Monday, June 18, 2012

Lyricism in hip hop

I went onto HipHopDX's website today (like I do often), and out of sheer curiousity, I read their review of, smh, Waka Flocka Flame's new album "Triple F Life: Friends, Fans, & Family". Now, I'm clearly NOT a fan of anything involving this guy, but before I get to the real purpose of this (lyricism), I want to share a small story on Waka.

In the Spring of 2010, I was at a family gathering, and a cousin of mine named Trevon (about 11 or 12 at the time) was singing Waka's "O Let's Do It", word for word. At this point, I had no idea who the hell Waka Flocka was, and I didn't like this song at all. Once Trevon finished rapping, here's the convo verbatim:

Wayne: "You like that song don't you?"
Trevon: "Yep!" "You don't like Waka Flocka?!!"
W: "WHO?????!!!!!!"
T: (Laughs) "Waka Flocka!" "You never heard of him?"
W: (Shaking head) "No (lol)".

Right there, for probably the first time ever, I felt "old", lol, because back in my day, for example I would have a Wu-Tang or a Mobb Deep CD around, and an elder would be like "who are they". My how times have changed.

Getting back to the original topic here, lyricism in hip hop has been present since its birth, obviously, and it has seen it's share of evolution over the years, for better and worse. Without lyricism, you essentially have nothing more than incoherent rambling about NOTHING, lack of subject matter, etc, and in a way, this is mostly what's popular today, unfortunately. There was a time when it you didn't have it on the mic, you wouldn't make it in hip hop. Nowadays (and it's been like this for recent years now), you can create ANYTHING and you have a hit, but an artist who actually takes the time to make something positive gets little to no attention. Think about that for a moment.

I want to focus on two things that Waka said and it was highlighted briefly in the review.

1. He stated "he's not into being lyrical".
Ok, aside from the obvious money and fame, if you're not into being lyrical, what the hell is your purpose for being in hip hop? Hip hop is MORE than just beats and hooks, having a party, and getting hype/yelling constantly, but apparently Waka (and others like him) don't see it that way. If someone asks what does Waka talk about, what does he represent, I would probably say "I literally have no idea".

2. He stated being lyrical "ain't finnin to get you no money".
Ain't finnin to get you no money. Wow, I see someone has good speaking skills, smh. Anyone who supports this notion clearly has no idea what hip hop and its culture stands for and what it's supposed to represent. I'll admit there are quite a few artists (mostly underground) that are lyrical and haven't had much success (which is another problem that has plagued hip hop for a long time), however, I've never condoned "dumbing down" your lyrics and subject matter just to cater to a different audience. You should always keep it real with yourself and the fans and do YOU.

No lyricism in hip hop is like football and basketball without coaches, it's not going to work.

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