Hip Hop and The Listener
Hip Hop is rhythmic music that when combined with rapping, is a somewhat of a rhyming speech. Originated from lyricists and poets created what is known today as rap. Rap is just one of four parts of hip-hop. The four components of hip hop culture are rapping, DJing, dancing (breakdancing), and graffiti. The term hip-hop was brought about by early rap pioneers when this music was still known as “disco rap”. Rapping is also referred to as MC’ing depending on who you ask because of the varying eras in hip-hop history.
The 70’s, the time period when hip-hop originated, had basic rhymes that were often referred often referred to as nursery rhymes. The late 80’s and early 90’s was when “gangster rap” suddenly emerged from inner cities was when artists like Schoolly D, Ice T, and N.W.A. These rappers emerged representing their neighborhoods by using their neighborhood slang. They rapped about gangs, violence, sex, drugs, and other topics that startled much of mainstream America.
Along with rough rappers like the pioneers of gangsta rap, there were other rapper such as RUN-DMC and LL Cool J that showed a soft more lyrical side of hip-hop. Rap trio RUN-DMC broke down a barrier by collaborating with rock group Aerosmith on song ‘Walk This Way’ which introduced most of the world to hip-hop for the first time. As the 90’s approached rap was still not accepted by the world. Rappers such as MC Hammer released hit single “U Can't Touch This” which was top 10 on of the billboard top 100. In 1992 Dr. Dre released his album “The Chronic” putting ‘West Coast Rap’ back on the map. The following year Snoop Dogg released his album ‘Doggystyle’ which established the G-Funk style of rap. In the mid 90’s rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Jay Z, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, appeared both representing where they were from and their coasts simultaneously.
In the mid 90’s the East Coast / West Coast beef started. The media put out lies and twisted stories causing several artists to fight and threaten each other. The media portrayed rapper 2Pac as the leader of the West Coast and rapper Notorious B.I.G was portrayed as the leader of the East Coast. The media threw anything on shelves to fuel the beef. Once that happened is when I believe the ‘listener’ me though I was not alive at that time was taught to hate the other coast.
When I say the listener I mean a child who was raised by hip-hop. The average adolescent mind sees these rappers and entertainers on TV and want to be just like them. I believe this is because they know nothing of the origin of hip-hop. We involuntarily become a part of this life. We listen to this music because it is what we relate to in most cases and I can relate to all rap music in some way which is why I rap which also might make me biased here.
The ‘listener’ hears “F*ck H*es!” or “F*ck B*tches” and it becomes a part of their vocabulary which then becomes a part of their life which is where new culture started. Since the early stages of hip hop and rap it has changed drastically. It seems as if rap either influences the culture in inner cities or inner cities influence the rap music. Currently in Chicago “drill” music is the sound of the cities rap music. With leaders of the “drill” movement such as Chief Keef, Lil Reese, Lil Durk, Fredo Santana, Lil Bibby, Lil Herb, King Louie, Rondo Numba Nine, and the late L’A Capone.
These rappers have in some opinions done a lot for the Chicago or have negatively impacted the murder capital in the United States. First I would like to introduce some Chicago slang because Chicago is one of the largest urban rap scenes right now. For instance a rapper from “Chiraq” Chicago might say “I’m in the field doing drills catch an op he popped like a pill!”.
I just made that up because their style of rap is very predictable but that means that the rapper is out in the streets (the field) killing anyone that poses a threat (doing drills). Drilling is killing in this context. “Catch an op he popped like a pill!”, an “op” is the opposition or rival gang. Chicago rap has changed their city, and hip hop. The music is fueling beef between gangs which show artists posing with guns, drugs, and throwing up their “set” gang sign.
This new era of hip hop presents a negative view to the rest of the world on not just what the Chicago rap scene is like but also what the hip hop is a culture. Other artists from Chicago such as Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco have spoken out on how terrible the rap scene is in Chicago right now from the combination of rap and gang violence which both support each other.
Lupe spoke out on Chief Keef leading this ignorant age and of course 18 year old Chief Keef responded not caring much about what elder Chicago lyricist had to offer saying on twitter “Lupe fiasco a hoe ass n*gga And wen I see him I'ma smack him like da lil bitch he is #300” . Lupe responded with “I'm trying to DO better @chiefkeef as we all should. We were born with no expectations to make it. born in the hood, live there die there..”.
The listener hears IGNORANCE! There is no reason why rappers as talented as Lupe should be just barely reaching one million views and Chief Keef makes a song about what he doesn’t like titled “Don’t Like” and has 90 million views. Clearly the listener would rather listen to dumbed down rap, this in turn kills hip hop.
Rap will always influence hip hop. The listener will be influenced by the culture. The culture will be tarnished by ignorance. That is hip hop and the listener.