Music has always been about expression at its core that is organically created. Music is an intrinsic part of the artist’s being that is expressed through cords, lyrics, and beats. There have been millions of artists to come and go in music but one of the keys to many artists longevity is the ability to have their audience have a small peek into their psyche and lives. In Hip hop it seems to be vital thing missing from some artists. If you look into these artists ability to be able to have staying grace or potentially iconic status will be when people know who the hell they are.
This whole post was inspired by one of those hip hop conversations that happen via social networking sites. This debate was over the MTV’s Hottest MCs list that was discussed on my podcast. Someone wrote in and talked about Rick Ross, French Montana, Trinidad James, and a few other artists. I began to think what do we know about Rick Ross besides him being a former correction officer and being chased around the Country by the Gangster Disciples? We don’t know much about Trinidad James besides he has an eccentric personality and style that many people still is authentic. What do we know about French Montana…at all? And I am not hatin’ on Ross because like I have many times before Rick Ross is the best beat selector in the history of hip hop. But, really what part of him do we really learn that we haven’t learned from other rap artists? Even 2 Chainz has a story to tell.
Now this isn’t one of those posts raving about how hip hop is bad now or anything along those lines but more of the idea that artists will only be able to have so long of a career without a delving into their thought process. People will attach to an artist more the more we know about them and who they are. Within saying this I am not talking about necessarily all of their personal business but you must have something people can identify with in some way. Most people are probably think this can only be attributed to “conscious” rappers but that’s not true because many artists show something in their music.
Nas throughout his music has shown all the ranges of emotions and desires from the death of his mother, relationship with his father and daughter, to his marriage woes.
Jay-Z was able to show is acumen for business, even his political thoughts, birth and even personal situations with his mother and father.
Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion or whatever he is calling himself now) was able to let us get into his thoughts and notion of just living life to the fullest and having fun.
J. Cole has been able to let listeners feel the story of a young person trying to make it in this world.
Kendrick Lamar is able to show himself through cohesively making an album that told an inner city story of love, struggle, pain, and joy.
E-40 through his music was able to introduce us to slanguage and Bay area hustlers mind state.
Phonte is able to show the aspects of hip hop being grown, in love, trying to stay in love, and survive life.
Drake as sensitive as his he can be does show a side of emotion of young men that isn’t seen.
Lil Wayne hate him or love him he does display how much he loves big butts, promethazine, and skateboarding. The dude is crazy as hell but it is something that has to be said about his “Martian” persona.
The ability to have some ability to have balance in the art is something that transcends just the time the music. People have to remember you for something and it doesn’t have to be on some “conscious tip” but think about all the people who you feel dear and close to you is because you feel like you know them. Even if they are ratchet it is something about an artist that we can feel like we know through their authentic voice.
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “F*** Chuck Norris and Any 70+ year Old Man” with special guest singer JLR. You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, or I-Pad with Stitcher Radio.