Rap/Hip-Hop is undeniably one of the most popular music genres in the world currently. Rappers are always making top news headlines and their music is always topping Billboard charts. Rap is the self-proclaimed music genre of this generation, for good reason. With what I stated at the beginning, rap is the talk of the town. Rap is unpredictable with who and what it will generate, while mostly it generates flex anthems and many, many crazy drug addicts who believe they’re the next lyrical genius of our generation. But sometimes rap will generate amazing things that make us question our Culture as a whole. There are many reasons I have for why rap is here to stay and I’ll talk about every one of them.
Popularity is the biggest on what is trending and what is being talked about today. Many people look to the Billboard Hot 100 to know what they’ll listen to for the day. People have a need to stay on top of what is being talked about today and they especially want to know what music is trending. Twelve out of the Twenty top Billboard Hot 100 songs are all in the rap genre or a song featuring a rap artist. That’s 60% of the top Twenty songs currently have some rap inspiration. Not only is the genre gaining popularity every day but so are the artists and many artists are making news headlines currently.
Music questions our culture as it stands today, music is what shapes our culture. Music asks the biggest questions other people would be too afraid to ask. The world we have created is far from perfect and music points out the imperfections. But what does this have to do with rap? Well rap also questions our society but not just our society and culture, it questions our problems with race relations, not loving each and every human being, it questions why we don’t treat each other as equals, and it also asks why and what is our problem with not accepting a person for who they are, no matter how different they may be from you. Co-Founder of Def Jam, Russell Simmons, had this to say about rap and what it has become,”It has a greater share of integrity than a most pop phenomenon- and consistently. They coined an expression early, that people had this attitude of keeping it real People always said they do art, but they don’t do art for money… what was real was that they wanted to get ahead- so their poetry reflected what was in their hearts.” So what does this mean? Rap isn’t afraid to call it like it sees it. Rap doesn’t mind asking the bigger questions others are too afraid to ask. Rappers want to have their own imprint on the music industry as a whole, and they do this through straight dedication for what they do.
The only reason rap or music in general exists is because of the artists. The artists are what make the music, so this means if there were no artists there would be no music. So since the artists make the music they also bring some of the popularity to the music. Many polarizing artists will make music that wouldn’t generally be enjoyed throughout the rap community but “any press is good press,” in their eyes and technically they aren’t wrong. For a look at a specific song take a look at a song currently #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, Gucci Gang By Lil Pump. Gucci Gang has been harpooned by critics far and wide in the music reviewer community. With people saying the song is “Post-Millennial numbness, the codeine effect, and the effects of Xanax on the teenage mind” and “I winced, out of pain.” But even while the song is getting these reviews the song still is one of the most popular songs currently. The reason for this? Any press is good press, especially for Lil Pump. Lil Pump is a public figure you either love or hate, making headlines for a new story almost every day. One of the headlines reading “Lil Pump Violated L.A. Archdiocese Policies While Filming Gucci Gang Video.” Lil Pump recently made headlines for illegally filming his “Gucci Gang” music video. This is an example of low-quality music reaching popularity because of the polarizing figure that goes along with it. In unison, this proves the point the artists make the music’s popularity and the more talked about artist, the better.
Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, N.W.A. These artists/groups were the original, barrier-breaking artists that weren’t afraid to tackle this whole new genre called “Rap/Hip-Hop”. While it wasn’t new, it wasn’t accepted in normal culture, but these artists took that as a challenge and started to publicize the industry of rap. When they started, the industry of rap wasn’t popular whatsoever, it was heavily criticized mostly because of race relations at the time. At the time of these artists, their music was just seen as “black people music”, the music was not nearly as popular as it is today. As an example, the rap group N.W.A was one of the biggest rap groups at the time (1986-1991). The group experienced a lot of criticism for their many songs sparking controversy over lyrics including drug usage, crime, and hatred for the police. The members of N.W.A faced heavy policing and constant hatred mostly because they were people of color writing these controversial lyrics. N.W.A and many other artists showed us that rap music isn’t just for people of color but it’s for people of all skin tone, you don’t need to be a certain skin color to like a certain type of music, music is for all.
In conclusion, the world is a fast-moving place. You never know what will go out of style or what will start trending in a day. But also, all of these points show rap is a big, trending thing lately and it’s going to stay that way for awhile. Rap is just getting started with its ambush on the music industry. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to go anywhere so you might as well get used to it because it’s here to stay.