Could Hip-Hop Culture Die By 2020
Written by Jonathan Kimble on December 21, 2017
Hip-Hop may be its own worst enemy
How deep are the roots of the Hip-Hop culture? Well, that depends on where you are located. The origins of Hip-Hop are extremely deep on the east coast, and far deeper than many are willing to acknowledge. Considering the undeniable fact that most of the pioneers of modern day Hip-Hop derived from the grimy streets of NYC. To fail to recognize the origin of Hip-Hop displays a level of historical ignorance.
Who runs the game now is not a concern because the culture is more profound than gimmicks? Any recognition of the origin is not an admission of generational superiority. The game should always remember where it came from instead of constant criticism. There’s a focus on who’s better than who and who makes the most money. Nonetheless, does any of this matter and how can this advance the craft? What would Tupac think about the Hip-Hop culture in 2018?
Divide and conquer then eliminate the Hip-Hop Culture
There are real dangers to constant fighting in the Hip-Hop community over useless facts and inaccurate information. If there is anything that we have learned during the last 18 months, we have realized that the media will say anything to sell a story. Meanwhile, the game that many love and adore crumbles from within.
Think about where we have come from, and the real problem of division within the Hip-Hop culture is evidently painful. Ask yourself what does degradation, insults, and envious retaliations have to do with advancing or sustaining the culture? Do any of those factors have anything to do with making or loving good music? Does it matter or have anything to do with good music? There is an excellent chance that none of these factors had anything to do with where the origins of Hip-Hop. Was this what the Zulu Nation had in mind?
A culture divided for all the wrong reasons
Ok, there are two sides to every debate, and there are the facts. Regardless of your beliefs concerning the current state of Hip-Hop culture, there is proof of a transformation. The real question is who is the architect of this and what are the implications on the culture? Did it start with the Viacom purchasing BET? Every real fan of Hip-Hop has an inherent responsibility to sustain the craft that they love so dearly.
Engaging in debates that annihilate instead of uniting elements of the culture, are the utmost threatening. These discussions do not advance the culture, unite or generate income, but destroy 30 years of positive strides. Furthermore, shattering the progress making Hip-Hop one of the most popular genres of music. Anyone honest could acknowledge that this type of rhetoric is not value added. Of course, there are times for meticulous discussions and not fictional fallacies that have no generational significance.
Barbershop and Locker room talk
Some believe that Hip-Hop debate is of great value and love nothing more than verbally sparing with others. If you are one that engages in these types of discussions it’s ok; you most likely have an undying passion for Hip-Hop. You are not alone in this love for the Hip-Hop culture, and there are millions of others like you.
True Hip-Hop fans are very passionate and opinionated, and culture is an instrumental part of their lives. OMG, the thought of anyone being critical of the artist responsible for getting them thru rough times is just “wrong.” Yes, that’s the unfortunate state of the entire industry in 2018. The game has just changed, and so has the politics of Hip-Hop debates. Good luck having a friendly critical discussion of Jay Z or Kendrick Lamar in your local barber shop this weekend. Choose wrong, and you may not be coming back.
Visual Misconceptions of Hip-Hop Success
Each week millions whiteness poorly scripted reality television shows glamorize the most dysfunctional individuals the industry has produced. These shows have become nothing more than a platform for b-list artist and unknowns. Ask yourself, is this Hip-Hop’s finest? Is there a need to be combative and adversarial because someone has “disrespected” you? What does this signal to those who are not familiar with the culture?
A typical response would be “who cares about them”? Everyone should care about them, considering they could be corporate influencers, marketing directors or business owners. First impressions or often lasting feelings and much more likely in the entertainment industry. Consider 1980’s artist, Whodini, RUN DMC, LL Cool J and even the bad boys of the era, the Beasties. No one heard much about them killing their brand or the Hip-Hop culture. Ok so there was no social media but, was this a bad thing?
A New day and A new Understanding
Ok, so you are most like wondering why does this all matter? Who cares if a few Hip-Hop heads are debating over who’s the best to do this thing. This happens all the time right? 72 dolphins, 85 bears, Barry Sanders vs. Jim Brown, or MJ vs. LeBron? Excellent point but debates in the Hip-Hop industry are much more critical to the culture than sports debates. Hip-Hop is no longer an underground subculture and has now become socially acceptable globally.
Of course, there are some who will never love the Hip-Hop culture as fans loved Motown, but socially Hip-Hop exceeds music. Hip-Hop is a metropolitan newspaper that highlights social issues which expand beyond the block. Controversial topics such as apartheid, oppression, sexuality, poverty, and most recently politics. Minimizing the culture into sects leads to infighting and separations. Now more than ever, the Hip-Hop community must unite.
Fundamental Influence and Social responsibility
The power of social media platforms transcends music sales, Grammys, and Maybach’s. The future of this nation intersects with every culture and community in America. Regardless of one’s ability to provide for their family, there exists a need to educated, and mentor others. Giving back to the community that made you who you are is the only way to ensure stability between generations. Likewise, respect is much easier to foster when a passion for the culture is prevalent.
A growing number of fans have become disenchanted with the industry, leading to a lack of respect and passion. Yes… you made the Forbes list, but who cares? What have you done for this culture besides take? These are hard questions for even the most successful artist in the game. Hip-Hop is not about G5’s, Lamborghinis, and strip clubs; it’s a way of life, not a part-time hustle.
Who holds the responsibility
Every Hip-Hop fan assumes the obligation to maintain the culture and not permit negativity to infiltrate the craft. Besides, who says that anyone has to be better than the next artist? Does this level of competitive aggressiveness genuinely exist in the Hip-Hop culture? When did this start? If you were to conduct a little research, you might be hard-pressed to locate any reference to RUN DMC blasting another artist. This was also not necessary for many of the greats of the game. They lived in the moment and were not too concerned about who came before them regarding compassion. Finding an instance of an artist during the earlier years bragging about how rich they were would also be a challenge as well. Wait, there was Special Ed who released the song “I got it Made.” Yeah, he was probably the first to brag on a record.
Hip-Hop generates big money
According to Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes Magazine Senior Editor” This summer, for the first time since Nielsen started measuring music consumption, Hip-Hop took over from rock as America’s dominant genre. R&B/Hip-Hop now comprises 25.1% of all music consumption in the country, compared to 23% for rock. Rap’s rise, of course, is intricately tied to the rise of streaming. “You don’t have to own anything anymore,” Nielsen’s David Bakula told FORBES earlier this year. “Because for $10 a month you can do this: You can have everything.” Though rockers still move more physical units than rappers, more than half of the top 15 musicians because of on-demand streams were Hip-Hop acts during FORBES’ June 2016-June 2017 earnings scoring period. And the results were reflected in the acts’ bottom lines: The genre’s top 20 earners pulled in $619.5 million in 2017, up 38% from last year’s $448.5 million haul”.
And then there was beef
At some point during the last decade, Artist, producers experienced, conflict, rap battles, and beef. However, is this good or bad for the brand in 2018? What do you risk when beefing with someone of petty issues? Do you stand a chance at Turing off the fans or go viral and make some real money? Yes, there is a chance to sell a single while beefing, yet few have made money from them dis record like Ice Cube, Nas, 50 Cent and LL cool J successfully did. The difference is that today’s artist makes a dis record and releases it on twitter to the world. Not a bad option if your Drake and can afford to give it away, but probably not the best decision if you are a new artist. However, what does this do for the culture? Most likely a dis track does nothing but shows more dysfunctionality.
Recording a dis record is probably one of the most counterproductive things an artist could do. In light of the recent Cameron vs. Mase and Remy vs. Nicki beef, there is an expectation to be personal. There is a requirement to make every punch line below the belt and painful as possible to the opponent. Are these songs suitable for sustaining the culture? The fans love to hear them, and they will never go away. Remember when Nas unleashed a lyrical fury on ‘Ether’ or Ice Cube with ‘No Vaseline”. These artists were able to put their differences aside publicly, however, how’s relationship behind the scenes? These songs will forever be out there, and fans will always want to hear them. Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Nas and Ice Cube are industry influencers and consider what could be if they were to work with each Other?
Beyond the Music Business
Since 2004 VH1 has produced The Hip-Hop Honors event annually. The show honors the golden age of the Hip-Hop culture and those who have been significant contributors to the culture. Past attendees include Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, MC Lyte, Chuck D, Beastie Boys, Common (rapper), KRS-One, Flavor Flav, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Ice-T, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Sean Combs, Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J, Afrika Bambaataa, and Wu-Tang Clan.
Most of this artist have been class acts during their career regarding unity and Hip-Hop ambassadorship. They will be remembered for touching the lives of so many. With the invention of cloud computing, anything that an artist does is recorded forever. Presently there may be few concerns about legacy, however, what happens when their children are impacted by today’s decisions? For some the music will outlast the money, and so will the consequences of their actions.
The End Game
Props go out to the artist who does this for the love of the Hip-Hop culture or has the business savvy to succeed beyond Hip-Hop. At what age is making it rain considered played out? Not to mention, is everyone in your family finically fit while you’re dropping 80 stacks in a strip club? Artist has an opportunity to display a positive image and benefit from their platform much more than the greats did. Considering the ability to be independent alone is a catalyst to financial security and freedom beyond music.
Ultimately, success is possible for the most artist within this industry, but social responsibility plays the most crucial factor. Those who are successful normally develop a passion for the culture. These are the real ambassadors, well respected and rightfully so. Hip-hip is a way of life, and it’s never about you; it’s about the culture.
What do you believe has the most significant impact on Hip-Hop’s ability to sustain?