This is an important time for Hip Hop. Specifically speaking, rap music is now so widely accepted as a mainstream mainstay that everybody from Rebecca Black to A. Samuels is busting a rhyme, word to your mother. As hard as the ghetto tried to own & oppress rap music, it’s finally broken past the gate keepers & fled into suburbia America – the most dangerous place in the world.
These days, it’s commonplace to see/hear/watch rap songs got molested & smeared across various company advertisements. Or worse; covered on Youtube by some talentless teenager who’s made whatever song their theme music for that angst-filled moment. Whatever the scenario, the point is that assimilation is taking place. Like it or not, there isn’t a damn thing any of you so-called purists can do about it.
While The Machine reforms, restricts, & refurbishes Hip Hop to it’s own liking, it’s important that we hold tight to “our” identities. One way to do so is by finally categorizing the music for it’s specificities. “Rap” is too broad a term, but only an insider or participating party would know that. Rick Ross & Freddie Gibbs are in 2 totally different arenas, for instance, even though to the untrained ear, they sounds the same. Ross’ songs appear more on the fictitious side of life, while Gibbs’ music is clearly based in reality. Those little nuances may not mean much to the casual listener, but Hip Hop knows differently.
I’ve made the argument a dozen times that music is entertainment. However, everyone doesn’t agree on that. So for those who can’t digest the aforementioned Rick Ross as a good rapper (whatever that means), there’s the Fiction Rap category. This is where anonymous tales of drug dealing & murder roam free without their respective authenticity being questioned. With this section being devoid of any actual “Keepin’ It Real,” there should be less wiggle room for complaints about what’s true or not, like with Star Wars fans. On the flip side of that coin is Reality Rap, where proven Hip Hop criminals use the 5th Amendment as their proverbial shield of truth. This category is more documentary than entertainment, though, as several of it’s spokespersons publicly live the lives they make songs about. Rapper X-Raided (regardless of the quality of music) would be on top of that list, allegedly.
As of late, Socialite Rap (which is rich people who rap specifically for rich people) has been getting a bad reputation, but it’s been an intregal facet of rap music since it’s origin. Some years ago, it was called the “Shiny Suit era,” but since everyone’s favorite rapper helped helm it, the backlash was minimal. Today, though, with so many economic pitfalls, people aren’t all that receptive to open-faced brag sandwiches. Meanwhile, Socialite Rap almost goes hand-in-hand with WASP Rap, the suburban, tattoo-clad, young, White, male rappers best friend. These songs are generally called Frat Rap also, because they reak of privilege without the struggle that should usually go along with it. Many of rap’s gate keepers try denying access to the WASP’s, but no dice. They’re as much apart of the culture as graffiti & breakdancing, regardless of how you feel.
Hip Hop fans, unlike any other genre, get inexplicably emotional over their music. If you don’t believe me, check the comment section of any prominent rap music website or Hip Hop blog. Perhaps with the proper categorization, meaningless arguments will give way to actually enjoying the music without shiftless scrutiny.