How the genre of rap is evolving

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Graphic by Simran Dhaliwal

I like to think about rap on a spectrum — much like the political one.

Just like there is a left and right in politics, there is a left and right in rap: liberals on the left, who encourage change and a forward way of thinking, conservatives on the right, who cherish and try to protect fundamental values.

Artists like Young Thug, Future and Migos are leading the transformation of rap, while artists like Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole and Drake are taking a more fundamental approach.

It is obvious that the “left” is becoming more popularized and is slowly taking over the mainstream.

From a rap perspective, most of the music being put out is, quite frankly, bad.

This “new brand” of rap, characterized by songs that focus heavily on the flow and beat, rather than the lyrics, has transgressed from the old-school principles with little to no value being offered by the lyrics other than to simply compliment the beat.

Rap is a sub-culture of hip-hop and originated from the South Bronx.

Although lyrics weren’t a huge component of rap, they gave a voice to the voiceless by allowing them to speak about their daily life.

The lyrics could be as simple as someone talking about going to the store to buy something.

Later in the ‘90s, lyrics became a huge element of rap, with rappers like Tupac, Biggie and Snoop Dogg using the genre to create clever wordplay and to express their deepest thoughts.

This evolution of rap has now dominated for nearly two and a half decades, longer than any other previous evolution.

Although lyrics weren’t a huge component of rap, they gave a voice to the voiceless by allowing them to speak about their daily life. 

With it’s success, it’s safe to say that lyrics are key element of rap.

Without lyrics, rap is bland. It holds no value.

I’m not saying the lyrics must always be meaningful or include clever wordplay, but the presence of words should, at least, be clear.

Now, many would try to argue that these new rappers aren’t trying to come up with great lyrics.

They’ll say something along the lines of: the whole point is for it to sound good, not for the song to have great lyrics.

Artists like Lil Yatchy and Lil Uzi Vert are often simply making noises out of words.

This is in no way even close to what rap started as or has been.

To a large number of people, including myself, rap is the ability to use words to tell a story, vent or simply rhyme while matching the words with the beat to come up with a flow.

If a beat is dominated with noises rather words and the foundational element of lyrics is being thrown away, why isn’t it classified as a different genre?

One of biggest problems I have with this new wave is when people call some of these newer artists the “greatest of all time.”

How can someone even begin to compare Tupac to Young Thug?

Their music is in no way comparable and both are trying to accomplish two completely different goals.

It’s like comparing apples to oranges. They’re so different that you can’t even begin to compare them.

It’s not fair to either artist to rival the other, as they are not even competing in the same space.

It’s important to acknowledge the fundamental differences within hip-hop and artists should compete with others in their own category.

Rapping and mumbling are two completely different things.

I’m not saying don’t listen to these new artists and I’m not saying they are bad artists.

All I’m saying is that they’re bad rappers.


2 Responses to “How the genre of rap is evolving”

  1. Lil Uzi Vert Avatar
    Lil Uzi Vert

    wow sourabh so cool!! But why isn’t your last name capitalized

  2. Nilimaborulkar Avatar
    Nilimaborulkar

    Well done Sourabh!!

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