So this last decade in hip Hop can be described as many things, most negative, and summed up in two words… Down South. Yes the south has been running Hip Hop for the last ten years for better or worst. It’s funny because shit has been so bad that the last few years flew by and things never seem to ever get back to normal. I say normal being skills getting praised and also being a MUST to be an MC in this Hip Hop thing.
No one outside of Snoop and if you want to still consider Black Eye Peas Hip Hop has kept the west alive on a commercial level. Shit When you think of it other Than The Game know one else has kept a buzz this decade from out west. The East has a few more heads that got them by, there was Jay Z, Fabolous, Fat Joe and 50. You could say Nas too but depending where you live you may have not heard any singles from his three to four albums much. The Roots also stayed in the mix, yes Philly counts as East Coast, not for Black Thought killing shit though. It was the co starring, background work on Jay Z’s Unplugged gig that did it. They aren’t just Jimmy Fallons’ house band, they are the also VH1s go to guys for their Hip Hop Honors. The Mid West saw Detroit held down By Eminem and J Dilla, who still got things on lock six years after his death. Chi town saw Kanye become the asshole he was destined to be. Common made a comeback to only sell out after getting more acting gigs, and Lupe got lost in the shuffle as fast as he blew up. I think he only got five minutes for fame to work with, do you get fame credits? Nelly held things too, I can’t front he was on a fucking roll. Outside of that the south ran this decade.
I’m not a fan of Southern Hip Hop by any stretch of the imagination, well this brand of it anyway. I remember Hip Hop from the south from back in the day, and just like meeting people from the south it was clear they didn’t want to be looked at as dumb and ignorant. Shit I had a few people remind me the black colleges are down south and those alumni’s do go on to do very well for themselves. So where did things change? I remember the Geto Boys, 8 Ball & MJG, Rap-A-Lot roster, Suave House roster, JT Money, Ginuwines wife Sole’, Ghetto Mafia and the whole Dungeon Family. I remember thinking 8 Ball was on of the sickest dudes know one has really heard of and Outkast is still, next The Roots, the most creative Hip Hop act EVER. There was a southern consciousness to those acts. They did dirt but gave you reasons that showed an inner conflict about those deeds. There was a black awareness in the music too, though it wasn’t as in your face as Public Enemy music it was there.
As of now the average rapper below the Dixie Line today sounds like a middle school dropout. The beats are just the noisiest generic shit Hip Hop has witnessed since those old school wanna be Rick Rubin beats for the knock off Run DMC rap acts back in the day, there were a gang of them trust me. I mean you grab a Scarface solo album from the mid 90’s, Outkast or Goodie Mob and the beats though different weren’t completely so different from the rest of Hip Hop at that time. It wasn’t East Coast Boom Bap but it wasn’t West Coast G Funk, they had a style that was soulful, bluesy and funky at the same time.
I miss that about the southern Hip Hop sound. The lyrics were good and with the drawl making some shit sound hotter than it really was at times. Still to this day one of the realest verses is Dre 3000 last verse on “ATLiens” summing up his career at that point to some dude in the mall. Shit was so ill even Dave Chappelle ran with it on that last season of his show. As he just spoke the lyrics out like a news report it drove in the point to me that dudes down south will never be that hot with again. I mean now guys make songs confession their blind lust/love for strippers. Youngbloodz had a song about fucking feat Big Boy, the beat was smooth and the hook was catchy. Shit they articulated what they wanted and not once were lines like “come here bitch we fucking” spoken. Same goes 8 Ball & MJG, they had a spacey video for their song “Space Age Pimpin” and it was about fucking and it came off well thought out and ill as hell.
Somewhere rappers down south just said fuck trying to be artist or MCs and embraced what fucked up stereotypes people have of the south, and on a wider scale black men, and ran with it. Not sure if shit will change because money talks and ignorance sells. And the industry has always tried to have MCs dumb it down for years, these new south dudes have willingly come in the door sounding like un-educated pawns to the game. I can’t get mad a sound or style is getting more play than other shit, it happens all the time really.
Dr. Dre has been in the game for both of the West Coast bandwagon eras. And thanks to Nelly a few other acts got signed from the Lou, the problem was they were trying to be the next Nelly. Those trends however didn’t last this long and weren’t that harmful to the over all culture. One reason was because things were still balanced. As much as “G Thang” got love that is definitely deserved so too did “T.R.O.Y” by CL and Pete Rock and anything Naughty By Nature dropped as a single. While Nelly was blowing up with that weak shit Em was getting respect for being a true spitter. Now it’s either you have that sound that’s popping or you’re not getting airplay. I remember Busta Rhymes said something about don’t hate on Hip Hop because it’s giving a lot brothers jobs that wouldn’t get legal work anywhere else. He’s right but is that trade off worth our culture and music being the very “thing” we were called and considered in the past? I mean I remember when Hip Hop was called “noise”, “not music”, “disrespectful to women” and “ignorant”. Now look at the music, we have lame ass hooks garbage beats and rappers who make the most basic Dr Seuss rhyme get respect like a Rakim quote. Can you pull an Illmatic, Paid In Full, Aquemini, Enter The 36 Chambers, Spice 1 or The Chronic from the new artists out the last 10 years? If you can find one please send me that album.