If you think Hip hop Sucks….it is your fault.
Being lit is the new punk.
Welcome to the Punk Rap era. Many of us Hip Hop purists and cultural elitists are the reason we are where we are in terms of present state of the art form. I know this sounds absurd….but hear me out for a second.
Hip hop is in a space that actually resembles our political divide in this country. Much like many Trump Supporters who felt alienated by Liberal educated elitists and voted against the democratic establishement, many new wave hip hop fans feel the same way….
For years these kids had to hear the older crowd preach to them about the golden era of hip hop and how it was their responsibility to carry the torch and uphold the culture to standards that only we older heads could deem hip hop enough or “classic”. They werent allowed to have an opinion on music without someone chiming in claiming some new artist they enjoyed wasnt muscially inclined enough, or “Real Hip Hop”….we became SNOBS that turned our nose up at any culture shift that wasnt up to par in our eyes.
This current wave of TRAPPY MELODIC MUMBLERS exist very much in the spirit that Punk Rock in the 70’s did. Punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock (Much like This current Crop of rappers reject the icons of hip hop). Punk bands typically used short or fast-paced songs that sounded nothing like traditional rock, with hard-edged melodies that were often inaudible, off key singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often anti-establishment lyrics that bragged about drug use and rampant sex. Punk embraced a DIY ethic; many bands self-produced recordings and distributed them through informal channels…Sound familar?
Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone Once said, “In its initial form, a lot of Rock stuff was innovative and exciting. Unfortunately, what happens is that people who could not hold a candle to the likes of Hendrix started noodling away. Soon you had endless solos that went nowhere…. everyone was trying to be too techincal. By 1973, I knew that what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock ’n’ roll that wasnt pretty or shiny”. That is very much like where mainstream hip hop went. Much like punk was ANTI-Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Elvis….You had the guys like Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem etc. that set the bar so high that many knew they couldn’t topple it and instead stopped trying to be technically sound and went a totally different direction in defiance of what elitists considered GREAT.
These Kids are rebelling against that status quo…. they are planting their flag in the dirt and proclaiming the internet as their digital turf….and the more and more the elitists and purists of years past cry out against their “WAVE”….the more it satisfies and even encourages their desires to go even more left. Away from the Multi syllable poetically patterned rhymes, away from vocal delivery that’s annunciated clearly, away from the Soulful and oft musically over-produced instrumentation, away from actually even having to make sense….Because to so many of these kids…that MAKES SENSE. Punk rock was “rock and roll by people who didn’t have very much skills as musicians but still felt the need to express themselves through music”…this new shit? it is EXACTLY THAT.
I hear so many people complain about these new cats and hurl insults, the primary one being “that aint real hip hop.” It is very similar to how many of the mainstream rock acts and their fans acted towards Punk Rock in its infancy…but dont get it twisted…The Sex Pistols were still rock’n’roll … but like the craziest version of Chuck Berry. It dispelled any notion of what songwriting was supposed to be. It was it’s own form…it’s own identity, born out of anger towards the rock n roll snobs who recorded in swank upscale studios and acted as if only they were the gatekeepers to the rock n roll scene. Punk was born in garages…recorded productions tended to be minimalistic, with tracks often laid down on home tape recorders or simple four-track portastudios, using the same cheap instruments that they all seemed to use and early on it all sounded very similar to the point it was hard to tell bands apart from each other, especially when punk actually became what it was originally against….POPULAR MUSIC… that many bands copied and followed because it was trendy….to alot of real punk rockers, Punk lost it’s ANTI- MAINSTREAM appeal because it eventually was taken over by corporate music executives who exploited the culture to make millions. It is equivalent to the bedroom closets now that trap music is recorded in…using the same programs with the same auto tune effects… with the same sounds to make the same beats where many of us cant differentiate who is who…and yes, it is also now being overrun by corporate music executives who are exploiting it.
We, the Hip Hop Snobs, have to remember when we were the new Punk….in the early 80's…where we defied the standards and protocol of how music was made and challenged the system itself. Where the pop music elitists looked down on us and called us horrible and un-talented. Where even Dee Dee Ramone once said “I got tired of the Ramones around the time I quit and I really got into rap. I thought it was the new punk rock. LL Cool J was my biggest idol.” This of course was before we were also exploited by the greedy corporate machines and became the pop culture we once chastised our own for selling out to.
Instead of belittling the new kids who are on their own path of self discovery…we need to encourage them to grow and help guide them… even if we dont like their approach to making music or how it sounds to our elitist’s ear’s…. we need their presence and voices to be used correctly but on their terms, not ours…we need them to hopefully embrace the roots of punk music where lyrics frequently commented on social and political issues….Especially in a time like now in this country….and if we cant get them to progress? We need to ignore them completely and no longer complain about their hold on the youth and pop culture and instead help this next generation create the next wave or evolution of trap music that offers the youth something even more PUNK, More ANTI-SHINY SUIT, MORE ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT that becomes their own.
We elitists have to become the solution instead of being the problem. We have to question why we hate what we once were…..PUNKS.
“Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock”- Henry Rollins