The Rap Game is Changing

Posted on by MarcusB and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Oh great, another white rapper. Is this a white guy acting black? If so, I guess his idea of black is Manhattan high-rise apartments, Brooks Brothers, investment banking, and college. A whole lotta college. 8 mile was so 10 years ago; will the real slim shady please sit back down.

Here’s the up and coming Mike Stud, a typical bro who played baseball for Duke and is now going to Georgetown for grad school.

I’m sure most of you have heard of Childish Gambino by now if you’ve seen Donald Glover’s comedy work. It’s not like his style is completely original or has never been done before; there has always been *those* black guys who have been skateboarding or playing bass guitar just like white guys since the beginning of time, but just 7 years ago, it seems like the rap game was determined by how poor the neighborhood of your childhood was. Tupac has also stopped releasing records, but I don’t think it’s because he’s dead. His last posthumous record was released in 2006 but I doubt the record companies planned on having Tupac rise from the grave only to stop at 7 of them.

I know that gangster rap still exists and people are still taking pride in how street they are; the underground is alive and well, but I’m starting to see a large change in trend unfolding in real time. What it means for the future or why this has happened I am not too sure; but rap has definitely started to move up from the Queensbridge Housing Projects to the Waldorf-Astoria. And not in a Scarface-I-got-here-by-selling-crack-cocaine kind of way. That’s just not as realistic anymore. No one would believe that story in 2011. I think college kids these days would rather party to Skrillex, Porter Robinson, and other dubstep rather than drinking 40s while acting hard in front of the 7-11.

So what gives? Did white people finally take over and realize that being ghetto isn’t cool anymore, thereby redirecting the trajectory of rap music to dance and club music, which inadvertently led to the desire to leave street cred behind in favor of upgrading lifestyles? I don’t believe there is a direct correlation between the changing of the rap game and the recent increase in college attendance and more importantly, the *massive* increase in enrollment in for-profit colleges. But I do believe that these are 2 incredibly important phase changes of American (as well as global) culture that are worth looking at. They may be more related than you think. I’ve even started to see increases in majors for engineering, med school, and law school. It’s also odd that this desire for a Harvard, Brooks Brothers (while still managing to party and smoke weed before the LSATs) lifestyle is happening during a distressing time in history where the financial and political future is unknown.

Even Eminem decided to wear pants that fit, and maybe he isn’t as mad at his mom anymore.

(caption: Form fitting clothes are so in right now.)

(caption: Do-rags are not so in right now.)

Ice Cube from Boyz ‘N Da Hood is out, Mark Zuckerberg from the Social Network is in. So why do you think this happened? Or more importantly, what does it mean for the future?

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4 Responses to The Rap Game is Changing

  1. Elisabeth says:

    “I know that gangster rap still exists and people are still taking pride in how street they are; the underground is alive and well…”

    You’re overstating how “underground” gangster rap really is.

    The real phenomenon is that gangster rap became so ubiquitous, so commodified and so associated with less desireable people (ie, white trash) that the cool people are moving on to other forms of hip hop. People are bored and gangsta became passé.

    • MarcusB says:

      Hey Elisabeth, thanks for the answer.

      I agree that gangster rap has become passe as people recognize how commodified it is. When I mistakenly associated underground with gangster rap, I was thinking of some alternative hip hop artists who take pride in how “raw” they are, but I still agree with your point.

  2. dbzl says:

    I loved Rap because I wasn’t ghetto I was the revenge of the Huxtables. Rap gave me a reason to finally believe what my parents from the 40s and 60s were saying. Rap was black, it wasn’t a john hughes flick or any afternoon school special it was young black folks playing music for other young black folks following the tradition of black artists who made music but were screwed over, robbed, and held down or worse yet forced to conform or OMG crossover.
    I still love my 80s and 90s rap and sometimes some newer stuff. Its tough to listen to when your driving with two young kids when you originally used it to chill, or to get ready to battle on a sports field. Face it the swearing just doesn’t need to be repeated by little kids.
    I wish RAP, (forget that I WISH BROTHERS) would have made music RAP to last so I can listen to it in mixed rooms, with my kids like when I listen to the CURE and the other stuff I love.
    I am still Black, ICE CUBE’s “AMERIKKKA’S MOST WANTED” STILL MAKES ME GET ANGRY but I got to chill with that, save it for days when I do my weekend warrior football thing. I can still only go so far because if I really feel it I may hurt a guy, humming the Ramones or thinking he’s in the proper head space with Eminem going thru his head.

  3. Napsterbater says:

    Poor black kids created Hip Hop, which erupted when it found an audience with mainstream white America, (mainstream black America mostly listened to jazz and Motown) by projecting an aspirational image of toughness and criminality. The image is changing to reflect Whitey’s new insecurities.