The flood of indistinguishable rappers populating the music industry
Before last week, I knew little to nothing of rap culture. It was just something I skipped on the radio when my Manfred Man CD got jammed in the car. You could have told me Post Malone was actually Cody Simpson on downers and I’d likely have believed you.
So, ignorant to the genre, I’d been curious to look into the sudden flood of rap artists populating the music industry. I thought we could all have a good, much-needed laugh as a geriatric twenty-one year old attempted to decipher what the hell A Boogie wit da Hoodie is.
I’d never heard of any of these names; artists such as Juice WRLD, DaBaby, Lil Baby—who are apparently not the same person—Pop Smoke and, of course, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, were all but unknown to me. These are the artists I’ll be focusing on below.
Initially, I was intrigued but it did not take long for that intrigue to vanish, quickly substituted for confusion and disappointment. Although my expectations were low, by no means was this what I expected.
So here is my crude and extremely elementary take on the flood of indistinguishable artists littering the music charts.
After stripping these songs of their production value, almost all of them can be categorized under two distinct designations: “I am wealthy and women love me” or “I am wealthy and I am sad.”
There’s not much to say for the latter category. People have been writing about being miserable for decades. It’s part of the human condition. Blues music is nothing more than sad people singing about being sad.
So go ahead. Mac Miller made a career out of it, and there’s nothing to say these guys can’t too.
It’s the former category where I take issue: the blatant sexualization of women. I was ignorant to just how misogynistic the industry was before I began researching for this article. I wish I could say I’m surprised but really, I’m just tired of the narrative.
It baffles me that such a socially “woke” culture is content to stand by and support artists blatantly using women as an accessory. In the music video for Lil Baby’s Forget That, his staff of cladly dressed women surround him in front of a trashy Rolls Royce, literally accessorizing him. They hand him jewelry and stacks of cash all while picking the lint off of his nine dollar H&M graphic tee.
Progression at its finest. Ruth Bader Ginsberg should rest easy knowing full well that today’s youth have a handle on our society’s historical injustices.
A Boogie wit da Hoodie’s Vroom Vroom consists of him—and two artists who I assume are contracted through Fiverr—mumbling the majority of the song directly into a woman’s gyrating backside. If not a metaphor for his target audience, this gesture only reinforces the idea that women are the objective.
Put the sexism aside for a minute—as awful as it is—and consider the fact that these exhausted tropes are simply unoriginal.
There’s nothing innovative about misogyny. Ray Charles once sang: “she knows a woman’s place is right there in her home,” and I’m sorry, but I’ve Got a Woman is a much better song than BOP.
These songs—and to an extent the artist—are novelty. They are often glamourized through brief TikTok samples, further promoting their global success on the charts. Save for a few artists, the majority of these rappers seem to disappear relatively quickly and often without notice. Platforms like TikTok foster global marketing, giving otherwise unknown artists a chance at stardom.
But there’s a catch. Just as internet trends never stick around for very long, neither do artists who found their success there. Simply put, people get bored. When’s the last time you heard from the Yodelling Kid? Or Lil Nas X?
But of course, not everyone falls into these categories. I’m generalizing. Juice WRLD’s Smile is an optimistic, hopeful song about prioritising the happiness of his love interest. Within the crude, highly sexualized genre there is good, meaningful content.
It’s quite possible there are several hundred sub-categories of the genre. I’m looking at an almost microscopic sample size here. But that sample size, to me as a whole, is appalling—and a little sad.