What did we learn about Hip Hop in 2015?

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They say the loudest voices get the most attention… Well, the loudest voices in rap music have made a complete cross-over into pop music with the new melody-rap; half-singing/half-rapping style being mimicked everywhere currently. The style is spearheaded by artists like Future and Young Thug who claim to be rappers and not R&B artists somehow (SMFH). With their styles in particular, a certain amount of ‘trap’ ideology and weird cross-dressing, homosexual component has been become acceptable to this generation (..again SMFH).

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Somehow the repetitious, low-intelligence-sounding cadence of drill music has made its way into the popular music scene so much, that young kids from the suburbs are even imitating it (Slim Jesus?). Then as icing on the cake in 2015, a so-called street rapper named Meek Mill from hip-hop infused Philadelphia, “got bodied a singing nigga,” named Drake from Canada (WTF).

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That is the picture of pop music of the rap genre, not hip-hop music, though. The year 2015 also continued the rise of artist like Kendrick Lamar and even J Cole who both managed to maintain pop status as conscious lyricists.

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Underground Hip Hop is still producing True Hip Hop emcees like Christopher Rios, King Los, Mickey Facts and others. But they don’t get nearly enough media coverage to influence the course of mainstream rap and what many perceive to be hip-hop music. At some point, there has to be a line drawn in the sand between what is and what isn’t Real Hip Hop. The clouding of pop rap with any form of hip-hop is bothersome to those of us who supported a different culture growing up. To some of us, most of these rappers are ‘culture-vultures’. To see young people, mostly “Black” and American, disrespecting the cultural values Hip Hop developed throughout the 90’s is very disappointing. It’s also a threat to the future prosperity of our culture. Sadly, too many millennials have latched on to the greed, defiance, and thirst for rawness embedded in early hip-hop music more than the ideas of originality, concept and skillz or peace, love, unity and safely having fun. They have, in effect, been seduced by the dark side. They worship money as they bath themselves in currency and jewelry. They taunt ancestral wisdom with a middle finger, and an illegal firearm on videos broadcasting all their crimes to the World. They attempt to out-do each other with rawness to the point of boys wearing women’s clothes for more attention. Along the way, the original blueprint of hip-hop music got perverted by the mainstream American culture. It took the seeds of negativity embedded in early hip-hop and magnified them into forests of dumb shit.

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Why draw a line? The line must be drawn before the pollution of the mainstream destroys the memory of what Hip Hop Kulture can really be used for. It’s not just a get rich quick scheme. True Hip Hop means so much more than that to uncounted millions of people across the World. It used to be a form of civilized communication among urban youth. Yes, it is a means of rising above ones predestined lot in life and becoming successful, independent and productive, but is also a way to positively express ones inner self to the World. Popular rap music of today doesn’t reflect that positivity. It reflects ignorance and negativity.

Hip Hop is a useful educational tool. It’s a way to fight depression. It can inspire and motivate disenfranchised individuals. It’s not just a source of income, but also a source of pride and unity. It is a culture. As such, Hip Hop Kulture (proper) is something that should be preserved properly for future generations.

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Kurt Nice

Kurt Nice aka Kurtiss Jackson is a behind the scenes pioneer in the Hip Hop Kulture, creating the first nationally distributed video mix tape series, Shades of Hip Hop, in the late 1990s. Since touring the country with the Stop the Violence Movement and the Temple of Hip Hop as KRS-ONE’s National Marketing Director, Kurt Nice has been a constant commentator on conscious Hip Hop and its relevance to the new rap music of today, through radio and cable appearances. contact Kurt at info@hiphoplives.net

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