Hip Hop: I Use To Love Her

I was reading an editorial on Allhiphop.com and I agreed with the writer 100% when he noted that there was a lot of mediocrity in Hip Hop. Not that there aren’t any good rappers dropping material; its just that you can barely tell one from another. I was a teen when rap emerged from the streets of Brooklyn, the Bronx and South Central. Run DMC, Public Enemy, NWA and LL Cool J pioneered a sound that eventually evolved into its own culture. I loved rap music. There was a time when I’d toss on my Adidas sweat suit, rock the Kangol to the right, dawn the headphones rocking Big Daddy Kane and find myself a MC to battle. I embraced the music, the lifestyle and the art.

I no longer do that. Once, I thought it was just maturity, but every once in a while I toss in my “Fear of A Black Planet” CD and it sounds soooooo good to me. Whenever I walk through Best Buy, I walk down the aisles where there is an enormous selection of rap music. I’m still interested in reading the articles in XXL and The Source. So, it’s not like I don’t like the music. I just don’t love it anymore.

While flipping through the pages of the latest XXL edition, I found myself amazed at the number of soon to be released albums from artist I knew nothing about. I wondered if people actually bought those albums. They probably do, I’m just too far out of the Hip Hop loop to hear about them.

So, in order to maintain any credibility when talking about rap, I started reading the reviews on Allhiphop.com and keeping up the Hip Hop news on SOHH.com. But it is the music that counts so I opened myself to listening to some new artist. I picked some relatively new artist; TI, Mike Jones, Slim Thug and Young Jeezy.

After listening to the each song on the each CD once, my initial conclusion is: I don’t get the hype about Young Jeezy or Mike Jones. I’m not feeling them. Of the four that I listened to, Slim Thug was the best. There are five tracks on his CD that are really good. The rest I can take it or leave it, but five tracks is a lot of songs to like. I can understand whey TI is popular as well. A lot of anthem tracks on his CD.

Overall, I can understand why folks my like them. Each had decent music and catchy hooks. Mike Jones and Young Jeezy voices kind of got on my nerve after a while. What is missing is an element of artistry in the music. I know someone is going to comment that I’m hating. Well, I let the words of Common speak for me on that.

I start thinking, how many souls hip-hop has affected
How many dead folks this art resurrected
How many nations this culture connected
Who am I to judge one's perspective?
Though some of that shit y'all pop true it, I ain't relating
If I don't like it, I don't like it, that don't mean that I'm hating
The 6th Sense (Like Water For Chocolate)

None of the four artists brought out the passion that I once had for Hip Hop. I waited with anticipation of Common’s CD to drop. I did that for Jay Z and Jadakiss. But gone are the days when there were numerous artists dropping albums and performing on the Fresh Fest tour. I still love Hip Hop. But Hip Hop is like women. The young girls are flashier, sexier and move a lot faster. But there is nothing like being with a woman that has been down with you for years and knows exactly what to say and do to make you feel good. Slim Thug is cool, but I’ll just keeping rolling with Public Enemy. Word.


13 Responses to Hip Hop: I Use To Love Her

  1. Midlife Crisis Says:
    The pioneers of rap HAD to be truly passionate about the art.
    By nature of the fact that rap was still not 'legitimized' by society, there really wasn't much motivation to get on the mic unless you were truly driven to express yourself.

    Now, hip-hop is a get-rich-quick scheme and by golly, it actually works! The annoying thing is that these people actually think that they are artists--instead of mass-produced assembly line products of rather poor quality.

    To get your product out there back in the days took hard work and skills. Nowadays, these chillun' spend 18 hours in the studio on an "album" and think they did hard work. It's just too easy now.

    There's too much money to be made off hip-hop nowadays. And it killed the whole genre.
  2. Anonymous Says:
    True Indeed!

  3. Butta Says:
    Preach! Love your analogy in the last paragraph b/t young girls and the old school down for you chicks, such as myself. Give me Public Enemy, Tribe, and even X-Clan over Boyz in Da Hood any day.
  4. Chocolate Republican Says:
    I'm feelin' you on this. I used to love hip-hop, stil do to a point. But its mostly old school or Common these days.
  5. alanscott Says:
    Fellas, I'm an old school bruthah, wit' no street cred. Did I do that OK? (LOL)

    Anyway, I've kind of been in the wilderness since Tupac and BIGGIE.
    So who the hell IS Mike Jones?(lol) The younger guys at work let me in on what's happening every 3 or 4 months and then prop me back up in the corner. There doesn't seem to be any personalities in hip-hop since Jay-Z and Puffy. Back when Tupac and BIGGIE dropped a new CD, it was news. OR... maybe I'm just old. I need a nap. Take care.
  6. James Manning Says:
    don't worry about that alan, i hadn't heard a thing about these guys until they sold about 200k cd's.
  7. Anonymous Says:
    Im just a 16 year old hispanic that grew up in the suburbs. I remember when i first started listening to rap i was younger and i was drawn in to the singles put out by flashy but pretty much no talent rappers, but now im proud to say that ive realized what ive been missing and now im hooked on old rap. I could listen to Nas'Illmatic for the rest of my life. Just the feeling of being able to pop in that album and not having to worry about skipping the weak songs is something that makes me wish the rappers i hear now would stop worrying about the paper chase and worry about making a real contribution to art that is hip hop.
  8. Kimberly Says:
    At the age of 38, I too remember the first rappers. For me, particularly, I loved the female rappers. MC Lyte, Salt n Pepa, and the ultimate Queen Latifah to name a few. I really dug these chicks. They were fierce without being...skanky.

    I am not hatin' on the female rappers of today, if fact I really can appreciate those like Missy Elliot. But Missy is a throwback in my view.

    I hate to see what some do to sell a song. Half naked and weaved down to the crack! I don't dog on folks, so I won't be ugly, but I wish some of these young chicks could see what message they're giving to aspiring female artist. But in the end, I understand that we must all walk our own path to enlightenment. But Lord knows I wish they would hurry up and at least get in the right direction!

    I listen to nusoul, classic r&b, folk, and some country. Maybe I'm getting old too, but this type of music is healing to the soul for me, and at the end of the day, after dealing with all the negative energy of others...I need it!

    Love your blog James
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  12. Anonymous Says:
    Damn, yo, I'm with you all the way, even though I wasn't around when hip hop started. I'm just a 13 year old East Indian kid. Young Jeezy, Mike Jones, they ain't got no real skill. What happened to all the MCs like KRS and Wu-Tang? They don't drop shit no more. By the way, you got a lot of spam in yo comments, nigga.
  13. Anonymous Says:
    I feel you dawg. Word