Can you imagine modern Hip-Hop without Drake, Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane? What would modern Hip-Hop sound like? Can you imagine if Drake stuck to acting and never ventured into rap? Can you imagine if Lil Wayne had died when he got shot as a child? Can you imagine if Gucci Mane grew up in the suburbs instead of a trap house in Atlanta? You can’t imagine what modern Hip-Hop would be without those three emcee’s because without them Hip-Hop would have remained the same - cloaked in the sound of the 90’s. Lil Wayne introduced people to trippy, inaudible, metaphor heavy, lyricism (Young Thug, and Future); Drake introduced people to the idea that rappers could sing and rap at the same time (Fetty Wap, and everyone else); and Gucci Mane taught people how to make Trap (everyone and their grandmas).
Drake is, without a doubt, the biggest musician in Hip-Hop currently; now, can you imagine if instead of Drake modern hip hop was entirely influenced by Charles Hamilton? What would Hip-hop be like if Kid Cudi sonically stuck to the sounds he pioneered on Man On The Moon (before he went completely experimental); could he have been the biggest rap star today? Let’s even go back to the early 2000’s when the charts were dominated by DMX - what if X didn’t get addicted to crack cocaine? What if Kanye did sign to Cash Money and was only a producer? Would Hip-Hop sound entirely different?
I am constantly tired of hearing people saying that Hip-Hop is dead. It’s not dead you freaking idiots; it’s alive and well! The lines that used to be quite distinct have become blurred due to Hip-Hop having so many genres - that’s called evolution. I was talking to a Hip-Hop head the other day (who was being ignorant and spewing the same garbage most self absorbed Hip-Hop purest spew) who stated that he only fucks with 90’s Hip-Hop because it was real and that he couldn’t stand rappers like Future and Young Thug. I looked at him like he was smoking the same batch of crack that DMX was on and said, “really - you’re looking at this entirely wrong. Hip-Hop doesn’t have to sound the same as it was in the 90’s. Can you imagine after all these years everyone still made that sound? The current Kids in Hip-Hop are growing up with different experiences and are exposed to so many new sounds why would they make that music? Don’t get me wrong, I love, appreciate, and have the utmost respect for 90’s Hip-Hop, but let me break it down for you in the most simplest manner possible. Modern Hip-Hop has something for everyone depending on your mood (mood being the key word). If you want to turn up - listen to Trap, think of it as the electronic dance music of Hip-Hop. If you want lyricism - look no further than J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. If you want nostalgic sounding hip-hop - listen to Joey Badass or simply listen to your favourite albums of the past.
The World is a big place with new music coming out constantly and there is enough space and wiggly room in Hip-Hop for all of its sub-genres. Hip-Hop should not just have a particular sound, it should always be evolving with the times. The real debate should not be whether or not Hip-Hop is dead just because you don’t like the new sounds; the debate should be who will have longevity in a quickly changing genre. There can only be one 2pac and Notorious BIG, there can be only one Drake and Kendrick Lamar, but there will always be a new crop of students who will try and carve out their own lane in Hip-Hop. Some will carve out a niche and find some success; some will go on to superstardom and influence the masses; and some will have all the talent in the world but simply won’t make it and their names will never be known.
As Hip-Hop continues to progress daily I can honestly say I’m happy with how things are looking for our beloved genre.