By Claire Copps
Hip-Hop has stopped being about the lyrics. I do not know how many true lovers of Hip-Hop are on this campus, but Hip-Hop to me is about lyricism and creativity. Lyricism can be described as a poetic style and way of speaking. Well, having heard the two newest Soulja Boy tracks, I’m going to have to go out on a limb and say it is not about the poetry.
“Yahh,” already one of Soulja Boy’s top ten songs on BET, exclaims “Get out my face” more than eight times in a row, followed by the word “yahh” more than twenty times in the song. He explained in an interview that the word “yahh” actually means “no.”
The release of “Yahh” closely follows the hit release of Flo Rida and T-Pain’s “Low.” For some reason, I can’t tell you why, but the use of the word low eight times in a row just does not strike me as hard to write or produce. How hard is it to put together a simple club beat and talk about hot girls and money? Now, let’s go back to the days of true hip hop.
Back to A Tribe Called Quest, constant producers of classics and new sounds. Back to De La Soul, the group with amazing wordplay, innovative sampling, and contributions to jazz rap. Back to the days of early Nas, who was pushed to commercial sounds by Columbia as his career went on, but still maintained his amazing flow and bluntness delivery of harsh truths.
Back to the funk and soul based Outkast. Back to the poet Mos Def, the unmatchable Talib Kweli, and their duo release “Black Star,” arguably one of my favorite albums.
Yet, it seems when we hear songs addressing real issues, there tends to be a very negative reaction. Take, for example, Lil’ Wayne’s song “Georgia Bush” off the Dedication 2. Everyone loves Lil’ Wayne’s unique tone and smooth flow, but once he comes out with a song with a true opinion on something other than the predictable topics, people immediately diss him.
Once politics or religion is brought into Hip-Hop it automatically turns into a debate, when it is really the artists’ freedom of expression.
Why is that? Has Hip-Hop become so commercialized that you only have to write ten or so actual lines then fill in the rest with samples about cash and hos?
Let’s take other opinionated rappers, like Lupe Fiasco who wrote “Hurt Me Soul,” mentioning real life scenarios and the degradation of women in hip hop; or Common, with songs like “The People” which address real people and their struggle; or the Roots with “Guns are Drawn,” about true controversy and life.
Those issues are real, intelligent, and important. Hip-Hop needs a new face, and it need not be dollar bills and half naked girls; it needs to represent what Hip-Hop was meant to represent- the real struggles and hardships in life and how people get through those on their own terms.
You decide, which of these two is better: DJ Khaled’s hit “I’m so hood, I wear my pants below my waist;” or the Dead Prez lyrics “You would rather have a Lexus, or justice? A dream or some substance? A Beemer, a necklace, or freedom?”