In the world that is hip hop, perception is everything. But are you seeing the reality or are you seeing what they want you to see??
Here are 5 big time realities about hip hop and the people in it:
Rappers are no longer “gangsters,” “thugs,” and former “drug dealers.” They’re pretty normal guys. In case you haven’t realized, you don’t have to be a thug to be a successful rapper these days. Thanks to the unprecedented success of rapper Kanye West, the game has changed. Street cred is no longer required for respect in the hip hop world. Actually being talented counts for something more and more these days. 15 years ago, Drake singing and rapping about women and his feelings would have had him laughed out of the studio by record execs and rappers alike. But now guys like J. Cole, Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar are able to make it in this game without sacrificing too much in the form of substance to be successful.
Making commercial songs isn’t selling out. It’s doing what you have to do to make it in the industry. A lot of hip hop purists hate when artists sign major deals and begin making music appealing to the masses. Nicki did it. Wayne did it. Kendrick Lamar is doing it. In order to be successful and maintain longevity in the industry you have to make songs appealing to the masses. I was talking with a group of guys who are rap fans recently and they were talking about how Wale has sold out all the way. (He has become more commercial I will admit that.) But as J. Cole said, ‘I’d rather be getting money now than be that be that broke m********* that stayed true.” Who cares if your’e the best rapper ever if no one knows who you are or can’t name a song? The trick is maintaining a balance.
Don’t take them at their word. Background and fact check rappers. You’d be surprised.
Just because a rapper said they did it doesn’t make it true. There is a lot of bragging that goes in with hip hop. There is plenty of story telling too. Rick Ross was a correctional officer and never sold dope. Plies graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelors degree in nursing. Some goon. You have to understand that people buy into these personalities. Perception is everything.
Formulate your own opinions about albums before you hear what someone else has to say.
With the Internet as it is, everyone has the ability to have their voices heard. And that isn’t always such a good thing. People plaster their opinions on everything that happens, most notably new music that comes out. And a lot of opinions become polluted by other peoples opinions. So before you go to your favorite hip hop site or ask your homeboy if that new Weezy or T.I. is any good, stop and go listen to it yourself and see if its your cup of tea first.
Change is inevitable. Your favorite rapper isn’t going to make the same music forever.
To quote the illustrious Jay-Z, “N***** want my old s***, buy my old album.” Yeah I know Kanye West doesn’t flow over soulful samples like he used to but that was 8 years ago. A lot has changed in his life and as he grows and changes so does his music. People are going to change, its inevitable. You can’t expect them to rap about the same things they did back in the day. If you can’t get with their change or growth then maybe you might need to catch up in the growth department.
Follow Roderick on Twitter at @RoderickRed.