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by rocafan on 6/04/2004 03:32:00 PM

TODAY’S HIP-HOP JUST ISN’T CLASSIC

*this is a really good article from the Univ. of Cincinnati. This guy does a good job at painting a pic of rap right now. Eventhough Im not found of his inclusing of Nas or Ludacris in his good rappers list. I do agree with his disappointment at the latest Crunk craze, which I am not a fan of.*

by: Louee Royal


All of the best rap artists are dead.

Hip-hop music lovers have sadly witnessed the controversial, legendary genre devolve since the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. The absence of these two emcees may sound like an outdated topic, but with the condition of black entertainment, their departure is felt as deeply as when they both were assassinated.

As a rap music lover, I find it a mind-bending task to try to remember what urban, commercial music was like before the influence of the flamboyant, captivating rap flow of 2pac or the metaphorical, streetwise delivery of B.I.G. Thankfully, many artists have at least tried to trace the tragedy-stricken heroes' footsteps and conjure up similar concoctions of ghetto, Top 40 music successes.

The decade old veteran rapper Jay-Z, is the first B.I.G. offspring to come to any knowledgeable music fan's mind. The "Jigga man" has a masterful recipe for success that is entirely his own, but he bares uncanny similarities to the former "King of New York."

The carbon copying is complete with Jay-Z actually reusing several of B.I.G.'s lines in his own songs. This is done more out of respect and remembrance of Jay-Z's idol, rather than as a desperate way to fill up the music sheets or get attention.

For those unfamiliar with the genre, but eager to explore it - I'll give you a heads up on what to listen to. Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Outkast, Ludacris and Kanye West are the only legitimate, remotely talented commercial rappers that are really popular today. Any other rap you hear, or rap names you come across, trust that are totally dispensable.

Chingy, the Big Tymers, and the Ying Yang Twinz are prime examples of hip-hop trash. Today's emcees are either trying too hard to be degradingly "gutter" or their music is so cookie cutter and honey-glazed that Mandy Moore would deem herself too "hard" to sing on the tracks.

If a similarity is to be quickly noticed about my list of good rappers and poor rappers it is that, unfortunately, they mostly have similar content. It's too, too bad that even the excellent lyricists talk about the same materialistic, misogynistic tripe as the amateurs. They just sound more convincing and intelligent when they go on their "bling, bling/I don't love dem hoes" tirades.

The trend is so overdone that, like rap before 2pac, I cannot remember what emcees used to talk about before this embarrassing obsession with money, cars and hoochies. If you pay attention to entertainment affairs, I am sure you have heard this elitist whining before. It still has to be done if people are ever to remember that the state of music is in terrible disrepair.

The radio blowup of Lil' John's "Get Low" record seemed to mark the end of great hip-hop, even more ominously, it marked the takeover of mindless, "crunk"-style tunes. As one who passionately relies on the profoundly lyrical content of rap music as inspiration for writing, my stomach balls up in dread every time I hear "Slow Motion," by Juvenile, bang at the club. "She workin' dat back/I don't know how to act," brags "Juvie."

"Mommy, I wanna be a rapper when I grow up," is a declaration made by fourth graders nationwide.

If Juvenile is a plausible example of the skill, effort and poetry one has to submit to, to get a video slot on BET, the little tikes likely already possess the talent necessary to bring the tall-standing industry to its humble knees.

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