In this day and age anyone can create a song, build up an audience for your content, then boom you’re viral and got a hit on Billboard’s Top 100 charts. Legendary artist like 2pac and Biggie had to work 3 times as hard to sell the millions of records they did through in store record sales, radio play, and organic marketing and promotion through random print magazines. We are living in a time where the credibility of true record sales is questionable and a bit irrelevant. The legendary artist no longer with us would probably turn in their graves if they could see the decline of the music business where you no longer need talent, skill, or class to be a star in any genre of music, but especially hip hop.
The disconnect in the music industry simply stems from Gen Z’s and Millennials definition of “good music”. Music made by artists in this generation are fueled by a blueprint of duplicating the look and sound of whomever the current hottest artist is which old school artist would classify as “biting” or “jacking”. Old School artist prided themselves on originality and creative lyrics that impressed their listener. Some of the new rappers don’t care about their artistry, message or lyrics as long as the song has a catchy beat and hook. You can make a song talking about how to cook eggs and bacon in the morning and the song will be a hit as long as it’s a fat ass and drugs mentioned and call it “turn up”.
The mumble rap evolution has been led by artists like NBA Youngboy, Gunna, and Lil Yachty, this style of rap is being more normalized, however that does not mean there still aren’t young artists who respect the craft and have a true love for the art of music from pre- production to post. Many high quality rappers are underrated because they don’t fit the blueprint, and substance is no longer appreciated or necessary to be a star. Chuck Retro is an artist from Gary, In whose music is on the rise with storytelling and in-depth rhymes says, “The disconnect of music came when music went from being the drug dealers music, to the drug users music”. Chuck Retro’s observation is sadly true, as most of the rap music for Millennials/ Gen Z glorifies a very addictive lifestyle using body damaging drugs like molly, ectasy, codeine, and promethazine.
Another rap artist from Gary, In Shauna LeShe says, “I don’t think the quality of music has been lost, however, I feel there is a lack of passion due to people attempting to fit in”. Billboard Charts are now ranked by downloads, streams, and a collective of other technological outlets, which makes it harder for these artist with substance and out-of-the box thinking to promote themselves. The clones that present buffoonery and negativity are the artist that are highlighted by most major media outlets and labels. The decline in music is a sad one. Can the wave of independent hip hop artists with talent, creativity, and a love for their craft breakthrough the industry and keep true artistry alive?