Just when did ‘RAP’ turn into ‘CRAP’!
Rap was born out of hard times, a way to tell people about the struggles that prevailed. Rap has never been away from criticism that it faced by the American media. Be it the East Coast- West Coast rivalry, the infamous murders of hip-hop stars like Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G or the more than colourful language used in these songs. Even though these critics rush to call attention to some of these violent lyrics by rappers, they fail to understand the actual message. Rap, like any other art form needs to be understood keeping in mind the history and society that it started from. Lyrical wars against the establishment, giving people a sense of the harsh injustice. Lyricism — one of the four (perhaps five) components of hip-hop — means utilising your words to pull at individuals’ heart strings, battle oppression and foul play, and change the world through never ending positive vibes.
Over the years it moved to displays of clout and wealth which is still a major theme today but the delivery has undergone a slight change which only seems to be getting more and more popular. There are still popular exceptions to the paradigm such as J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar, but artists like Migos, Lil Pump and 6ix9ine are mumbling their way to the top of the charts. Mumble rap or Soundcloud rap is the most recent form of rapping. Instead of rapping clearly with any meaning, these rappers usually rhyme some very basic words together like can, ban, xan, and if you’re really lucky then they might even rhyme gang with gang. Their songs are repetitive and monotonous for the most part, with a catchy beat to keep you hooked. Compare this to when Eminem rhymed 10 things to ‘orange’; the only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that has no perfect rhyme.
The billboard charts are mostly dominated by Drake whenever his new album comes out but otherwise the majority is made up of new age mumble rappers and they are apparently the biggest stars on this planet. You just create a beat, shout out some words, which for the listeners turn out to be slightly difficult to gauge the first time around because of the mumbling and put it on music streaming sites like Soundcloud/Spotify. That’s about it. Congratulations, you now have enough money to harbour a drug problem.
For example; Future, who is an expert on not actually rapping is one of the best Mumble rappers alive, he combined relatively basic verses enlightening us about the wonders of Molly and Percocet with a beat, a flute overlay and ended up with millions of dollars off his most famous song, Mask off. So what caused this epidemic? (Yes it is one).
According to some people, one of the reasons is the prescription cough medicine codeine or, as the rappers do, add sprite to it and call it lean.
They drink dat purple drank which causes them to rap while on it, instead of just rapping about it. Others believe it gained popularity because there isn’t any complex lyricism involved, mostly just basic rhymes over and over again, which meant it was easy, which meant it became popular. Snoop Dogg rightly pointed out that back when rap was in its ascension; rappers could be differentiated and were known for their unique style.
Nobody can put it better than J.Cole in one of his songs the lyrics of which go like, “the ‘O.G gatekeep’ rappers, the ‘would you take a break please’ rappers.”
Now, sadly, since its more or less absorbed into the main stream, mumble rap is here to stay, all day, everyday, the billboard charts its gonna slay.
By Abhishek Aggarwal