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Old 12th September 2020
Lives for gear
Antagonist's Avatar

I honestly felt the need to comment because of the overall tone of the post, and some pretty inaccurate assumptive information on the OT/OP.

Times are always going to change, styles are always going to change, and what was popular in the past may/may not be popular again one day.... but gentrification and not liking the "new hip hop" are two completely different things. There's enough cultural and racial divide these days, we don't need to confuse the two.

Few points
1. Music period has always been gentrified, it's not just hip hop.

2. Corporations have been running mainstream for decades now, and the industry is controlled by them. Music is a business like anything else. Whatever it takes to sell products, and fit certain agendas (Of those with the $/Power) it's going to be done.

3. Sadly the days of discovering raw unheard talent, and true musical geniuses in popular music are long gone. Speed, cost, efficiency, and image run the game. But like I said in #2 That's just business in general, not music.

4. Good music is still made all the time, it's just not force-fed down peoples throats by huge marketing machines, so you rarely hear of it. I guarantee if you go search the internet for 20 minutes under "boom bap, lyrical hip hop, etc." you can find some really good hip hop easily.

5. Like it or not... 90's type gritty lyrical hip hop doesn't mesh with a good portion of the music listening public. It definitely doesn't fit a lot of the millennial generations musical taste. Go and have a conversation with some teenagers, and I guarantee you'll find very little respect for musical history. They want what's hot now, and today. They want what all their friends like, because it's become a social media culture. Oh yeah and that will change tomorrow when they want something else. WHICH brings me to my next point...

6. Most of these new artists history of hip hop goes back to when they were BORN... which is approx Lil Wayne's 2000's run, the Chicago drill movement, or the more recent ATL Trap takeover. That's all they've grown up on, so that's why their sounds seem to be further extensions of that type of music. You can't expect a kid who never heard Mobb Deep, to make a QB sounding banger. Why do you think even a lot of NYC artists sound "drill" or "trap" these days? New York's biggest two hip hop artists in a long time Pop Smoke, and 69ine sound nothing like traditional hip hop.

7. Our culture as a whole's attention span has been getting shorter and shorter. This isn't just in music, but also in all forms of media. For music though, that's why songs have gotten to be around 2:30-3mins, simple 16 bar switches, lots of sound effects, and repetitive bars. People are bombarded with so much media, the only way to get them to vibe to something is to make it simple, catchy, and quick. But to be frank... that's been a popular music formula for years, not just hip hop. Cohesive albums by all accounts have been pretty dead for a while. Songs and singles is what matters, albums will live by the individual songs. Sad but true.

Couple things I felt needed to be pointed out as wrong in your post though:

1. Drake has tremendous talent. I don't care how strong your marketing team is, you don't get to that point by accident. Just because they shove his most popular songs down your throat, his catalog/features/mixtapes deserve their place in hip hop history.
Did you ever think they released Pop Star video now because the world could just use some light-hearted entertainment, in the midst of all this chaos?

2. Internet Money/Taz Taylor, and 10k Records/Lil Tecca, Trippie Redd, etc are a tremendously hot brand right now. This girl you speak of.. her name is Molly McLachlan and she may not look like anything to you, but I guarantee the story isn't how you portray it. Since once again this IS a business, she was one of the head A&R's at 10k records. She found a couple artists online that became big, she justified her label position, and now that whole group of people is making moves. Taz Taylor is hated so much, but the dude basically re-wrote online beat sales, and turned that into a multi-million dollar record label. AND Taz/Internet Money are somewhat responsible for the trend in popular hip hop these days. Their type-beat and assembly-line formula completely fits the 2020 industry model, of mass supply and consumption.
***PS woman influencers have been quietly (and not so quietly) pulling strings behind the scenes for years which is also why a lot of the "Hard" hip hop isn't popular anymore. Drake said years ago that the tastemakers were women. A lot of the biggest artists managers, A&R's these days are females. That's a great thing in a business that was historically male dominated.

3. There is some REALLY GOOD "hip-hop" albums right now. Just in past couple weeks we've had: Nas Kings Disease, Big Sean Detroit 2, The Lox new album, Run the Jewels 2, Conway the Machine just dropped From a King to A God. Don't forget Dave East, Westside Gunn, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper. If you don't think there's good lyrical/90's reminiscent hip hop these days, you're not looking hard enough.

With that being said, I come from that generation as well and I listen to more new stuff than the old stuff. Why? Because I can always appreciate the history and quality of what's come before, but I also like to hear all the new takes on this art form that come every year. Lil Baby and Da Baby have great projects for the new new school. 2 Chainz reinvented himself flawlessly, and Future has been consistent too. Rick Ross has one of the best ear for beats ever, and a flow to match. Lil Wayne is one of the greats, so is Kanye. I'll never say the art died with Big and Pac, like so many other people of our generation that I speak to.

My Theory:

Pointing to gentrification as the reason you don't like modern hip-hop is a complete cop out. Because like i said in the first paragraph of my post, music as a whole was gentrified LONG before hip hop. Like back before Elvis stole Southern Soul.... like way way back when White artists were stealing Negro spirituals and giving no credit.... like WAY WAY back when composers in Europe were stealing African and Latin musicianship. Way long before hip hop was even a glimmer in the universe.

It all simply comes down to the fact that it's been 41 years, and over time Hip Hop/Rap Music surpassed a lot of genre's, and became one of the world's most popular. Because of this, many sub-genre's grew, and overtime the popular sound of the genre as a whole changed. Bottom line is what was once "Raw Underground Expressive Art" done by a few people on the blocks of NYC, has blossomed into one of the most commercial and lucrative businesses in the world. It's not something to hate, it's actually something to embrace. Like that child that grew up from humble beginnings, and became a billionaire success. We can either applaud, or be jealous point fingers, and hate.

I've chose to embrace it, and all of it's sub-cultures. From the rainbow colored craziness, to the drug-induced mumbles, to the new school of lyricists. It's all entertainment to me, as it should be. My motto has always been to applaud anybody making a living doing what they love.