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Are Rap Fans Ruining Hip-Hop? – Rap Rehab

    Are Rap Fans Ruining Hip-Hop Music?

    I’ve been listening to Hip-Hop/Rap music for almost 20 years.  That’s longer than the average “rap consumer” today has been alive.  In that time I’ve seen the music transition through various stages into something that is of more controversy than ever before.  Instead of the unknowing masses debating the music’s content, now its become the genre itself in constant struggle with its own legitimacy.

    Compare the prominent years of Hip-Hop/rap music in the early 90’s today and you’ll be noticeably looking at a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde scenario.  What was once a promising young idealistic genre centered around social awareness and injustice has become a raging psychopath obsessed with feeding its own narcissistic needs and superficial hunger.  In that time the premiere idea of an “artist” whose specialty is that of the hip-hop/rap element has completely reversed in its perception.

    We as fans have also transformed into something that is no longer reminiscent of our former selves.  I say this not individually but as a whole.  We used to thrive on music that stretched the boundaries of creativity and enlightenment.  We used to thrive on the empowerment we were given through the music.  Now its like we’re just junkies looking for a our next quick fix.  Its quite sad when you think about it.  Musical projects were once required months if not years of commercial validity before they were deemed classic or noteworthy.  Now they are relevant one day and forgotten before the next full moon.  What’s even more astounding is how we’ve all played a part in this pivotal role in the music.

    Music thrives off its foundation, which for the most part is the fans.  Without fans to consume and share the music, it may as well have not been recorded at all, for music is meant to be heard.  Mainstream has always appealed to the masses. One single listen from a new “hot single” and one can argue, “its what the people want to hear” or “its what’s poppin’ right now.” Oh how I wish that statement didn’t make me cringe.  It seems in the tug of war between quality and popularity, we never can seem to decide whether the “chicken” or “the egg” come first.  What I mean to say is there is no evidence to show whether the fans demand it or whether its simply all we’re left to listen to so we tolerate it simply as a matter of lacking other options.

    What we hear today more than most sounds nothing like what we once adored.  Empty are the influences of Run DMC, LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, or even 2Pac or Notorious B.I.G for that matter.  Today its all about the green (weed or money), fast cars, jewelry, bitches, and partying.  Its all about sex and material, “get money fuck bitches,” and “not catchin’ feelings.”  I wrote previously about how the music has shifted to a more self-centered, egotistical perspective which also has changed not just the kind of music being recorded but also the scope of the environment of the fans along with it.

    Couple the shift in the industry with the advancement in technology in social media and more than ever are we provided endless data for what the consumer wants more of and what the supplier is more than willing to give them.  But that’s not all.  Now opinions shape how we feel about the music.  Simply read a string of tweets based on a trending hash tag, a Facebook post thread, or comments on Youtube and you’ll see the state of mind many of the young rap fans of today are in.  And if you spend enough time observing what fans have to say, you may find your head in your hands drowned in shame for what has become of this once glorified vestige of cultural empowerment.

    Fans spend more time bickering and arguing over not only the taste of the music being circulated amongst the masses but also comparing each and every artist who manages to gain any recognition whatsoever.  You can’t provide the slightest opinion without immediately being scrutinized or labeled by those who are supposed to be considered peers.  The minute anyone is in disagreement they’re bombarded with slander and derogation.  There is no community feel and little to no support of the music for what it is, an art form.  And maybe the music has nothing to do with it; maybe people truly are just animals in their primal nature.  Maybe its just our fatal flaw as a species.  Either way, I can say its a troubling sight to say the least, and I have no clue how to reverse the direction we’ve headed amidst it all.

    It pains me to address a passion of mine in such manner.  As much as I am an idealistic in my philosophical tendencies I also approach things from an extremely realist point of view, which leads me into being more of a cynic than anything.  Truth is, I see what has become of both the music and the fans and am honestly sick to my stomach much of the time.  Its even worse when I attend a live show and see not a shred of intelligent life around me.  Just merely robotic repetition and an abundance of substance/alcohol abuse to numb out any emotional connection or conscious awareness of any kind.  It seems more and more evident that this is what it has become.  And as I take a step back, I think to myself, who’s the fault is it that caused all this madness and chaos? And how do we fix it?  Either serve as million dollar question if there ever was one.


    Matt G