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Keeping It Hip-Hop…

November 26, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments


As I sit here, late as fuck, and I listen to 808s & Heartbreak, I hear Kanye West singing his version of the blues in the form of Hip-Hop Pop Art (as he calls it). For the past month, I’ve been reading articles and reading user comments about how Kanye is selling out by singing instead of rapping, how Kanye needs to go back to rapping and stop this auto-tune bull-ish, and how Kanye sold out.

Sold out? In the world of hip-hop? Is there such a thing? What does it mean to ‘sell out in hip-hop’? Does that mean to stop being an artist and keep to the outline of hip-hop? And if there was an outline to hip-hop, in 2008, what would that be?

– If you’re a producer, make sure all your beats have repetitive high hats.
– Make straight radio hits. Nothing else.
– Make a song with a hook and nothing else. IE: Swing, Get Silly, My Dougie, etc.

Those are some of the basic rules to the general rap that has been going on in 2008. Anything else, in the hip hop community, is not accepted. So when Kanye West released Love Lockdown for the first time the collective look on the HH community’s face was a blank stare.

Nothing else.

What just happened? Did someone smack the standard in the face and challenge what is real and what is not? Did someone decide to break the barrier of genres and venture into his own? What Kanye West accomplished is going to open doors for hip-hop artists to be creative. Why? Tha Carter IV, Lil’ Wayne’s next retail release album, is going to include much singing and be more focused on rock music. So should it not be considered hip-hop? Should it be considered rock? Nope.

It should be considered music.

There is no such thing as a ‘standard’ of hip-hop. There is no such thing as an ‘outline’ for hip hop. There is no such thing as ‘selling out to hip-hop’. He’s not turning his back on the community, he’s just paving his own path from all the Soulja Boy -ish. He’s making his own version of hip-hop and people, I think, should accept it. If they don’t then they don’t. People are going to have their own versions of what hip hop is or what metal is or what classic rock is. Genres aside, it’s still music.

Appreciate it for what it is.

– MX

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