The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Hip-hop artistry faces arrested development

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By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

Is the hip-hop culture dying, or am I just out of the loop?

I ask myself this question weekly when I turn on the radio in the car, log on to YouTube to look at hip-hop videos or go to the Live Mixtapes app on my phone to search for a new artist to break for my DJ sets for parties.

The elements of hip-hop consist of DJing, emceeing, breakdancing and graffiti, which was declared by law by Afrika Bambaataa of the Zulu Nation. The new generation of artists and fans tend not to know these things, and that waters down the culture.

Recycled vocals, beats and subjects don’t have the same passion that I heard from artists when I fell in love with the genre in 1988.

Back in those days, you had to be original because you didn’t want to be labeled a “biter” or “wack,” so you went out of your way to find a lane to claim as your own and mastered your craft, so you could be considered the best at what you do.

Emcees like LL Cool J, MC Lyte, KRS-One and Rakim came with different styles of rhyming and different sonic sounds that had people tuning into Yo MTV Raps and The Box to see and hear what they were saying and wearing. These days you can’t tell one artist from the next because a majority of new rap artists are treating the art form as a hustle instead of being genuinely part of a culture.

The labels have a lot to do with the stagnation of music and the culture. Since the digital revolution led to declining album sales, no label wants to invest in the old system of artist and repertoire, or A&R, to scout talent. So instead of being an incubator for new talent to perfect their craft and become a true artist, labels would rather play it safe and sign the next YouTube sensation, ensuring a one-hit wonder who can’t replicate that success.

Hip-hop may be going through a retrograde, like rock ’n’ roll did in the 1980s. The countless glam metal bands then remind me of the countless trap rappers of today. Hopefully, someone is out there biding their time like a Guns ‘N’ Roses to shift and change the culture for the better.

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