The De-Evolution Of Rap Music…
Jay-Z doesn’t write down his lyrics. Yeah. So what? We’ve heard him say that shit a thousand million times. I didn’t believe it at first simply because he has so much material spread throughout the course of his career that he would have to be the idiot savant of rap music to commit all of it to memory. Of course he can’t be in charge of the daily operations of a nightclub business or a clothing line when he is committing all of brainpower to remembering raps and their associated cadences and shit. But there was a bigger reason that I thought he would have been motivated to jot his thought down on paper for.
The written word is the evolution of thinking for man. It’s when man realized that had to grow up from relying on allegories and anecdotes spoken in poem and song to creating a permanent story for the truth he experienced – his story. By writing down his thoughts man was acknowledging that his mind developed ideas that were worth preserving. I suppose that in a way Jay-Z is admitting that his mind hasn’t created any ideas that would stand up in value over time, although I would argue that ‘Reasonable Doubt’ belongs in the top 50 of raps music’s greatest albums. Somewhere in the late thirties – early forties range.
So now a whole generation of rappers have also decided to adopt the mantra of not writing their lyrics on paper. In this case I think it’s because they don’t want there to be any further scrutinization of their rhymes. I can’t blame them for that. Most rappers realize that they aren’t saying shit in the first place. At least they aren’t saying anything original or creative to the point that we should preserve it for examination and study in subsequent generations. This is why I mainly fucks with the Wu-Tang and cats like Joell Ortiz and Black Thought and whoever else keeps a rhymebook. I appreciate the emcees that respect their craft.
That means they also respect me, because I am the listener. I’m the person that will listen to their thoughts at a later date and possibly examine them for their truth and their validity. Will their lyrics resonate with my life five years, ten years, after they were first delivered? I believe so. Some people that know Hip-Hop would argue that Grandmaster Caz is one of the greatest emcees of all time. It was the powerful content from his rhymebook that enabled Sylvia Robinson to place three total strangers together and form the Sugarhill Gang. NaSir Jones was quick to tell people that the potency of his rhymebook could enslave a man’s brain. What in the world have you seen that has been more captivating than Cam’Ron’s rhymebook?
Committing your thoughts to paper is empowering because it allows you to review the processes of your mind, and through the time it requires to transcribe your words it reminds you that the thoughts you are transferring have value. In the end, it’s not simply your ideas which have value, but you as a person.