For years, hip hop has gone down hill. Personally, I believe out of all of the genres it has become the worst amongst pop, rock, country, and everything else but has 2018 seen the rise of what hip hop used to be? Back in the 90s and early 2000s names like Ice Cube and Eminem were huge and to this day those names haven’t lost their wow power. Since the end of 2017 Eminem has made a comeback and solidified his position among hip hop royalty, fondly known by his fans as the “Rap God” or the GOAT (greatest of all time). His album like Revival and most recently Kamikaze on top of the very public beef with MGK has put a much needed breath of life into the rap industry. Not only Em but look at Ice Cube. Ice Cube in the past few years has mostly focused his career in the movie industry but as most people know he got his start in what most people know as the most dangerous music group in the world N.W.A and then he moved onto a solo music career. Ice Cube recently dropped a single called “Arrest the President,” which criticizes President Trump. We’re seeing some of these older rappers making a comeback and it’s an exhilarating feeling for hip hop heads who love this industry. I’m excited for hip hop and the potential that it has now to grow.
Diss tracks have a long drawn out history in the hip hop community. Everyone who is a hip hop fan has their favorite. Right now I could name a few diss tracks that are probably in most people’s top 5. Ice Cube (No Vaseline), Tupac (Hit em Up), Nas (Ether), and I could probably name about a dozen Eminem diss tracks. Speaking of Eminem he’s found himself once again in the middle of a hip hop beef with Machine Gun Kelly aka MGK. This has been an intriguing and interesting battle because no one and I mean NO ONE ever chooses to verbally spar with Eminem in a diss track. It just doesn’t happen. The actual diss track’s back and forth started when Eminem released his surprise album Kamikaze. Eminem made one slight reference/diss to MGK in one line but MGK decided to come at Eminem in a whole diss song. I listened to it, amd I can’t lie that it eventually grew on me but I’m also a life long Eminem fan forever and always. As it started to seem that Eminem wasn’t going to fire back after 2 weeks had passed I think everyone started to assume that MGK had won. MGK threw some shots at Em that did question his character. As a fan I started to question his character, but he FINALLY came back with a diss song called Killshot. Eminem basically put MGK in his place. There was a slight satisfaction for me. If you had any doubt that Em had lost his touch then you were greatly mistaken. I read comments online and one thing that I can agree with wholeheartedly is that Em is bringing real music back. I think that’s his main mission. Eminem has made it no secret that he hates these mumble rappers that are getting more clout these days than real artists. Something definitely needs to change within the music industry. I don’t even see how some of these rappers got a record deal but that’s for another discussion. I’m definitely curious to see if MGK fires back with another diss track, but what I get from Em’s diss track and his recent interview with radio personality Sway he’s done with MGK and has no time for little boys.
Now listening to this new album, Kamikaze, it is reminiscent of the old Eminem but I also believe it’s still the mature Eminem, but he’s gone back to his roots. Even looking at the cover of the album you can tell that he’s paying homage to the Beastie Boys first album License to Ill, and Eminem has stated that the Beastie Boys were one of his earliest influences.
Surprise! What a major surprise we have here. I’m going through my day without a care in the world, going about my business and then all of a sudden I see news and Facebook posts about these new songs from Eminem’s NEW album, an album that no one knew was coming. It honestly came like a thief in the night…no promoting, no ads, and apparently no noise whatsoever….out of the blue KABOOM! Em hit us with a bomb, but definitely in a good way. I’ve listened to the album and you can’t help but compare it to Eminem’s previous album, Revival, that came out last December. I love Em but I’m not afraid to say as an Eminem that album was not his greatest. I tried to like a few of those songs, but none of those songs on the Revival album I could really appreciate. I believe as an Eminem fan that I put Em on this pedestal, and I believe other Eminem fans feel the same way. We just expect better from Em, and as one of the YouTube channels that I follow said, “Revival was basically corny pop sh*t.” Now I like pop music don’t get me wrong but when putting it in the same league as Eminem it’s just not right. Now listening to this new album, Kamikaze, it is reminiscent of the old Eminem but I also believe it’s still the mature Eminem, but he’s gone back to his roots. Even looking at the cover of the album you can tell that he’s paying homage to the Beastie Boys first album License to Ill, and Eminem has stated that the Beastie Boys were one of his earliest influences. To me Revival had too many pop artists features. Ok, I love Ed Sheeran and I like Beyoncé but he doesn’t need them on their albums. I wholeheartedly understand that artists need to step out of the norm and experiment with different types of artists, but his last album just didn’t hit the mark. When I look at the track list to Kamikaze versus Revival you can see that there aren’t a lot of features at all. There are a couple like Joyner Lucas and Royce da 5’9, but they’re hip hop artists which is the difference. To me that’s a reflection of the old Eminem as well. When he first came out he didn’t have too many artists featured in his song except for maybe Dr. Dre, Obie Trice, D12 but again ALL HIP HOP ARTISTS. Bottom line is that Eminem did it right this time and the fact that he dropped this album with no notice, no promotions, NOTHING, and yet people are still talking about it that takes talent. That’s why Em is considered the GOAT!
I don’t care what anyone says but I will say that this year Drake has been on top of his game with his songs and music videos. His three big songs/music videos has been “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What,” and “I’m Upset.” The first two are downloaded on my phone amd listen to them on a regular basis and I just heard “I’m Upset” and watched the music video today. Each song and video holds something special. I love “God’s Plan” because the song is fire but the video is just heart warming. Drake gives away almost a million dollars to regular people of Miami…cars, stacks of cash, a scholarship, shopping sprees. Drake just outdid himself and then after that video he comes out with “Nice for What” paying homage to successful women and the song isn’t bad either. It basically sends out a message to regular women and young girls like myself that you can be anything that you want to be. Then his latest, possibly greatest video if you’re an old school Degrassi fan, the tv show where Drake came to fame. The music video for “I’m Upset” brings people my age a twinge of nostalgia because it’s all about a REUNION! Yes, Drake decides to bring all of his old castmates back together for a 10 year “high school reunion” which was the premise of the music video. Drake is definitely doing his thing….giving to charity, representing women, and nostalgia. What more can you ask for?
Everyone is familiar with Eminem’s controversial freestyle rant about Donald Trump at the BET Hip Hop Awards a couple of months ago. His biggest fans were by his side all the way, appreciating his lyrical genius and his nerve to be so controverisal, although long time fans like myself know that Eminem has no problem with controversy and throwing every celebrity under the bus. Then of course there’s the other end of the spectrum filled with people who are more than likely Trump supporters who were outraged and making comments that summed up to this is Eminem’s desperate attempt to make himself relevant again. I’m not here to talk about Eminem’s freestyle about Trump. I want to shine a light on Eminem’s career and his (successful?) comeback. I’ve been an Eminem fan ever since I was a little girl. I’m a HUGE fan. His music was always so raw and real and mind blowing. A lot of his lyrics made you laugh or drop your mouth open because you couldn’t believe he just said that. He’s also probably been one of the most controversial rappers of our time. Gay and women rights groups have come up against Eminem in the past for promoting hate speech and still through it all I and everyone of his fans have supported him and his music because we feel like we know what he’s about. Now it’s 2017 and Eminem has a new album called “Revival” coming out in about a week. If I’m not mistaken this is his first album in a couple of years and I hate to be one of those fans, but judging by the songs that I have heard already I want the old Eminem back. I always said that true fans should support Eminem because even if the Slim Shady persona is dead Eminem has matured so we can’t expect the craziness like when Em first started out. I ask this though, to be a true fan do you have to like every song? I don’t think so. I think as fans we should demand quality from our favorite artists. We don’t have to kiss their butts. If we don’t like the direction an artist is going or the music he or she is putting out then we have the right to our opinion and I have to say that I am not feeling Eminem right now as much as it pains me to say that. I don’t like his new song with Beyoncé even though I fully understand the message of the song. I just can’t get into it and that’s alright. Hopefully, there are some songs on this new album that I can get into.
Hip-hop is one of my favorite music genres, but sadly hip-hop has disintegrated over the years. It’s just not what it once was. True hip-hop to me has always been about storytelling and technique, but it doesn’t seem like it takes much skill these days. I was listening to “Faded” by Tyga ft. Lil Wayne and even though Lil Wayne isn’t necessarily my favorite rapper I have to commend him on his clever word play in one of his lines. (Warning: Explicit language ahead) The line goes like this: “She knows my dick. She call that nigga Richard prior to me comin I had to stick my thumb in…” You see what he did there? Dick is another name for Richard and then Richard Pryor/”prior” was a comedian. I just thought that was so clever. Being an English major I can appreciate little nuggets like that within the lyrics. I just don’t like the direction that hip-hop has been going the past few years. It’s just been bizarre lately like that god awful song “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B.
Music is one of the main things in ny life that truly brings me happiness. I can’t even explain my feelings about music. Bottom line is that music is magical. So, I’m at work listening to my Pandora and the station I’m listening to right now is Old School Rap. I’m probably in the majority that thinks that old school music is the best. It’s way better tham today’s music and I’m only 25 years old. Now don’t get me wrong. There are artists today who are taking music to whole other places and doing something unique with it. Those people are true artists, but sadly most of the rap genre has gone downhill but that is just a generalization of course. There are a select few who are doing great things in hip hop, but listening to these oldies…rap hits that came out in the 70s, 80s, and 90s brings so much nostalgia that sometimes I just get the chills and I wasn’t even born in the 70s or 80s but that’s the beauty of music. Music transcends race, decades, generations, and so forth. Earlier the song “Me, Myself, and I” by De La Soul was on and I was just like “Wow! This is true music right here.” Music should conjure up those feelings. Music truly is a universal language.