Degradation of Lyricism in Hip-Hop
Hip-hop has, since it’s birth on the mean streets of New York in the early 70′s, always been about expressing yourself, your surroundings, and personal ideologies through melodic poetry with rhythm. The lyricism contained within this poetry has always been a large factor in the genre of Hip-hop. As of lately though people seem to be getting confused about what good lyrics are.
In the past the status-quo of good lyrics has been set by the likes of Rakim and Nas and more recently Eminem and Black Star, but the Hip-hop community seems to be having an identity crisis. New rappers such as Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Drake, Big Sean, J. Cole, and Lil B as well as seasoned veterans like Busta Rhymes have all recently been either dumbing down their lyrics or have shown that they can not even come close to meeting the status-quo.
Now you might say “So what? Who cares if they don’t meet the status-quo.” and I completely agree, I don’t care whether or not they’re as good as someone like Nas. What really gets to me is how some of these artists along with their advocates are claiming that they’re lyrically gifted when it is oh so obvious that they are not. For example, J. Cole’s debut album “Cole World” was critically acclaimed, yet if you listen to the lyrics, they flat out suck and are pointless. In his song “Work Out” Cole starts the first verse with “She like them boys with the big old chains, ride around town in a big old Range”. Is this really what we consider good rap these days?
The rappers are not the only ones to blame though, The Hip-hop fanbase has much blame to receive as well. Over the past few years the fans seem to be getting more and more ignorant, less aware of good lyrics, and are choosing bad rappers with good beats or a good flow over good rappers that provide good lyrics. This ultimately is going to eventually eradicate good lyricism in Hip-hop.
So in conclusion, if these circumstances do not change then Hip-hop as we know it is doomed.