Hip Hop: Is it Dying?

Let me be the first to say this is not another blog from a pastor bashing the art of hiphop. Although it bothers me to no end that artists use such foul language, admittedly hip hop is my favorite music genre and has been since I was in middle school. I love a bumping baseline, with some nicely mixed in samples and cuts and some deep well thought out lyrics. That is where the problem lies… well thought out lyrics; is anybody doing that anymore? Mainstream hiphop is now flooding with artists making millions on songs that say nothing. This is not a debate of even positive or negative lyrics, this is a debate of does the song even make sense. Even hiphop artists themselves such as NAS are claiming hiphop’s demise.

When I listen to songs like Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” I feel less intelligent than I did when the song began. Where are the hiphop artists who rap from the heart and talk about life’s struggles and stuff that people can truly relate to? I believe if songs like this continue to be what is filtered into society as hiphop, then we are going to experience the coming death of hiphop as a genre. Where are the clever lyrics? Where are those who will step beyond elementary nursery rhymes?

Admittedly I do not like his language, but I can appreciate Tupac because when he rapped he shot straight from his heart. He talked about teenage mothers, temptation, his mother’s love, the absence of his father, death, God, the pressure of life and fame. He put his heart into his lyrics. It wasn’t some repititious chant, it was his diary to a beat.

I know there are artists out there still doing true hiphop but most of them are the underground artists. Why are artists like Soulja Boy flourishing while these artists who have something to say are being left behind? Is that a commentary on our culture? Who in mainstream hiphop today do you think is still writing lyrics from the heart? Do you see this happening too?

Suggested Artists (not all are “christian” artists):

Braille http://www.myspace.com/braillebrizzy
Lecrae http://www.lecrae.net
Japhia Life http://www.myspace.com/japhialife
Common http://www.myspace.com/common
The Ambassador http://www.myspace.com/ambassador215
LA Symphony http://www.myspace.com/lasymphony
The Procussions http://www.myspace.com/theprocussions
KRS-One – http://www.myspace.com/templeofhiphop – he definitely believes hip hop will not die


4 thoughts on “Hip Hop: Is it Dying?

  1. Darrell,

    I agree much so with your post. I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop anymore, but when I was in high school, it was one of my primary genres of music, and I think what has driven me away has been a lack of creativity and a lack of authenticity.

    It reminds me of the beginning of Walk The Line when Cash is trying to play gospel music to get a record contract and the producer tells him he hears nothing different in it.

    In fact this whole thing makes me think the same reason that Tupac is compelling in rap music is the same reason the gospel is compelling when we hear it from someone who is actively experiencing it compared to someone who is just repeating what they have heard or believe is the way they are supposed to speak of it. This is not to say that I don’t believe in orthopraxy.

    ahem, back to hip-hop and off of theology. The procussions and LA symphony along with Pigeon John would top out my faves currently. Though I will admit, Jurassic 5 is fairly highly played in my play list.

  2. Check out the “116 Clique”, with artists like Lecrae and Tedashii. Both of them are “real” in their lyrics, and the beats are great too. (FYI, 116 is for Romans 1:16.) They also have solo albums out which are good.

    If you get a chance, get the song “Prayin’ For You” by Lecrae. The video is available for free on iTunes under the podcast by Reach Records. This song is awesome, and it ministers to me every time I hear it.

    FYI, some of their albums are available on eMusic, which is a great way to get them. (I have a review on my blog if you want more info on it.)

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