My favorite hip-hop artist of all-time is Nas. After seeing him for the fifth time total and second with Damien Marley at Syracuse last weekend, I began my monthly Nas music binge. The depth of his music surprises me every time I listen to his music. Aside from all of that I came across this gem of a video:
Unfortunately, it seems that mainstream hip-hop is already being diluted by clowns parading as “artists”. For some reason, a monotonous flow and bad lyrics can be overlooked by cash and clothing (Lookin’ at you Drake).
Just looking at the top 10 on the Billboard’s top 100 for Hip-Hop, http://www.billboard.com/charts/r-b-hip-hop-songs#/charts/r-b-hip-hop-songs , I came across the only actual rappers being Lil Wayne, Kanye West, And Wiz Khalifa.
“6 Foot 7 Foot” by Lil Wayne is alright. The most notable line from that song is “paper chasing, tell that paper, “Look, I’m right behind ya//bitch, real G’s move in silence like lasagna.” The rest of the lyrics are just annoying to be honest. There seems to be no substance except in the fluidity of the way it sounds/flows. That is a skill unto itself and Lil Wayne excels at that empirically derived from his record sales of songs that offer no lyrical substance. I have not heard enough of Cory Gunz’s other work to judge, so I’ll just leave his verse be.
“All of the Lights” by Kanye West is a pretty good song but not traditional hip-hop. It’s more of a pop song to be truthful. Kanye West is an amazing producer, no doubt. He’s a great musician overall but his rapping is a far cry from his initial albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration. In my opinion, he seemed to have shifted his primary focus from rapping back to what he was fantastic at, producing and making music. You can see the transition in Graduation.
“Roll Up” by Wiz Khalifa is okay. I’m not the biggest Wiz fan but I respect his music and style. I like this song, it’s catchy and pleasant.
I grew up listening to Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan. A couple of months ago I finally listened to Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt and that was straight fire. Throw in random phases of Big L (RIP) along with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Redman and one of my favorites Papoose, I feel I have been exposed to some high quality hip-hop. I remember listening to Nas’ “One Mic” the first time on MTV and I was blown away. I delved deeper in his music due to mainstream exposure and found greatness. If it was not for this exposure then I do not know if I would have ever found Nas or hip-hop in general. Being a first generation American from Pakistan, mainstream media and friends were all I had in my assimilation to American culture. It greatly pains me that people nowadays will not have that type of exposure to great music. They do not have the opportunity to listen to greats right now unless it is watered down and catchy for the public. Jay-Z’s evolution (or de-evolution, depending on who you talk to) is a prime example. His career should be the subject of the Dave Chappelle’s “When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong” skit.
Anyway, what keeps me afloat nowadays are artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi and J.Cole. For the love of all that you value, if you have not heard any of J.Cole’s mixtapes then immediately go here, http://www.datpiff.com/J-Cole-Friday-Night-Lights-mixtape.168650.html and download Friday Night Lights.
Here’s a sample, “Farewell”: