After reading an article by David Drake on Complex magazine’s website, Real Trap Sh*t? The Commodification of Southern Rap’s Drug-Fueled Subgenre it got me thinking about where we’re at. Us Hip Hop kids born after 1980.
Because we live in a different generation to the original hip hop figures who came before us, yet, we are old enough to remember Run DMC and how important it was that Adidas endorsed them. We’re old enough to remember when Hip Hop was still a taboo sound in the mainstream, and when being brown was an unrecognizable, undesirable persona in pop culture.
As a curvy ass-can’t shop at Wild Pair, brown girl I see myself everywhere these days, from Rihanna to Beyonce…There are beautiful half caste and mixed children everywhere throwing up the middle finger, skating through traffic, playing basketball in the park, boys and girls flood from theaters featuring movies starring our favorite rappers, buying The Source, Vibe and XXL, the list goes on.
Hip Hop is so dear to us, still, in our mid 20’s because it’s ours. Yes it’s merged into the mainstream and changed, but we won’t grow out of it because we’ve spent so much time and heart making it. Not even strenuous commercial dilution could kill it. When Nas said hip hop was dead, it was simply hurting at best.
Those who came before now put in the work and now us kids get to reap the benefits. The question is, what are we going to do with it. Where are we going to take it? This writer knows Kendrick Lamar is working on it. But let’s talk abbot Trap. There is hate about Trap and the misconception of what it is and where it came from. It is totally relevant when Drake, in his article, makes the point:
“Then comes the controversy, and we’re all forced to choose sides: Trap is good, and can bring artists and fans from different worlds together. Trap is bad because it trivializes serious issues stemming from the American “War on Drugs” and an accelerating prison population.”
His solution: “Trap music is fun, but listeners should be educated on the history of where the music comes from, and give respect to the innovators of the form, learning (via Google) about the pioneers (T.I.!), the sobering social contexts (drug dealers!), and the branded cultural trends (sizzurp!).”
The internet has allowed underground musicians a means to self market and artists such as Oddisee and The Mello Music Group the ability to tour the world without major music company influence; in the same regard the internet obliterates any excuse for ignorance. In this day in age absolutely anything you need to know can be Google-d or YouTube-d so self-education is important; same as when feminists once fought for a women’s right to choose; information and education were allowed to a privileged few only. Ignorance is unacceptable.
But I have to say this: MANNN!! What’s happening with hip hop at the moment is effing EXITING. And there are so many untapped facets that are left to come from the new school. I mean Jay Z just had a baby. Dr Dre is releasing boss ‘beats’ in the way of merchandise not music, Snoop Dogg just changed his name to ‘Snoop Lion’ and even Lil Wayne says he has about five years left in him. As much as these guys and so many more paved the way. The new school is in session. Kendrick Lamar and the TDE team, Oddisee and the Mello Music Group plus so many others are leading.
Some subjects prove that, yes, we have become pretty desensitized to drug use and misogyny -our attitudes are a total skew of reality as our favorite rappers and their lifestyles have soaked into our ears, eyes and brains.
Common drug use is so common we call them ‘treats’. I mean as I write Tommy Ill just posted on FB this, ” i do drugs but i aint done enough yet, molly & lean, i chop & screw dubstep”. What other back up quote do I need here?
There is more there than just drugs and hoes though. Hip Hop’s Gen Y have see our parents fighting, we’ve seen how debilitating teen pregnancy can be, we know what crack will do and what kind of life you get if you don’t appreciate your education. And we want more from life. We’ve also obtained the confidence to go get it.
Women have proved they want to, and will, fuck casually along side their bro’s and there is a plethora of femcees that can now put men in their place. Men and women in hip hop are best friends (Bey and Jay, Wiz and Amber) instead of hostile lovers.
We are still to focus on maintaining a balanced consciousness when it comes to the issue of trivializing serious life issue like gun possession or crack as we party to ‘ignorant’ music in the clubs; as all our favorite rappers adopt that one key dance song on their debut album. Take A$AP and Skrillex, Nicki Minaj and her whole other tangent, Kendrick did but he went the other way with Swimming Pools and the progressive beats movement (trap DJ’s still find a way to incorporate it though).
Drake’s suggestion of education to avoid ignorance and mainstream figures keeping up the heart in the music is a good start.
What I love though about the incorporation of Hip Hop and Trap on dance floors is the visuals. Us Hip Hop babies who grew up quietly relating to the stories and beats amongst each other can now see ourselves everywhere! It’s cool to have a booty and twerk it around. The ‘swag’ (fuck swag) is being used from retail outlets to the news and magazines, Pepsi ads, sneaker campaigns, Superbowl half times and the list goes on. We don’t only belong in the mainstream now, we’re wanted and sought after. Our lifestyles are more than a benchmark of cool…How we are is a way to live, an ideal to be, even if it is considered dreaming in euphoria. The message is that we can have it all and this to me is progress to me and the kind this writer wants to nurture-not criticize.
Top three Trap mixes at the moment are:
1.Donald Krunk- Stack x Kwacks
2.DJ Green Lantern-Altitude