I love listening to lyrics of KRS-One, Jay-Z, Run DMC, LL Cool J and others who paved the way for these new guys and gals who are desecrating the sacred ground of hip-hop. I dare any one of the newbies to battle them...oh wait, do the youngins even "battle" anymore? Used to be a time where the true test of an MC's mettle was in the lost art of "freestyling" - where rhymes were spit on the spot, off the cuff, with a back and forth battle between MCs. Now true, every old school artist couldn't necessarily freestyle, but most of them could. Don't get me wrong, there are a few mainstream artists out now who are okaaay. Drake probably has some skills, if he could peel himself away from Weezy and get rid of the Auto-tune. Oops, did I say that out loud? No disrespect...I actually like Drake.
In fairness to the new jacks, I invited a few young people to tell me what they and their peers thought of some of today's emerging artists. Interestingly enough, they admitted that their younger peers loved the newbies, but the older teens didn't seem to care much for most of the mainstream artists. "Their lyrics don't make sense, and these kids are singing the words without knowing the true meaning behind them," offered one of my young friends. I felt comfort that errybody is not falling for the new hip-hop okie doke.
So is hip-hop dead? I don't know...the hip-hop I knew and loved is in the past, and much of what is taking its place is not fulfilling the original mission of the genre. Or maybe the new jacks are taking it to another level that I just don't understand. Maybe I'm just an oldhead! Feel free to disagree if you like. But I will leave you with the words of one of the original hip-hop philosophers, KRS-One [Step Into a World (Rapture's Delight)]:
Step into a world where there's no one left
But the very best
No MC can test
Step into a world, where hip-hop is me
Where MC's and DJ's
Build up their skills as they play every day
For the rapture
...and in the words of Rakim...PEACE!
(...and by the way...shouts out to Afrika Bambaataa, Kool DJ Herc, and the Sugarhill Gang - and all the other REAL OGs!)