“As long as we are not ourselves, we will try to be what other people are.” -Malidoma Patrice Somé (Of Water and the Spirit)
By Medley Jones
Tupac, Biggie, Wu Tang Clan, N.W.A, all of the Grand Masters from the Bronx, and many other rap icons built the foundation of the hip-hop and rap that has diverged into many diverse directions over the years. As subgenres like mumble rap hit the airwaves and continue to top charts, it is necessary to evaluate the overall value this new sound brings.
Some roots of classic 90’s rap and hip-hop are shown through new releases from artists we still admire today and have made a new creative version of hip-hop and rap we can all appreciate. Thanks to artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z the true essence of hip-hop’s core thrives.
It’s subgenres like mumble rap that have made hip-hop seem less credible in merit but more creative in flow. Some rappers utilize these eccentric new genres to make a quick come up.
Benefits to this sudden growth of mumble rapping are due to advances in technology. Anyone has an equal opportunity to ‘make it’ in music. The downside to this growth being it lowers listeners' standards in the quality of music and the authenticity that comes with creative lyric writing.
As one of our founding hip-hop fathers briefly explained, mumble rap is a biting formula that will grow tired easily. Instead of making their own sound, rappers copy methods that they see work, instead of being original.
There is also a trapping stigma put on mumble rap. The lyrical context often seems to follow patterns regarding negative connotations towards women, drugs, money, guns, and sometimes alcohol. I hate to sound like your grandmother talking about that “darn music”, but, in all honesty, as that type of message grows more popular it only continues to hinder the efforts of progression through the feminist movement.
Mumble rap is not going away any time soon. As unintelligent as their flow lyrics go, the come up formula proves beneficial for lower income communities. I call it the Obama effect. Think about it.
When Obama was elected into office, this gave young black men who had all odds against them hope which turned into change. All they needed was a strong male example to say “It’s possible.” Same goes for mumble rap. Most of the artists who originated the genre come from the hood or the projects. The negative content in their lyrics is often because they are rapping based on what they know. As a result, this gives African American youth more hope to make a living for themselves. However, with trapping being attached to the dream, their come up could come with consequences.
What do you think? Is mumble rap here to stay? Or is it just a phase?