“Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop is dead.” —– Nas “Hip-Hop Is Dead”
I have mentioned in my first blog, About Me, that I really enjoy listening to hip-hop music during my free time. The exciting drum beats, the surprising flowarrangements, and the outstanding use of lyrics of this kind of music deeply attract me and drag me into its traps. I was introduced to Hip-Hop when I was in grade six. I listened to Eminem’s “Not Afraid” for the first time after two years he released that album. The first few seconds when I was listening to the song, I could not understand a single word he spitted. All I knew was this guy did not take a breath through his whole verse, which is longer than a minute! Therefore, I began to search for more songs that beat me with machinegun-like lips, rapping hundreds of words like a tornado when others are singing love songs that make me sleepy. After I dug out more information about Hip-Hop, I have learned that this type of music was born in the hood (or street, ghettoas they called). The first time it started to thrive is during the late 1980s and the 1990s: there was a large tide of Hip-Hop running through the whole United States, completely overthrew people’s stereotypical impression on music.
People began to accept this kind of music during its prime time, which started from the late 1980s. At that time, a lot of outstanding rappers produced their Hip-Hop mixtapes and albums to tell their story, mainly aboutchildhood, struggle, failures, success, freedom, or the unfair treatments they encountered (since a lot of the rappers are African American, and racism was still a big issue at that time). One of the most famous rappers during the 90s was called 2Pac (or Tupac). He wrote a lot of songs to cheer up his brothers, to praise his mother, and to criticize the irresponsible families. Tupac sang in his song: “Brenda never really knew her mom and her dad was junky.” He pointed out the tragedy that children from black community would often have an incomplete and hurting childhood. Then he went on: “Went in debt to her arms, it’s sad. Cause I bet Brenda doesn’t even know just cause you’re in the ghetto, doesn’t mean you can’t grow.” Compare to others, Tupac had his own view, believing that everyone can become independent and successful men if you believe in yourselves and work hard. Tupac also produced a song named “Dear Mama”to share his story between them and said how he was affected by his mother to become this strong. His “Life Goes On” encouraged those who fell down on their roads to cheer up and move on. Even though he did not live for a long time unfortunately, died on 1997 being shot, his spirits is still influencing a lot of artists and different people.
However, things seem to change recently. In the past two to four years, tremendous young rappers began to show their faces. Unlike the rappers in 90s or even early 2000s, these young rappers prefer to show off their wealth rather than talk about some serious issue. They not only love to show off how many chains and rings they got, but they also talk about drugs and sex way too much in their songs. These young fellas are so afraid that others don’t know how rich they are that they put over a kilo of chains around their necks when they are shooting music videos. They produce new songs so fast that their lyrics are made up of Gucci, Ferrari, and Lamborghiniand so on. They use easy lyrics and catchy melody to make you remember their songs in a second so that you will remember the singer. Present times, rappers can really gain a lot of fans just simply produce a song to explain how much money they have and how they plan to spend it. The internet helps accelerate the process of making songs and advertising themselves. They don’tneed to practice their skills and make their songs meaningful enough to teach people a lesson or so.
Since Hip-Hop is known by people, it is a controversial topic. It includes love, conflicts, violence, sex, drugs, encouragement, and various elements. Some say the spirit of the old school Hip-Hop music, which reminds people of social issues, is more outstanding. Others argue that people are having better living condition nowadays so they should be allowed to show off rather than forced to talk about deep thoughts. Either ways, Hip-Hop is not dead. It is just evolving.