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The Real?

Waddup y’all, we’ve arrived at day 5, the final day of my guest blogging gig up here. First off, it’s definitely been a dope experience. From tryna come up with topics that’ll keep you guys’ attention to seeing the gravitation and responses to what’s been posted, I appreciate it all. Hopefully the variety of topics gave you all a better understanding as to who I am and how I came up. For this last lap, I wanna sum it up with the argument of all arguments; what should be considered as “real hip hop”?

For starters, I never really liked the term “real hip hop”. Well, let me correct that; I never liked what people categorize as real hip hop when they hear the term. The stigma is, anything that sounds boom bap-ish, has scratches for a hook, is lyric driven and doesn’t brag in its contents is real hip hop, and anything that’s the opposite isn’t. Growing up on such a vast variety of hip hop made me believe that real hip hop wasn’t easily defined by just that.

From day one hip hop was about bragging. The earliest records that everyone categorizes as real hip hop were essentially about what you had, what you had ON, and how cool you were. Messages didn’t come into play until later, and once the genre expanded into other things, people looked down on what hip hop started out as. Within hip hop is a melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles, all of which make up what we know as hip hop culture. When all of that is involved, you’re bound to have different views and outlooks on what the hip hop you make should sound like. Somewhere along the way though, the lines got crossed and fans became divided.

To me, hip hop isn’t about what the sound is, but more so just what sounds good, simple as that. Some of the best and most impactful hip hop has nothing to do with “boom bap”, thus making it matter that much more (being that it can show the growth of the game while staying true to it’s core). As a fan, I came up on everything, and I say that proudly. The people who only listen to the underground circuit are as much at fault as the ones who refuse to turn off the radio. I think being at least aware of everything the game has to offer is the only way to truly have a valid opinion of the game. Granted, I’m not a fan of a lot of what’s considered mainstream at all, but I don’t disregard something before hearing it just because it’s classified as mainstream. For example, people bug out when they hear that I’m a big Young Jeezy fan, and it makes me laugh because I think “wow, just because I make records with 9th and Preem and them, I can’t like Jeezy”? I think Jeezy makes some of the dopest hip hop out. It may not be the most lyrical to us, but the honesty in it is what makes it more hip hop then what a lot of people campaign for from their favorite artists.

Hip hop is about making what’s real to you. If your life is working a 9 to 5 and representing black power and being “conscious”, then you making music about that is real hip hop. If your life is standing on a corner all night to keep the lights on, then your music reflecting that is real hip hop. Nothing’s off limits as long as it’s real to you. My iPod is filled with everything from Jeezy to Mos Def, Nas to Devin The Dude, Jay-Z to GZA, The Clipse to Snoop, 50 Cent to Murs, Elzhi to Mase, you get the point. In my opinion, ALL of that is real hip hop. Anyone claiming only the underground is just at fault as anyone only claiming the radio (though I understand your reasoning for the latter).

When you get my album, you’ll see it’s not auto tune, techno, hipster, or anything like that at all, but it’s not necessarily boom bap either. It has elements of that because that’s apart of how I came up, but it’s not the only way I came up. So if you were to ask, is it honest rap? Absolutely. Is it drug rap? Could be. Is it underground? Some may feel that way. Is it mainstream? Can be at times. Does it feel sort of old school? Maybe. Is it the sound of tomorrow? Hopefully. Is it real hip hop? 100%.

Signing off, do remember that my debut album “The Salvation” drops September 29th on Jamla Records/Duck Down. Executive produced by myself and 9th Wonder, the production line up consists of 9th, Just Blaze, Nottz, Needlz, Illmind, Black Milk and more. To me, it’s real hip hop, because it’s real music that all really happened, not because of it being soul samples or old school drums. It’s real because everything on it is what really happened.—Skyzoo

Before I go, shouts to Carl Chery, Rob, Vanessa, John, Jaeki, and the whole xxlmag staff. This was definitely a dope experience. I appreciate it for real. Holla at me.

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