People often ask me what my thoughts are on lyricism in modern rap and where I think hip hop is headed.
What I think they are really asking me is what I think of mumble-rap, although I could be wrong. Anyone who knows me knows that I love bar-heavy raw flow on dusty boom bap beats when it comes to hip hop.
This blog I thought I’d share some of my journey through hip hop, what rap means to me and my thoughts on mumble rap and mainstream rap in general.
So I grew up listening to artists like Eminem, Xzibit, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Vinnie Paz, DMX, Nas and then later I started getting into stuff like Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, Rakim, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Masta Ace etc. etc. Basically just dope emcees and the list goes on forever really.
The crazy thing is most of these emcees were putting out some of their best content at the same time! The competition was fierce in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Rap back then was about bars, beats, flow and punchlines.
How it has changed from that golden era of fire spitters with so much focus on lyricism and bars, it really astonishes me how popular ‘rappers’ today don’t have bars.. or flow.. or lyricism. It’s so weird.
I spose looking at it objectively it’s like mainstream pop music rarely captures the heart of the music – which I believe comes from the grass roots underground. But that’s nothing new right. Pop music sells. By definition.
Continuing the previous point it sort of just goes into the next topic:
I don’t understand it. Haha. I think a lot of it is the image of being a rapper that is portrayed through mainstream media marketed to a demographic that looks at that shit as cool.. I could be wrong though.
The point I’m trying to make here is that rappers/emcees were known for lyricism, bars and flow since the inception of hip hop.. not singing and melodies. I hope mumble rap is a passing phase and the mainstream comes back around to putting real emcees in the spotlight once more.
In saying all that I don’t fear that hip hop is dead and lyricism has had its day. I rep the underground and all the rappers I personally know are dope spitters. There is sick hip hop coming out everyday that is a celebration of lyricism.
What I am in control of is the music I choose to listen to and furthermore the music I create.
Sometimes I watch some whack mumble shit on YouTube, just to see what is popular and I am honestly depressed. How can so many people be into that shit?
Anyway I’m not in control of what other people listen to and what is deemed popular. All I can do is keep doing what I’m doing and making the music I love and connecting with the people who appreciate my art.
For those that don’t know, I released my debut EP Mind of a Madman today and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The EP is a celebration of bars and lyricism. It’s probably my best work to date.
There’s a paradox here:
I’m not a fan of what the mainstream is pushing out BUT I’m hoping one of my tracks will blow up and get there. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe it does maybe it doesn’t.
It all comes back to what my boi Gordon says:
‘It’s all about the song. Forget the noise. Your job is to give the best fucking performance you can to the song. All the rest doesn’t matter.”
Thanks for reading and rocking with ya boi Prim.