The current state of Hip-Hop

By Shae McPherson
November 4, 2011

The genre of music that we all know as “hip-hop” is a form of musical expression and artistic culture that consists of stylized rhythmic music and commonly accompanies rap, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. Music can be subjective in terms of what attracts a person to listen and appreciate a specific genre of music. But I believe all music is universal. This belief I have allows me to be extremely open-minded when it comes to enjoying and listening to different genres of music. My all-time favorite genre of music is hip-hop. I have been an avid fan of hip-hop and rap since I was a child.

Some people would claim that hip-hop does not have the same substance and quality it once had many years ago when artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Tupac and Biggie Smalls, who established themselves as legends and iconic figures, were at the forefront of the hip-hop movement. Some individuals have even used the expression “hip-hop is dead” implying that the new generation of rappers lack musical talent and ability. I would have to disagree with this statement for a couple of reasons.

The new generation of hip-hop and the artists who are relevant today aren’t lacking musical talent and ability, they have just grown accustomed to a new style and culture of music that appeals to a different demographic. An individual is usually attracted to an artist when they find the artist’s music to be relatable to their life experiences or the particular lifestyle they might live. Some individuals who are making these claims of hip-hop being “dead,” simply cannot relate to the new generation of artists and this is where the negativity stems from.

There is no doubt that the legendary artists I have mentioned earlier are in their own category of greatness and talent. However, there are rappers today who have a great amount of potential and are holding their own in the hip-hop music scene. The culture of hip-hop music has grown tremendously in terms of creativity and the new generation of artists such as Drake, J. Cole and Wale are artists who embrace this musical element of creativity. Each of these rappers have their own distinct style, making them unique from eachother. Drake is an introspective rapper who pinpoints human emotion while both singing and rapping on songs. J. Cole is a passionate rapper who prides himself on telling stories through his music about life struggles that people can relate too and Wale is a very poetic rapper who has clever and innovative wordplay within his lyrics. J. Cole and Wale have both recently released their first studio albums under their respective record labels and Drake has his highly anticipated sophomore album being released on Nov. 15.

These artists are also peers who encourage and motivate one another to create great music. Wale has recently tweeted Drake saying, “Man Shout out to Drake…the energy in music today…Phenomenal.” Drake responded to Wale by saying “it’s that time…Ambition,” referring to Wales studio album “Ambition.” Each of these artists have utilized musical creativity that has positioned themselves as respected artists within the music industry and have harnessed a vigorous work ethic that will breathe fresh air into the realms of the hip-hop movement, disproving the people who claim that “hip-hop is dead.”

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Shae McPherson

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