The death of hip-hop was foretold long ago and earlier than you think. Nas may have outlined it with the release of the conspicuously titled Hip Hop Is Dead but A Tribe Called Quest were writing rhymes about selling out back in the early 90s. Common’s I Used to Love H.E.R is a brilliant ode to the changing landscape of a once vibrant genre.
There has been a resurgence of interest of late with the scene revitalised by the emergence of Odd Future, A$AP Rocky and others. I’m not convinced about any of them. Hip-Hop has always been about swag but now it seems to be the only commodity on the table.
Beyond the new comers, old hands – ol’ G’s if you will – have cornered the mainstream market for almost a decade. Jay-Z and Kanye West are arguably the two biggest stars in the music industry but that’s been to the ultimate detriment of their music. That would be a paradox, perhaps, in a society more concerned with substance than flash.
Along the line, both saw visions of commercial superstardom and artsitic compromises had to be made. I for one can’t begrudge them their money or success. Those that have followed their careers from the outset however, must be disappointed when comparing today’s diluted offerings to their early work respectively.
Things have most certainly changed. In what universe would the Snoop Doggy Dogg of 1992 think he’d go on to send a youtube video to Arsenal’s Jack Wishere? And what would happen if those universes were to collide?
Similar to how people compare sportsmen and women or teams from across the generations what would happen if Snoop Doggy Dogg (circa 1992) came up against Snoop Dogg (2012)? Kanye (2005) vs Kanye ( 2012)? Outkast (1998) vs Outkast (2012)?
Musically, I think I know which would come out victorious, but what would they say to each other?
Kanye West – All Falls Down vs Kanye West – POWER
Kanye is still capable of sporadic greatness, Blame Game is fantasitc for instance, but the man suffers from an addiction to egocentric bullshit that makes him an entirely unsympathetic character. He recently ejected a fan from a show for throwing ONE business card onto the stage. The guy must have paid upwards of £30 and he threw him out. He also fired his driver for taking too long to bring him lunch.
If All Falls Down were to meet POWER it’d say, “Look man, I freaking warned you dude”
“It seems we living the American dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings”
Outkast – Player’s Ball vs Outkast – Hey Ya
It’s sad to think we live in a world where these two songs exist and one of them has over 16 MILLION views on youtube. Outkast were Southern hip-hop before T.I. and indecipherable Three Six Mafia came along to render hip-hop south of Chicago utterly ridiculous for years. Hey Ya, is like the first cousin of Glee.
If there these two songs were paired together for a high school project and during during small talk Hey Ya asked Player’s Ball what it did on the weekend, it’d say,
“All the players came.. from far and wide
Wearin’ afros and braids, kickin’ them gangsta rides
Now I’m here to tell ya.. there’s a better day
When the player’s ball is happenin’, all day ery’day”
Then Hey Ya would piss itself.
Outkast – Player’s Ball
Eminem – Just Don’t Give A Fuck vs Eminem – Love The Way You Lie
Unfortunately, Eminem is a victim of his own talents. At his seething, witty best, Eminem was magnificent at conveying his disturbed emotions through brilliantly violent and unapologetic lyrics. Now the rage has subsided he’s just boring.
If Just Don’t Give A Fuck were to meet Love The Way You Lie it’d say,
“My name is Marshall Mathers, I’m an alcoholic (Hi Marshall)
I have a disease and they don’t know what to call it
Better hide your wallet cause I’m coming up quick to strip your cash
Bought a ticket to your concert just to come and whip your ass”
Jay-Z – D’evils vs Jay-Z – Monster
Jay-Z is one of the finest rappers in the genre’s history, of that there is not a reasonable doubt. That was before he became essentially a feature artist, cruising through verses for a million dollars, getting outshined by the likes of Nicki bloody Minaj along the way. There’s the famous story about how Jay-Z doesn’t write down any of his rhymes. Back in the day it meant he was a maverick wordsmith, nowadays it just means he didn’t bring a pen to the toilet in the five minutes it takes him to make things up.
If D’evils were to meet Monster today, it’d say,
“I break bread with the late heads, picking their brains for angles on
all the evils that the game’ll do
It gets dangerous, money and power is changing us
And now we’re lethal, infected with D’Evils…”
Jay-Z – D’evils
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Murder Was The Case Vs Snoop Dogg – Sweat
Snoop has become a hilarious joke recently. For a man so obsessed with calling himself a gangster, some of the moves he’s made in the last few years have made him look completely ridiculous. I don’t blame him. Sweat is terrible and unforgivable but he’s entitled to have a slice of the cake his popularity has earned him.
If Murder Was The Case met Sweat today it’d say, “You’re the consequence of the deal Snoop made with Lucifer all those years ago.”
“’Bring your lifestyle to me I’ll make it better’
And how long will I live?
‘Eternal life and forever’
And will I be, the G that I was?
‘I’ll make your life better than you can imagine or even dreamed of
So relax your soul, let me take control
Close your eyes my son’
My eyes are closed”