Dr. Dre is a 54-year-old billionaire, who never did end up giving us that third album he promised us. Snoop Dogg bakes things with Martha Stewart in his free time. Eminem is a father of three daughters, who just celebrated being 11 years sober. Jay-z is officially a billionaire — and just got back in the dope game again (legally this time around, of course).
Ice-T is a cop on Law and Order, Ice Cube runs a basketball league for players who are too old for the NBA when he’s not busy answering the question of “Are We There Yet?” — and Eazy-E, 2PAC, and Biggie are dead.
Kanye West makes regular calls and visits to the white house — to talk to his friend President Donald Trump.
Where in the world does that leave the state of hip hop as I once knew it?
If not dead, perhaps in a nursing home as I once suggested.
Or maybe it sold out to Wall Street and Damon Dash has actually been right all along. Maybe Culture Vultures picked it apart limb by limb and the skin right from its bones.
My generation had Nas and this one has Lil’ Nas X, is all I’m saying.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Old Town Road as much as the next guy — but it is not Ether. It is not New York State of mind part one or two.
As ridiculous of a comparison that is to make, it’s no more absurd than how the generation behind me sounds when they try and make a case for ‘today's rappers’.
To say the music has lost something would be an offensively gratuitous understatement. It's been castrated, publicly stripped and beaten to death. By pretty much every white kid sixteen and under with a face tattoo and a Soundcloud or YouTube account, from middle suburbia and beyond.
Killers from concrete jungles got replaced with hot air, filler, and mumble.
We’ve lowered the standards and seem to be accepting of just about whatever gets released because we don’t expect better. The bar is unreachable and thus we treat it as if it’s non-existent.
If anyone dares to release something original, they’re ostracized for it. Rewarded for it by having it hacked apart on blogs for views and traffic by people who never understood the art or culture — and frankly never wanted to. Court of public opinion sentences the record to death before it ever has a chance to live.
“This isn’t Politically Correct, This Might Offend My Political Connects”
Maybe today’s artists aren’t to blame and it’s the critics and listeners who caused the decline of an entire music genre. Perhaps taking their every word literal and dissecting it in an attempt to prove how woke we are as a society is what caused rap to rot from the inside and corrode all across radio stations.
I mean really, could you imagine what would happen on Twitter if an album like The Slim Shady LP or Marshall Mathers LP was released today?
Any store that marketed the album would be boycotted. Groups I didn’t even know were a thing would publicly protest it as tasteless and talentless.
Hit ’Em Up? Pffft, forget about it. 2Pac would be put in jail for it. Charged on conspiracy to commit murder on the spot.
Do today’s so-called battle rappers even have an Ether in them? Are there still battle rappers? Are rap battles still allowed in today’s comically frail world that forgot how to take a joke at least a half a decade ago?
Rappers used to take chances, now we just have Chance The Rapper.
Artists I’ve never even heard of getting named into the top five of all time by Millenials who aren’t qualified to put such a list together.
Net worths became more important than substance and skillsets.
Focus switched from lyrics to features. Beats for the biggest Instagram following.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’ve grown old and out of touch.
Maybe it’s time I start listening to more Metallica and Tom Petty.
Now that’s music. Or at least that’s what old people used to say to me when I was young.