If Hip-Hop Is Dead, Do We Have To Bury It?

By Nicole Perrino  |  04/22/2008

I Am Hip-Hop t-shirtIt's killin' me. The analyzing, the arguments, the theories behind this whole HIP HOP IS DEAD sh**. I know it's been going on for a good minute, but the more new artists we see and ones from past months we don't, it just calls for some analyzing. It's bugging the hell out of me that people are taking the best rappers to ever grace this earth with their presence, and using them in arguments against these new one-to-three hit wonders, in proving that they aren't worthy. By even putting the greats in the same sentence as these cats out now, we are disgracing the hip-hop Gods! And that's not an insult to the new artists.

People seem to like blaming the South. It's not hard to see why people would think that. I mean, we've had a few years of nothing but club hits and get crazy music, all from different artists. I don't blame the South at all though. I believe this change in the music game made it the right time for Southern artists to enter the game. If you want to say it is destroyed, just admit that it was already on its way to being destroyed. Snap music and crunk just gave us something to get our minds off of it.

You see, back in the days before iPods and LimeWire, there was just you, a music store and an entire album on cassette on the shelf. If you were lucky, you could buy the first hit single if you were scared you weren't going to like the entire album, or you would catch a good version of it on the radio to record without the DJ shouting out the station every ten seconds. There were no playlists, just the mixtapes you made yourself. It was like we were forced to become full fledged fans. Why not? We had the whole album in front of us. Now you don't even have to know the name of the artist, just type in the song and you're ready to download. It's so much more impersonal, and that's where our technology has taken us.

If you look at a timeline of rap, you will see how everything fell perfectly into place. Every gap was closed, even if it was filled with something different than what had been there previously. A friend asked me to imagine if these new rappers would be anything if Pac was still around. And I just could not imagine Pac and the artists today even co-existing, much less than compare them. I feel like artists like Nas and Jay-Z are not only here to continue making good music, but also to not let us forget what the good sh** sounded like. Like they were sent from the hip-hop Jesus to spread the words of the hip-hop Bible. And I believe this will happen every generation. If I was older I would be talking about records and The Sugar Hill Gang. My daughter might write about mp3s and Lil Wayne.

So if you want to blame something for this change in music, blame technology. After all, it is the reason why people who could never sing in the first place sound great after some major tweaking. But please, don't blame the South. Their music is what we feel good to in the club. And we all know the club has to spin the hottest new sh**. It's not a summer BBQ where Uncle Leroy throws on the "Electric Slide." Yea the DJ is going to throw some classics in there, but the playlist is constantly changing. And since the new sh** coming from the South ends up being a lot of club bangers, it's bound to see changes on a monthly basis. But give it props for being felt worldwide. The classics will always be classics. And I think that's more of a location thing. New York will always choose Nas or Jay Z. The South has Lil Wayne's back and a lot of artists that we aren't really up on like that. And there are the people who like all of it. That's how it's always been. So give credit to the South, for producing sh** that people from all over can feel good to.

So hip-hop might be dead, but no one said that we have to bury it.