As a die hard Hip-Hop fan who has recently set up his own label, I dedicate a good deal of time trawling through the depths of Soundcloud to try and find some new music to pleasure my ears.
More often than not all I can find is the same old boring boom-bap flow with jazzy beats. Now don’t get me wrong, 13 year old me would have loved to hear what D-Pizzle thinks of the current political state of his home town in middle America, but we’re entering 2017 now.
Decades have past since Biggie said ‘it was all a dream’, but we still have MC’s spitting the same old dead-ass cliche lyrics over and over again, and there’s just no room for mediocrity in my Soundcloud likes.
So what do I actually enjoy listening to when I wake up? The answer is simple; trap. I love getting out of bed in the morning to the sound of Lil-Yachty’s out of pitch singing and autotuned ad-libs.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll still bow down to the likes of Kendrick and I still stand by the fact that Isaiah Rashad released the album of the year this year. However in a year where the leader of the free world is a misogynistic egomaniac, and Leonardo DiCaprio is reminding us how fucked our planet is, one of the few solaces I have is when I get a bottle of whiskey out, roll up a fat one and listen to two of the happiest people in music express their culture.
Culture is such an important part of art; the Grime scene in the UK would be nothing if it wasn’t for (mainly) black youths growing up in council estates, shotting bags and standing in circles passing joints and rapping about their lives. It’s the same for trap. You cannot dismiss an entire culture, just because you don’t understand it. I have had this debate countless amounts of times from people who just like me, love and live Hip-Hop.
The majority of my friends don’t listen to trap; they say that the lyrics have no meaning, and they’re sometimes not even saying words. Now, of course, to rap heads that have been used to the amazing wordplay of whichever 90’s rapper their dad had on vinyl, the likes of Migos, Desiigner and Yachty are blasphemy, and in some ways I do indeed agree with them. But these young men and women making trap music grew up on the exact same tracks we were, however their culture of guns, drugs, and sipping lean, helps to develop an entirely new form of music that, love it or hate it, is here to stay.
Just as pioneers such as Kool DJ Herc or Grandmaster flash developed the genre of hip-hop beats from ‘breaks’ in reggae and R&B tunes, we have trap pioneers who are drastically changing the way we see rap and rap culture. KRS-one did an awesome lecture on hip-hop, where he talks about rap not being the beats, the lyrics or the art itself, but rather the attitude that produces them, and if you look at these new wave rappers and the lifestyle they live, their attitude is very similar to that of your Biggies or your Tupac’s.
At the end of the day, it is just young men who are trying to break out of the lifestyle they were born in – they are trying to overcome societal pressures, not in a way of conforming to the status quo, but rather by maintaining to do what they do, but just doing it with more swag.
I don’t condone violence or abuse to any person, but if you spit it on a beat that I’ll vibe to then hell yeah I’ll bump the shit out of that.
Just know I’m not taking it seriously, and neither should you. Stop worrying about meaning, or ‘conscious’ rap, and just enjoy your sad, lonely, meaningless existence.
words by Alex Rodrigues