Hip-Hop has to be one of the most influential genres of music. It has been around for a quite a long time, about 40 years, and it has gone through a lot of changes throughout the years. It started out as a way to spread information that wasn’t covered by the mainstream media, but once it got its fame, it started getting misused by everyone. Anyone who had the money to get famous had the option to be a rapper, even if they had no talent, voice, musical experience, etc. Hip-Hop was at its best during the late 80’s and 90’s, but after the 2000’s, it started being misused by people who didn’t have any skills related to Hip-Hop at all.
“Panda” was a song of Desiigner, which reached 2nd in the Billboard charts of 2016. I’m going to show how a song from 1997, which didn’t even reach top 100 in billboard charts, is much more developed than Desiigner’s “Panda”. I’m talking about the song “Somebody’s Gotta Die” by The Notorious B.I.G.
Desiigner came up with the title when he was playing Grand Theft Auto, saw a BMW X6 out of the window, and was thinking of the panda emoji. Since they have nothing to do with each other, it shows how the song has nothing to do with any relevant problem. And what makes it even worse is that he came up with the title first, and then worked around it. The song consists, of an intro, the repetition of the hook, and the repetition of the word “Panda”. The intro prepares the audience for what they’re about hear, as if it’s a masterpiece. I think so because he says, “This what they all been waitin' for”, and “I'ma give it everythin’ I got”. In the hook, he brags about his “broads in Atlanta”, his money, cars, and his life as a ‘gangster’. At one point, he expands the hook, but basically says the same things. The song doesn’t have a flow. The rhymes are extremely weak. The rhyme patterns are the ones that kids learn in the 3rd grade. They’re only put in the end of the lines, and most of the times he just rhymes words with themselves. His creativity is worse than the one of an 8 year-old. The instrumental at least matches with the mood of the song, but since the song has no lyrical content, it also puts the instrumental down.
Biggie’s song, on the other hand, is about an important problem, uses literary devices, has a very nice flow, an instrumental that matches with the mood, etc. The song “Somebody’s Gotta Die” is about a story that hurt him. It’s about Biggie trying to kill Jason, who had killed one of Biggie’s friends. When he shoots Jason, he sees that Jason was holding his daughter, exactly what Biggie was trying to avoid, killing a man in front of his family. One example of well placed literary devices is the foreshadowing in the last verse. When Sing, another friend of Biggie, told him that they should spray bullets at Jason, Biggie told him that’s not fine, because they might miss the target and “murder innocent kids”, which is exactly what would happen if Biggie wouldn’t be careful at the end when he shot Jason.
Biggie’s flow is considered as the best in hip-hop history, and that’s because there are rhymes everywhere in his songs. Even by just looking at the first two lines of this song you can find 9 words that rhyme together. Except the rhymes, you can also find two hidden messages in just the second line.
The instrumental is very well done as well. The rhythm of the bass is slightly slowed down, exactly like the mood someone would have at 3:52 in the morning, which is the setting of the story. The instrumental follows the story, meaning that when the story is calm, the instrumental is also ‘calm’, and vice-versa. What makes it even more dark is that there are sound effects added. One of them is the sound of the rain with the silence of the city in 3:52 in the morning. And then, when Jason is shot, you can hear a baby crying and a woman screaming.
After analyzing and looking more into the two songs, I now think, more than ever, that hip-hop is ‘dead’. Biggie’s song, which didn’t even hit the top 100 on the billboard charts, is way better than “Panda” which hit second, 19 years later. And I don’t think that anyone would argue with that, because I have never faced an argument supporting “Panda”, even though I’ve asked many times before. But some may, at least, say that hip-hop isn’t really ‘dead’, because there still are rappers that have songs with quality content. While I would agree with the second part of that argument, I think that those songs are very rare nowadays, so I’d still call hip-hop ‘dead’.