Rap, the genre of music loved by many, but hated by most. Why do so many people hate rap? Ask someone to listen to a song, but mention it’s rap, and you’ll usually instantly get denied before they even give the song a chance. There are, in my opinion, two sides to the genre. There’s the side that tops the charts with violent and sometimes stupid phrases, and the side that many don’t know about, the side where the artist tells a story.
Artists like J. Cole, G-Eazy, and Logic, to just name a few, write music that has meaning and tells the listener a story. J Cole mentioned in an interview, “The money and the fame doesn’t affect me; I’ll keep making music that connects to me and music my fans can connect to.” Good rap is a form of poetry. It’s something many people listen to, and as J Cole mentioned, connect to.
The good music of the genre is the songs that tell a story, the songs that have a powerful meaning that connects with the listener, all while still having a head bobbing beat. If this is the “good” rap, why does all the bad rap, like most of 2Chainz songs or the bad side to Tyler the Creator, always top the charts? Well, because it’s what people dance to, what people want to listen to when they’re working out, what people want to listen to when they’re driving, or want to get pumped up. It’s loud, it’s powerful, it wakes you up. There’s a time when that style of rap is appropriate and many times when it’s not. If you’re maybe getting pumped up for a big game, in the car with some friends, or at a party, the “bad” side of rap is acceptable. It’s probably not smart to listen to this style of the genre when you’re studying or trying to relax.
But this “bad” style of rap isn’t all terrible; you can still find story and meaning in some songs, if you can get past the language. Both sides to the genre will have bad language. That’s just part of rap, but that doesn’t make the genre “bad”. If you really don’t like the few swear words in the good style, then get the clean version, but personally, I prefer the language.
These “bad words”, when used appropriately, add more voice to the song. They’re powerful words; they can change the meaning to the song, they can quickly make it deeper, they have this greater meaning and effect, rather than just bad. For example, one of Kanye West’s songs “Hey Mama” has the explicit label, and for some reason that can be the reason many people won’t even press the play button. Kanye West dedicated this song completely to his mother, where he compliments her and thanks her for how much she has supported him through developing his career.
Rap may not be one of your favorite genres; it may never be, but I can promise you that there’s at least one artist, or album, or song, that you can relate to, and that you will enjoy listening to. If you’re interested in giving rap a try, stay clear of the iTunes top 100 or anything similar, and do not judge an artist on just a few of their songs! Take a little extra time to research the artist and their songs; usually the least popular songs are the best.
Give Kanye a chance; listen to “Jesus Walks” or “Street Lights”. Check out Big Sean, J Cole, Logic, G-Eazy, Lupe Fiasco, Drake! If the genre is new to you, take some time to find artists that tell the stories, if they’re just powerful, or ones you can relate to. While some songs may be, the genre of rap is not this terrible, trashy style of music that so many condemn.
Logan Haak, Guest Reporter