Artists Can’t Be Real Because the Fans Aren’t

First off, I don’t blog. This is the first time that I’ve ever felt compelled to contribute my thoughts in a public forum, such as this publication.

Well… That’s not ENTIRELY true.

You see, I responded via XXLMag.com a couple of years ago, after seeing a YouTube video of Jim Jones and his crew running from Junior M.A.F.I.A. at a Rucker’s game (in Harlem! Jones’ home! JM, of course, is from Brooklyn!). This was at the height of Jimmy “throwing rocks at the throne” of BK’s own, S. Carter. You will see the relevance of this introductory paragraph as I continue with my summary on the topic: “The importance of on-the record lyrical battles.”

Before I go in, let me apologize, because in my summation, I will also touch on the “realness” (or lack thereof) in today’s hip-hop. I know that I’m supposed to pick one topic or the other, however, you can’t talk about one without involving the other.

Let us begin…..

In the first paragraph, I stated that I don’t blog and I don’t, for several reasons. One main reason is because of the era that I come from. You see, I come from a time when you don’t talk about it, you BE about it, and, as stated in “The Real Street Issue” of XXL, there are way too many “Internet gangstas” out there who take it too far on these blogs but wouldn’t bust a grape in a REAL fruit fight. And there, I think lies (at least part of ) the problem: the fans of today’s hip-hop.

In Shyne’s interview of editor, Vanessa Satten, part of the debate was, are the fans what they used to be? The undeniable answer is, “No.” Like the culture itself, fans have changed. In the era that I came up in, the late ’80s and ’90s, it was about “keeping it real,” which basically meant you couldn’t talk about it if you ain’t live it. In the streets, if you “faked jacks,” you got checked. This spilled over into the music and therefore put some integrity in the game. Sucka MC’s got checked on the regular, just as a sucka n***as got checked in the streets for faking jacks. The environment of that era, the struggle, forced n***as to grind and the hustle to survive became the hunger to be the best, the flyest, the realest. That era produced a lot of legendary street hustlers and there, of course, was competition. You had to have the flyest whip; the flyest chain; the flyest clothes; the baddest chick! This too, paralleled the music (i.e., who’s the dopest MC?). It wasn’t just to have bragging rights, it was more about respect. Respect for the struggle, respect for the art, and the respect of being lyrically supreme.

The Bible states that the generation in latter days would be “weaker but wiser.” In this world of “high-speed” Internet and “instant messaging,” everything is “right now.” This microwave society has produced a lot of overnight sensations that did not have to go through any type of struggle to get on or prove themselves. So why bother themselves with a battle? It’s obvious that lyrics are not important in today’s hip-hop, therefore there is no need to prove who is lyrically supreme.

Ultimately, it is the fault of the fans, because, by supporting the music of rappers like Waka Flocka Flame and Soulja Boy, whose beats are bangin’ but raps are nursery rhyme, we’re saying that we don’t care about lyrical content. Therefore no need for battles of lyrical supremacy, thus the competitiveness, and ultimately the art form, suffers. No wonder when a Rick Ross comes along, who’s lyrical but whose background is questionable, we embrace him! We are lyrically starved and rap battles ensured that not only were we fed but fed with substance. That’s why rap battles are important.

‘Nuff said. —Biggstshombe

  • Pierzy

    I support your sentiment (especially the final paragraph), but the writing is all over the place and there’s very little structure.

    I think it would’ve benefited from an early paragraph explaining your position and then using the rest of the post to support that position.

    Good thoughts but the writing needs to be much sharper.

  • Big Meech

    Fuck nigga.

    • Larry Hoover

      Co-sign.

    • Jerod

      Loser ^^^

      • antiwhite

        look @ this pussy nigga jerod tryna act tuff on tha internet nigga u a hoe hahahaha HOE ASS NIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGA

  • M. Baby!

    I agree with what @Pierzy said. It’s kind of all over the place but you made great points. But you said u don’t blog like that so I feel u. You were just expressing your feelings about this wack ass Hip-Hop music that’s out now. That’s why I vowed the other day to only listen to a few artist like Hov, Jeezy, T.I., Kanye, and a few others and I’m going strictly underground. I’m gonna listen to underground like Big Krit, J Cole, Wale, and some others. It’s clear that there’s a big difference in Hip-Hop and Rap. I’m going strictly with Rap. With all of this wack music out now it should motivate the underground game to make a big come back.

  • H8 Yt Ppl

    bitch

  • Sha

    I would have to disagree with this one. First of all, how can a fan be fake? You like who you like and you follow who you follow…

    And this dude acts as though “Real” hip-hop has been the only type of hip-hop that was released in the past. What about PM Dawn (although I wouldn’t even remotely consider them hip hop), Kid N Play, 2 Live Crew, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and many others???? Lameness has always existed in every type of music.

    And as far as fans? There have always been fans, and then there’s been LUNATICS. How many dumb ass people did you see with the baggy genie-pants like MC Hammer, or the Mega High-Top fade like Kid from Kid n Play?
    How many Kat Stacks got smashed by Big Daddy Kane when they snuck backstage during his hay day? Didn’t Ice-T basically pimp his own wife on his album cover? And what about all of those Luke dancers?

    Bottom line, the music isn’t lamer because of the fans. The music is lame because the music is lame. Some music back in the day was lame, just as some music today is lame.

    • Devi Gargon

      I gotta beg to differ with SOME of the names you mentioned.

      Kid and Play why are they wack, cause they danced, cause they had FUN when they rapped. Go back to Rolling With Kid and Play,Kid and Play Kickstep, Getting Funky, then joints BANG, right now! And even in movies, they showed the art of competition/without violence ALL THE TIME! And they made it acceptable for rappers to be in BIG budget films,RAPPER ACTORS OWE GRADITUDE!

      HAMMER is debatable, but go back to LETS GET IT STARTED, he’s the second artist out of the bay to put shit on the map! Why he wack, cause he actually made a rap show that could compete with any artist out! Cause he didnt talk street shit all day. AND WITHOUT HAMMER, JEAN DESIGNERS WOULD STILL HAVE US IN NUT HUGGERS! Yall complain about skinny jeans now, Hammer made loose fit popular!

      2 Live Crew put florida on the map. They created a whole subgenre, that was the predominant music in the south. AND WHEN YOU SLOW BASS DOWN, YOU GET THE SOUTHERN MUSIC OF TODAY!

      VANILLA ICE – NO COMMENT

      The difference is significance!

    • rg

      Some of the groups may have been lame but that doesn’t mean they weren’t real. Kid n play liked to dance and rap so they were real with it. Luke liked booty dancers so he was real about his. Now everybody is claiming what they are not, and never were. They can tell all the gangsta and drug stories you want , but do it in story form and not first person if it’ s not you.

  • SmokinAces

    I don’t know when it became cool for bloggers to blame the fans for the bullshit music the ARTISTS are putting out.

  • emerald flowsion

    Every thread I hear a namedrop of Waka Flocka Flame and Soulja Boy types, yet they are selling like crazy, its sad to say but their fans might be overall better fans. They are buying their cds and merch, thats why I respond to this bringing up their names but I try not to continually namedrop them because I think its only getting more kids on these sites to look them up and get into that bubblegum shit. Take some time to namedrop some greats instead so people reading the blog can at least look up their names on a video site and check them out. And lets start buying cds and merch of artists we want to see and promote them instead of promoting these shitty artists through negativity, the minute the church slammed JK Rowling for her writing Harry Potter books rocketed in sales.

    Its ok to like your club jams fans nobody should tell you what to listen to, but I don’t expect you to always be in the mood to dance and party with some two step, take a listen to a classic like Jeru the Damaja – Come Clean, while its an older gem its a great place to start.

  • El Tico Loco

    Sha

    You have a point except that right now there’s no excuse for the shit that’s out now. Why? Because back in the day hip hop was barely started so it was still still trying to find to find its identity let’s not mention that it was still a 1st generation of rappers. So yes there were Hammers, VI’s, and Kid n Play who by the way were among the nicest out they just were not hardcore, they were just trying to find an identity for the whole genre and that was their interpretation, and let’s not forget that at least the radio played as much the good as they did the wack now is all wack on the radio, and oversaturated as hell, then If you heard a rap song an hour it was a treat.

    Another thing, as time went on mc’s kept trying to improve their skills, competition was fierce all the way up to the 90′s concepts and subject matter got deeper til the first shiny suit appeared and it was downhill from there. In hip hop the only element that gets better each generation is the b-boy and the turntablist because they got sicker with time, why didn’t the rappers do that? Why it seems that the more you suck the more you’re praised now? Nowadays going to a hip hop show now is like going to the MOMA to see fingerpaintings.

    • http://www.bboycult.com Don mcCaine

      ^^^ this right here

  • http://www.myspace.com/shasheriashirika Sha Emperess(SHA E)

    Great Job Bigg.
    Don’t stop writing. the world of hip-hop needs your voice.

    ONE LOVE
    SHA E

  • guhn clap-ah

    pussy nigga u a hoe

  • http://tone1andonly@twitter.com Tone

    I thought you should have followed up on your opening paragraph. Never quite tied it in to the rest of the blog. Made a few good points, and few weak ones. I thought the blog was pretty average. Point being is that Hip Hop is not what it used to be. Lyrics don’t matter because Hip Hop caters to the young crowd, hence soldier boy’s success. Peace and do you!

  • http://tone1andonly@twitter.com Tone

    I thought you should have followed up on your opening paragraph. Never quite tied it in to the rest of the blog. Made a few good points, and few weak ones. I thought the blog was pretty average. Point being is that Hip Hop is not what it used to be. Lyrics don’t matter because Hip Hop caters to the young crowd, hence soldier boy’s success. Peace and do you!

    follow me at Tone1andOnly at twitter.

  • http://tone1andonly@twitter.com Tone

    I thought you should have followed up on your opening paragraph. Never quite tied it in to the rest of the blog. Made a few good points, and few weak ones. I thought the blog was pretty average. Point being is that Hip Hop is not what it used to be. Lyrics don’t matter because Hip Hop caters to the young crowd, hence soldier boy’s success. Peace and do you!

    follow me at Tone1andOnly at twitter.

  • Malik

    Old heads have this revisionist history that hip hop was some sort of utopia scene of lyricism back in their day. It wasn’t though. The gulf between even average emcees now and the average emcees at the birth can’t even be put into words how wide the gap is in favor of current rappers.

    Battling is overrated and has basically killed an entire generation of New York rappers who’s only concern is to battle and use the same 10 punchlines to get a little paper in their pocket. Compare even back in the day, how many of the 80s classic albums do we remember because how they could battle? Not many. The albums we remember from the 80s were ones from original artists who knew how to create a great concept for an album and do it in fun, new and interesting ways.

    Hip Hop has expanded and people’s wants and demands from hip hop have expanded also. Regardless “keeping it real” in hip hop is stupid because it usually consists of getting shot, shooting someone, dying, going to jail, killing someone, or all of the above.

    • El Tico Loco

      Like I said in my first comment, the difference of now and then is that then everything was just getting started, so there were a few kinks and minimum technology to work with, and yes hip hop has expanded but it hasn’t advanced at all in years.

      • Malik

        Listen to more hip hop then. Because the range of styles, techniques, and subject matter has and still is vastly expanded on the mic and in production.

        • El Tico Loco

          Few and far in between, for every Slaughterhouse, AOTP, Jay Elec, Rain or Immortal Tech there 10 Wackas, 20 Guccis, 30 Travis Porters clogging the lane and spotlight.

        • 619

          Vastly expanded on the production? How the hell you figure that when damn near every album still sample shit from the 70′s.

        • 619

          Maybe you should check the production credits on new “vastly expanded production” hahaha so you can see where half the beats and choruses come from.

  • red orvil

    “Old heads have this revisionist history that hip hop was some sort of utopia scene of lyricism back in their day. It wasn’t though.”

    You’re a jackass, sorry. Please go listen to some Yo Mtv Rap top tens back in the 90s, and top tens of hip hop today and come back.

    • Malik

      The 90s are not “old school” nor was it the beginning of hip hop. Do your homework. Regardless, hip hop has always existed beyond the top 10.

  • GIFT

    I all in all agree with this piece. Guys let’s be honest, fans are different now but it’s bigger than that. If you have the internet now which includes facebook, twitter, and youtube. With those tools, it’s a double edged sword, because artist can immediately upload bullshit for the world to see. there’s no build up or true anticipation for projects anymore. Fans want real music, but when the powers that be jam the same 5 to 8 artist down your throat for a whole summer, of course people are gonna go with it. They may not dig that shit, but it’s all that’s out, at least that we can hear on a regular basis. alot of cats talk down on projects because they ain’t doin huge first week numbers anymore, but back in the day, that never was a sure fire way to tell an albums worth. There are many albums that are banger from track 1 to whatever, but it’s not marketed correctly, or they don’t have the budget to really put a machine behind it. the whole game is different. Fans don’t buy as much, because the artist in the game aren’t challenging themselves, and us as fans are not demanding these fuck boys to upgrade their content. I know i got people on this shit who feel the same way I do, and if so, then let’s continue to support are artist. If we feel like their shit is classic, then buy it. Target fuckin sells albums for cheap. if you get a bootleg, go buy the shit if the bootleg jams. If we want real hip hop back, then lets support it. soljah boy may be whack, but his fans buy his shit. period. we should be good fans for the shit we feel, but in the same token, the artist needs to make us want to support them.

  • gift

    mad typos in that shit too LOL! but yall get the point though

  • gift

    also this nigga is gay

  • http://bit.ly/GetYourMindRight AWKWORD

    eh… Guess I should have sent mine in after all.

  • http://hypestyleshomebase.blogspot.com HypeStyles

    very good commentary!

  • http://youtube.com/reelmuzik ReelMuzikRep

    Best Article Yet! This whole “I’m the realest” thing is DEAD… come to youtube.com/reelmuzik …you’ll be amazed.

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