Rome’s Rant #1: One Mic

Nas- One Mic

With this post, I’d like to introduce another “feature” on the blog. Rome’s Rant. Every once in a while I’ll voice my opinion on different things in hip-hop that are on my mind. I’ve called it a rant, for the lack of a better word. These posts will be relatively “unstructured” and scathing at times. So be prepared…

I’ll address 4 topics in this “rant.”

(1) “Real Hip Hop”
(2) You shouldn’t be rapping
(3) My view of hip-hop as a fan
(4) What’s wrong with hip-hop

The first thing I want to address is this term “real hip-hop”. I started hearing it more and more after Nas released Hip-Hop Is Dead in 2006. Everyone felt rap music was under attack from artists with snap song (whatup D4L and Soulja Boy) and most mainstream artists (Lil Wayne mostly). The term is subjective. To some an artist like Common is “real hip-hop” and for some a guy like Gucci Mane is. Three or 4 years ago I might have went to war with someone calling Gucci Mane real hip-hop. For real, it’s even out there on the Internet to view. LOL
Now, I just sit back and read people wasting 10 minutes of their time to post a YouTube comment about Gucci ruining hip-hop. It’s time to focus positive energy on artists that we like and support those artists. If you don’t like somebody just ignore it. I’m sure Phonte knows that he’ll never be as big of an artist as Rick Ross. So it’s no need to comment on a Little Brother video talking about “we need LB instead of wack Rick Ross”. It’s not that hard to support who you like. It’s really snobby to sit on your “hip-hop high horse” and shit on everything you don’t like. Don’t listen and move on.

Next, I want to talk about everybody who wants to rap. Call me a hater, a lame, a jockey on the aforementioned “hip-hop high horse”, whatever you want, I really don’t care. The Internet and technology of the past 15 years has made it easy for anybody to make a song and share it with the world. However, I feel like it has devalued the genre as a whole. Homeboy next door can download an instrumental of SoundClick, lock himself in the closet and rap into his laptop mic, then he has a song. If I heard a lot of dope music from a lot of people I wouldn’t have any beef with the Web 2.0 emcee. That’s not the case. I’m hearing cats that are making the same exact tracks we hear everyday on TV or the radio. I have no problem listening to Trey Songz, Drake, or anybody else on the radio. But, when homeboy next door is doing the same thing it shows a lack of individuality. Maybe I’m just displaying my disdain in people who do things just to do it for the fame, instead of doing something for the love. I think it’s a slap in the face to the artists who had to grind at least 3-5 years before they saw any semblance of being famous or blowing up. So to anybody who thinks they want to be a rapper, put everything into it and be YOURSELF in the music.

Whether you know or not, I started this blog as a place to not only inform and share my knowledge with others, at the same time I wanted to learn. In the past couple years I’ve softened my stance on “wack music”. I give everything a chance before I knock it. I hope everybody else does the same. I want to address something that Maurice Garland calls “fanhood“. Listening to an artist just to say you were up on them first. He cited artists like Little Brother and Lupe Fiasco (the blog post came out in 2007). Three years later and it still rings true. I’m a fan of dope music, so if a guy (i.e. Drake and J. Cole) I knew about before most people is still making good music I’m still going to be a fan. Oversaturation sours a lot of people, but good music is always the cure. A couple weeks back a music professor told me something about rap music that opened my eyes. He said, “the degree of composition in the music is not same as it was when I first started listening.” He told me he doesn’t even listen to rap anymore. At the time I was taken aback, like how dare this guy question hip-hop?! But as I had time to think about it, it was a sad reality. Production, song structure, and other elements aren’t the same as they were. The evidence is in the music…

It’s very easy to point the finger to say what’s wrong with hip-hop. Let’s blame major record labels, their artists, and the radio. Easy, that’s it.

Not so fast…

I feel like it’s what’s NOT in hip-hop that has insulted the integrity of the music. For instance: no legit studio album from OutKast since 2000, talented up and comers like Jay Electronica sporadically releasing music, and others just being generally disinterested in the music. If these guys were constantly releasing music I feel like it would raise the bar and force other rappers, fans, hell everybody to expect more from hip-hop.

If you read all of the above, then it is easy to say that I’m a “hip-hop snob”. I probably sound like I’m 40 and I’m talking about the good ole days of hip-hop. In the end I’m a fan of good music and I expect more from my favorite genre. As a fan, all I can do is support who I like with my money.

As a blogger, I hope my message can reach anybody who decides to read.

Let me know how you feel.

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2 thoughts on “Rome’s Rant #1: One Mic

  1. I support this rant and your outrage is so justified. Me too is fuckin tired of with the way music scene is so oversaturated.

    What happened to the idea of taking one’s time to learn the process and nurture one’s talents? Everyone wants immortality NOW without having to work for it. This drives me (us) wonky because rappers are missing the best part of the journey. The process is far more illuminating than the actual arrival. Already claiming to be “King Of (insert city name)” so buddied up to their Ego. As in:

    “Hey, Ego, how’d we do with this song?”

    “Phhht…are you kidding? We totally knocked it out of the park. You need to be ready to take calls from those Grammy folks because you are going to be FAMOUS.”

    But its so hard to break other man dreams especially when they are decent-to-good at it, which most of them are, thus there are far more comments on Gucci Mane-like artists than lets say Donnis-like artist. Every comment repeating “meh” wouldn't be too fun right?

    Now to end this on a happy note and instead of suggesting you a long hospital stay, I present you good music. It seems you can use some 'alone in a room with headphones on' music!

    ^ and yes that is just a different way of saying “don't lose hope there is still good music out there, its just you have to dig deeper”… you were expecting that right? lol

    http://jasonjamesrodneyhazard.bandcamp.com/album/marvelous-world-of-color

    Would love to hear you response on album.

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