Twitter was a buzz over Drake after watching him take home a record 13 billboard awards last night. I even have to admit, the scene of seeing Drake with his whole entourage on stage in a room full of people who rather listen to Miley Cyrus than Jay z was extremely fulfilling. I think I almost cried when I saw Lil Wayne throw corn chips on Drake’s all white outfit as the presenters announced that Drake broke Adele’s record for most win’s in a single night. It certainly was a great night for the Toronto born star but even better one for Hip Hop.
Lets be real. The billboard awards is a predominately white pop centric show. Hip Hop stars are rarely successful at these show because they aren’t pop stars that fit in the mold the billboards would want you to. They even announced Drake as a Superstar. This is true, but he is a Superstar rappper. There is a difference between the two. I’ll leave it to you to tell me the difference.
Anyway, back to the point of the post. Drake may be seen as a pop star to some now. Me included, but he is now and forever will be a rapper that comes from Hip Hop. That means that is win is a win for Hip Hop. That scene of him on the stage with his crew and bottles of Virginia Black was so Hip Hop I almost thought I was watching the BET awards. It was amazing and a good look for Hip Hop. Congrats Drake, even though he will probably never read this. But let me know what you guys think. Is this a win for Hip Hop? or do you think I just full of it? either is fine just let me know why. Comment below and let the kid know!
Tupac ruined the rap game when he tattooed “Thug Life” on his stomach. This isn’t to say that he was the first thug or gangsta of hip hop. But that image of that tattoo was seen worldwide and let everyone know that this is hip hop. It was great for the 1990’s when that kind of life style was seen as cool or the norm in hip hop. Today, however I see kids on social media trying to be gangsters and thugs and it isn’t right.
I use Tupac as an example because he was such a powerful figure in the culture. He was truly special with how he was able to reach people by being authentic to himself. He is like god to most people who listen to rap, but he is flawed like anyone else. He was not a perfect person and lived a reckless life that was brought about by his self-proclaimed “thug lifestyle.” We celebrate Tupac like he is the man and he is. The problem is people saw this and thought they could be him. The reality though is you can’t. There is only one Tupac and he unfortunately is not here anymore.
In 2017, Tupac should be an example to everyone that being a thug doesn’t have a good end. I understand that everyone grows up in a different environment and some things are hard to escape but death isn’t one of them. Being a thug will get you death or jail. Both aren’t very cool.
The cool thing to do today is going to school and get your college degree like J cole. Or up lift people out of bad situations like Kendrick Lamar. Or become the biggest rapper in the genre like Drake, by dedicating yourself to your passion and nothing else. These are hip hop’s representation today and we are in a better place for it.
Again, I want to say that Tupac is amazing and was a uniquely special human being. However, he wasn’t perfect and we all can learn from his mistakes and short comings. As a long time fan of hip hop we have made a habit of celebrating the thugs. Hopefully this new generation could change that standard.
Rock and Roll was considered the rebel music of its day. Young people naturally gravitated towards it, and older people rejected it. It was flashy, in your face, and counter-culture. It simply was the new wave of its time. Fast forward to today and that all has changed. Hip hop and Rap is now that wave.
I grew up listening to a lot of different music, but hip hop and rap was always the coolest. It was the music that your parents didn’t quite approve of but somehow resonated with you the most. It was more than just music too, it was a culture that you lived and breathed. I spoke the dialect, I dressed the part, and I lived through the music. And I wasn’t the only one. I had a whole generations of kids beside me doing the same.
Look at some of the biggest artist in Hip Hop right now. Artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole have created such an impact that kids are growing up wanting to be just like them. When either of these artist drop an album it feels as if social media stops for a minute to bask in their greatness. And their shows are simply ridiculous. We are talking arenas, stadiums, even a sighting on the street garners such great attention. The fans live through their music and that is the power of hip hop’s rock star power.
On the flip side though, these are mega stars. So it makes sense they would get this kind of attention. What about rappers who aren’t as popular? Well I can tell you from first hand experience it still is just as ridiculous.
I have gone to many small clubs and venues to see rappers who were famous but not at the superstar level yet. Rappers like G Eazy, Mac Miller, Bas, and Logic. The reaction and love these artist got were crazy. People would stand 5 hours in line just to get into these places, then stand 3 more hours for a show. It’s crazy, but that’s rock and roll or should I say Hip Hop.
Kanye West once told Zane Lowe in an interview that “We are the new rock stars.” Kanye was of course referring to rappers. Usually Kanye is a little off in his judgements but he got this one right. Rappers are the new rock stars and we are just living in their world.