Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Is this the next Generation?
Hip hop is at a crossroads. As more and more once-were superstars slowly descend into unofficial retirement or diverge their career path, it leaves a gaping hole residing where they once were. Let’s picture the landscape of hip hop ten years ago. It’s 2010 and hip hop is becoming the new pop. There’s Kanye West, whom just dropped My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, *arguably the greatest album of all time*; Rising stars Drake and Kendrick just dropped So Far Gone and Overly Dedicated (I wonder where they are now); Nicki Minaj is proving herself as the best female rap emcee; collectives such as Odd Future, Pro Era, ASAP are at the brink of blowing up. And many other great musicians such as Jay-Z, Pusha-T, Lupe Fiasco, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and Future are still doing their thing. Hip hop is in good hands.
Juxtaposed with today, where that landscape is tainted by retirements, selling out, lack of inspiration and effort (Drake), scandals, or artists taking their business career more seriously than their music career which is fine but leaves the landscape dry and the mantle unpossessed.
However, arisen, are the new vanguards of today’s hip hop in the wake of the old, Gunna, Polo G, Lil Baby, Lil Tecca, Lil, Yachty, Lil Uzi, Travis, Playboi Carti, and Cardi B. With their butterfly flow and 808-heavy and desirable aesthetic, they took the industry by storm. All heavily inspired by trap rap they tend to rap about. These are the leaders of the new generation (mainstream). Which may leave some hip hop heads feeling empty. The problem with most of these artists is that they lack creativity, and they feel cheap. I mean most of them are just carbon copies of past generation artists hence the reason why there are so many “lil’s” and their raps are so similar. It feels like many of them became rappers because it was the easiest route to success and happen to blow up. They aren’t as talented. On the pop music side, you got Billie Eilish who, despite her pretentious decor, is actually a really good artist with a soft voice that relates to many girls the way Taylor Swift once did. Post Malone and the Weeknd who are both good artists (one more than the other).
As many older artists fallback from the music scene for various reasons, it seems as though younger artists are taking the mantle of hip hop. But without bold, novel icons like Kanye and Jay-Z, it feels like hip hop is shrinking in relevance and size. Maybe rap is just another sub-genre, music trend that’ll go away after a couple of decades like funk was in the 80s and electro-pop in the 70s. Then again, maybe it’s not.
Article by Huey