Hip Hop is Far Healthier at 50 Than I Saw Coming
And I couldn’t be more happy to admit I was wrong — and even happier I was.
Sometime in what I want to say must’ve been 2016 I wrote a post, personal essay, or better-described opinion piece, about how I felt about the state of hip hop as it stood day of publishing. I wrote it for me. It’s what was on my mind, irrevocably at the time, not just from the music I was hearing daring and bold enough to call itself rap or real hip-hop at that seemingly low point or valley of a genre I’ve loved nearly as long as I’ve lived, but also what some weren’t doing. Some weren't conforming and thought for themselves.
It was love at first listen when it came to records like Bone Thugz N Harmony’s classic Crossroads or 2Pac’s Hit Em’ Up (both of which were equally the first songs that made me fall in love with hip hop as a whole) — or the once-in-a-lifetime generational talent like Eminem bursting on the scene less than five years after the tragic murders of both 2pac and Biggie.
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and even legendary executives like Jimmy Iovine among others backing him helped — but damn if Eminem didn’t bring it, and still does even though he's easily one of rap’s elder statesmen at this point, and I say that as a superfan putting it the only way I’m willing to, respectfully. The rap icons of my heyday who I grew up listening to may be past their prime — but maybe that just means their music and entire artistic aim have far transcended anything you would have imagined them or anyone else accomplishing in their field in even two lifetimes?
I don’t know, I can’t say for sure — but what I do know is nobody was betting on Jay-Z having a Billion dollars and the downright historic business resume he has today, back in 1994. If they looked solely at his face and finances, Beyonce might not have been Mrs. Cleo's prediction for him as a wife by the year 2005, either. But Bygolly — Hov did.
Nas has put out five good albums with rightfully well-regarded and highly sought-after Hit-Boi at production, in the last three years. He’s gone and fucked Jay’s math on that diss track from back in the Ether days, all up. I’m talking beyond recognition. This is crazy because Jay-Z’s math is rarely off, as apparent by his net…