Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The De-Gangstafication of Rap Music

When I was growing up "Gangsta Rap" ruled the charts. Yes I had to put that in quotes because today the genre no longer exists. Around the time Rock and Roll went to shit, these guys stepped in and filled the" musicians that kick ass" void. Gangsta Rap of course was of course created by real life inner-city thugs that found out that they could gain another form of income by glorifying their lifestyle. Their lifestyle and the music that glorified it was only comprised of three areas of subject matter. (1) Being hard and shooting fools. (2) Selling narcotics and smoking large amounts of marijuana. (3) Pimping Hos. Rappers would "beef" (have feuds) over who was the "realest" gangsta out. This of course all came to a head with the whole East-West coastal rap battle with Biggie and Pac (pictured left..looking gangsta) where everybody took the whole "being hard" thing to heart and the 2 best Gangsta rappers ended up actually getting shot. Oops. (When keeping it real goes..wrong)

Post Big/Pac however you still had awesome gangsta rappers, everybody just kinda chilled on the whole "actually shooting each other in drive-bys" aspect of the music. Gangsta rappers all still rapped about shootings/selling drugs/pimping hos even if they weren't necessarily FULLY going through with the whole lifestyle in reality. Which was fine. I still bought into it. Who cares? It's not like I've watched "Goodfellas" 8,000 times because I believe Joe Pesci and DeNiro ACTUALLY stomp dudes faces in public (though they probably have), I watch because I like buying into the story. Gangsta rappers of course all named themselves after either cool movie gangsters or real-life criminals to demonstrate how much they loved the "Thug Life." Rappers had awesome names like Mobb Deep, Scarface, and Capone N Noreaga. Capone and Noreaga were so hard, people ignored the fact that the concept of a 20's Chicago crime lord and 80's Panamanian dictator forming an alliance was utterly fucking ridiculous.

Then I don't know what happened. Gangsta Rap just STOPPED being popular. 50 Cent was probably the last guy that thought of himself as a "Gangsta" but cmon the guy sells Vitamin Water, how hard is he at this point? So what caused this? I personally point the finger at Rapper/Producer/Genius/Douchebag extraordinairre Kanye fucking West. Kanye West came out went platinum 80x and made it cool to NOT be a thug. You didn't even have to come up with a hard rap name you could use your lame birth name! And then record labels went out on a search for the next Kanye. And you got all these loser rappers from the burbs who defined being cool as wearing skinny jeans, urkel glasses and a suit jacket over a Miles Davis tee. What a bunch of douchebags. Now you no longer had to rap about the holy trinity of thug life elements. NO. Now you could rap about "skateboarding," or "politics" or.....(gasp)....being RESPECTFUL of women. WTF.

The worst part is that I now have things in common with the rappers ruling the charts. OH MAN. "Lupe Fiasco" wore airwalks and was once employed in retail?? ME TOO. "Times was hard growing up in the Burbs. One year I had to save up TWO Blockbuster paychecks to buy the new Jordans." Yeah lame. Why didn't you just flip a couple ounces real quick to get the dough. That's what Biggie woulda done. Worst of all the whole persona and aura of the cool rapper lifestyle is gone. People have nothing to live vicariously through in rap music. Lets examine this exchange that NEVER occurs in real life:

Me: What up shorty?

Shorty: Mmm. What up Daddy what you want?

Me: Say Ho, how bout we goes back to my crib so you can slob on my knob like corn on da cob?

Shorty: Daaamn Baby! You know I'm down! Lets go!

Me: Cool. Also paying for ya own drink. Good talk.

In the world of Gangsta Rap however, this conversation occurs quite regularly. That's what made Gangsta Rap so awesome. It provided us with an awesomely ridiculous fantasy lifestyle for us regular folks to idolize, but never actually aspire to. Nobody on my block is intimidated by my proficiency with a firearm (since I don't own one). I don't make a living selling narcotics. If I call a bit....err....beautiful young lady (sorry got too into character) a Ho a drink is getting poured on my head and I'm paying for it. Nobody should aspire to be me. That's why we need gangster rappers to idolize. So please somebody call Pac and tell him to come and throw Kanye down a flight of stairs and record a Thug Life record quick before I have to go purchase a gloc to shoot...myself with.

1 comment:

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