Enslaved by Hip-Hop: A Rant

10.24.2016

By Jaden Nussbaum

 

kanye-and-drake

Retrieved from: diymag.com/2016/01/23/kanye-west-drake-collab-in-the-studio-larry-graham

In case you haven’t heard by now, Kanye West disclosed some inside details regarding his current schemes and come ups in an interview with Vogue magazine back in early September. You can Keep Up With Kanye and read the entire article here, even though I can save you some time and tell you the one truly important piece of information bestowed upon us by our beloved Yeezy: a Kanye/Drake collaboration is in the works. This is not a drill; not enough people are talking about this.

We aren’t talking about some B-list collab. This is Drake, Drizzy, 6 God, AUBREY GRAHAM combined with Yeezus himself. What we did to deserve these blessings is beyond what my lowly feeble brain can understand, but I’ll accept them with no dissent.

The thought of this album really, for some reason, excites the hell out of me. The two most (opinion warning) culturally impactful hip hop artists of the decade are grinding away to grace our humble, undeserving souls with an album that will change the face of America.

Okay, it’s probably not that serious – but it is a really big deal. I know I’m not alone in saying this and I really feel like an entire generation is hinging on the release of this album. We’re hungry. The anticipation makes us all tense; can you feel it? You didn’t know it was there until I pointed it out, but you feel it. We’re all the same.

My point: modern hip-hop has taken the genre and transformed it into a social and cultural empire. Meaning we are putty in their hands. We live our lives in accordance to them, oftentimes unconsciously. These impacts may be positive or negative, but even the fact that they exist confirms the pop rapper’s reign.

Think about it. Rap and hip-hop artists were once treated like thugs and degenerates. They are now treated like royalty – and they didn’t get that treatment on accident. Some of the industry’s biggest stars made some moves, did some low-key “gangsta shit”, and purposely propelled the hip-hop namesake into relevance that can almost be equated to mass worship.

So whether you’re bouncing between music streaming services in an effort to culture yourself with the newest album or mixtape, buying merchandise, or even checking a Kardashian snap story, you are contributing to the ascension to godhood experienced by these artists and their associates.

When did this happen? When did I start separating contrasting portions of my life by album releases? Does anybody remember the exact moment we all fell under the complete control of a handful of pop-rappers? They have us hooked; why else would we obsess over their families, significant others, and personal lives?

I used to always feel indifferent about rappers and the music they produced. Some of it was good, but most of it was repetitive and cliché. None of it gave me that euphoric tingle I sought and expected out of the music I listened to.

While I’ve always been a fan of Drake, I had never considered myself a true hip-hop enthusiast. My taste in music has always aligned with songs and artists that have a ritualistic effect on culture, AKA I’m a basic b!tch. I listen to what is popular. So, as a self-described basic, I can tell you society was totally and completely devoured by the world of hip-hop the day Kanye West released The Life of Pablo.

Hip-hop has always been huge, don’t get me wrong but something changed in the air that day. TLOP struck a chord with the world. It did this by being different, by feeding our collective a need to feel chic, manic, and a little spiritual. Rap and hip-hop are restricted to themes of parties and drugs no longer, and making hip-hop music that can get you in your feels has ceased to be a Drake-specific anomaly. Sorry, Drizzy.

Funky beats and ethereal choruses are cool now, and this trend has no end in sight. Chance the Rapper took advantage of our newfound curated taste for a more spiritual rap experience and slapped us in the face with Coloring Book. Along with that, Drake kept us dancing with Views. Will we ever get a break?

We are now cogs in a machine. Are you okay with it? I think I am. As long as these artists continue shelling out content that makes me want to chug a pot of coffee and get my life together: I’m obsessed. I am the property of the rap industry, and I know you feel the same. Let’s stomp on our dignities, cast away our doubts, and together we will blindly allow hip-hop to drag us into the future.

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