has always had that old school flow to him. He has then grown to legend status over the years and has now claimed the tittle ‘Rap God’, which hasn’t really been challenged; even true legends like Redman, Rakim, Nas and Snoop Dogg respect his game and have openly declared they wouldn’t come up against him. People couldn’t deny his success when he lyrically killed Jay Z on his own song Renegade.
He would likely appear in most real hip-hop heads top five, or at least top ten. Yes, Eminem is in my top five rappers, however I have been bitterly disappointed with a lot of his more recent music. Its not the same as it used to be, he seems to have fallen off his game for a while now. But in listening to his new album ‘Kamikaze’ that he released this past week, it has some old feel to it, it feels like he’s coming back strong, which is exactly what the hip-hop industry needs nowadays.
One of his new songs ‘Not Alike’, he’s taken some shots at some shitty new generation rappers. This then caused a fire back from MGK who he took shots at for talking about his daughter Hailey. MGK’s song ‘Rap Devil’, while I’ll admit has some good wordplay in it, just isn’t on the same level as Eminem, its basic wordplay with some auto tune thrown in there.
Here’s Eminem’s first shot at MGK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCCQVu5wroM
(not the best quality)
Here’s MGK’s fire back to Eminem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp0BScQSSvg
The whole hip-hop industry is now watching and commenting on the new beef between the two of them, everyone is now waiting for Eminem’s diss track to be fired back as we all think (well most of us) that he will completely burry MGK. What was MGK thinking going up against a rap god? He must know there’s absolutely no way he can win this one! Unless this was only a PR stunt to get people speaking his name; because let’s face it, does anyone really know who he is, and does anyone really care about him? Ha, not really, so I guess from his perspective it has at least got people speaking his name and raised people’s awareness of him, regardless of whether it’s in a good way or not. Well for now we’re just waiting for Eminem’s reply that will likely end his career.
The great thing to come out of this is that it is bringing real rap back. Its taking away from the current crappy mumble rap that’s everywhere around us and has people listening to music for what is actually being said. These battles that are coming are hopefully going to put real hip-hop back on the map!
Have your say: