What Benny Banks was saying on Twitter resonated with the drivel that has been spat out by old head hip hop fans for the last 5-10 years; that rap isn’t lyrical anymore. It just makes me wonder, do people actually even listen to music anymore, or do they just love their right to complain?
Can you imagine how boring hip hop, and music as a whole, would be, if EVERY single artist tried to bedazzle us with neat wordplay, scintillating similes, and provocative imagery? Hip hop definitely wouldn’t be enjoying the popularity it is right now if this trend had continued. Now, I understand that majority of the old heads who moan about the lack of lyricism in modern hip hop, aren’t saying that EVERYONE should be lyrical, but I don’t know what they expect of modern artists nowadays. Right now, most hip hop fans, me included, aren’t really trying to hear long winded, poetic music too much, because at the end of the day, you can’t vibe to it, like you could a Future, for example. There’s times where you want to listen to your lyrical and ‘woke’ rap, and there’s times you just want to bask in ignorant lyrics. The younger generation of fans want to listen to lyrical music even less, so you can’t blame artists spotting an opportunity, and trying to blow off of that opportunity.
For example, right now, melodic, afro-swing music is in; what genres do we see 90% of upcoming UK artists making music within? Drill and afro-swing. Yes, these aren’t the most lyrical and poetic forms of music, but it’s what the fans want. I think a lot of older artists should get off these new artists’ backs, and actually try support their success, because it comes off as bitter. I’m sure Benny Banks didn’t mean to come off as bitter with his comments about Not3s and Ramz, but that’s the effect that it caused. Me personally, I’m not a fan of either artist, but I’d be a hater to deny that they’re doing their thing, and capitalising on a market that is easily accessible right now. But anyway, I went off on quite a tangent here, so let me go back to the original point of this post.
This notion of older rappers being these lyrical geniuses is also something that needs to die in 2018. I wrote in a post for GUAP Magazine (you can read it here: http://www.guap.co.uk/mumble-rap-is-it-damaging-hip-hop/) that the ‘mumble rap’ phenomena of recent years is actually something that has existed for over 20 years, and is a burden unfairly put on the shoulders of new artists. In my opinion, more times than not, it’s just hate.
Why can’t you just enjoy both? Why can’t we let people enjoy things anymore? Lyrical artists are still sweeping up all the awards, but we now see new age artists being nominated for these same awards, which actually speaks a lot for the development of hip hop. I wrote in an earlier post that they need to include trap music into the bigger award shows, and not just the BET Awards, and what did we see? Migos being nominated for two Grammys, Cardi B being nominated for a Grammy; this wouldn’t have happened a long time ago. And in the same award category as both these artists, you had the saviour of the old-age hip hop fans, Kendrick Lamar, who eventually ended up winning, so what more do you actually want? Shouldn’t true HIP HOP fans love the idea of different sorts of HIP HOP artists winning these awards? Isn’t it advancing the culture of hip hop for more artists to receive these sort of plaudits?
Side note: people always quote J Cole as somebody who just hasn’t got the props he’s deserved, but don’t put that down to the emergence of less lyrical rappers. Put that down to J Cole. It’s not the new rappers’ faults that he hasn’t won a Grammy. That’s J Cole’s fault.He went platinum with no features, but so did Kevin Gates, and I don’t hear him moaning. Be better.
There is a wealth of lyrical rappers out there if you look hard enough, but like I said, people just love the right to complain. Look both within the UK and US scenes, you have artists who deserve more success than they have got; for example, Kojey Radical in the UK, and Joyner Lucas in the US. But these artists aren’t being pushed enough. That could be down to what I said earlier regarding the shift of demand within the current generation, or it could be because the fans who these artists have seen as a target market are too busy reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ of hip hop in the 90s/early 2000s. Both new and old fans have a part to play in the shift towards less lyricism, and I honestly couldn’t care less that lyrical artists aren’t getting the time of day anymore.
Ignorance is bliss.