Barbershop Fridays at SBM: 15 Thoughts about Drake, Diddy, Rick Ross and the Current State of Hip-Hop
Sitting in the chair while getting a cut, I’m trying to get one of the guys to actually explain himself when he says, “Hip hop is dead.” It’s very popular to say that nowadays, but harder to explain. Not many people keep the perspective of realizing that hip hop changes every few years, into a new progressive beast. I’m sure that Chuck D and Rev. Run sat around smoking an L and thought, “man all these kids from Cali want to talk about is drive-bys and 40s. Hip hop is dead, brother.” Twenty years later, though it looks a little different, hip hop is still alive. Although, we never would have imagined that Cosby sweaters and Elroy Jetson space boots would make the cut, but then again one thing we’ve learned is that anything can happen. So, in typical Friday fashion, I jotted down some notes on where I felt the current state of hip hop is at.
- Drake is the most hated in person in all the land; he is, just admit it. People say Drake is soft, but will fist pump harder to Headlines in the club than anything else. People said “The Motto” and “HYFR” were wack, but when they come on in the club, they’re doing that silly Weezy bump and asking if anyone is high right now.
- Rick Ross is finally not lying about his life; he really is a boss. People often forget that Ross ain’t had an album in two years, and only had two singles in that time too. Simply put, he’s a marketing genius. What he’s done with Maybach Music has been nothing short of phenomenal. Keep it real, (and I’m from DC) most people in America thought Wale was grade F material. Quiet as it’s kept, Ambition was a solid LP.
- Kreayshawn and Iggy Azalea are actually pretty dope. I always say if you want to get anywhere in life, get a white girl in the group. Look at what that did for Black Eyed Peas and Taylor Gang. Juicy J and T.I. are on the come up.
- Nicki Minaj is a great example of the youth in America, albeit her being damn near 30. She’s uber talented, extra creative, doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her, but we are convinced that she is legit bat-sh*t. Now think about those kids you see on the train in the morning…
- The Sick & Shut-in List: Lupe Fiasco, Odd Future, Kat Stacks and Max B.
- Everybody has a cousin who has been baptized at least three or four times. Henceforth, we re-baptize Jeezy in the name of God’s Son, The Ruler and the Killah named Ghost. Hopefully this go around, he won’t backslide into obscurity again.
- The Weeknd is high again y’all. Not sure if he falls into the hip hop category, but he definitely made a big splash last year. Hopefully this year he’ll ride a plane without the use of narcotics.
- Big K.R.I.T. reminds us that real hip hop has its place, it’s just not in the bank account. French Montana, Future ATL, and Two Chainz are riding around and spending it; but we have no clue what they are talking about.
- Evidently we can get enough of J. Cole. I’m sorry, but J. Cole fails to meet expectations. Jay-Z tabbed him as the person he was passing the torch to… one problem: he’s not even considered to be in the same league with any new major artists, like…. Drake. So let’s call it what it really is; Drake has the torch, and J. Cole is the new Nas. We’ll be hearing for years how much more lyrically talented Cole is than Drake. However, if the money doesn’t come to J. Cole, who will really care?
- Waka makes music for the people… and the strip club. Don’t judge Waka, do not judge Waka. Sean: “Waka is straight trash.” Me: “BUT YOU KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO NO HANDS AND ROUND OF APPLAUSE!” Sean: “Is that your only argument?!” Me: “IT’S THE ONLY ARGUMENT I NEED SEAN!”
- Flo-rida and Pitbull done came a long way… Seems like two people figured out that trying to be hood and thugged out wasn’t really a good way to make a whole lot of money. House music is the new cornbread. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
- Joe Budden is funny as hell, but he’s never going to sell an album in stores; let’s just come to grips with that. If men were in complete control of hip hop then Slaughterhouse would be the gods, but since we’re not, they’re not. I could see a reality show in his future, Joey’s personal life lately has been nothing short of awesome.
- Hip Hop is primarily dominated by people who have less talent and more business savvy. Taking a step back and thinking about it, a whole lot of these rappers can’t really rap all that well. I think I heard Two Chainz say, “I just call her boo, I don’t know her whole name” and that was his hook.
- Young Money is winning. I don’t know how anyone assesses success, sometimes it’s money, and other times it’s respect. Up until this point, it almost never involved the two words, “Young Money.” Truth be told, Lil’ Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and now Tyga, are having great years. This week Nicki Minaj signed an endorsement deal with Pepsi. What does that mean? In addition to having the most spins on Soundscan, they also have deals in place with Sprite, Pepsi and codeine. Rack rack city, trick.
- Diddy is still king. His best quote ever: “You have to adjust to the environment, it’s cold outside, and everybody’s standing outside in bathing suits. I’m not going to stand outside in my bathing suit. I’m going to adapt to the situation. If I’m not getting my money from records, then we’re going to get our money from shows, appearances, endorsements, building other brands, television shows…” Nobody would have predicted that he’d lose the “greatest rapper of all-time” and still manage to keep his label. In fact, since losing Biggie he’s taken Bad Boy to levels that we would have never imagined in 1997. Diddy has the holy trinity of hip hop; money, power, and respect. “Believe that.”
That’s basically it. Next year, we’ll have new artists and music. We’ll claim we don’t like something and it’ll get catchy. For the record, Domino is not a crossover singer no matter how many Black men know the words to that song. If I could predict anything that will happen over the next year, it would be that more rappers go down the Flo-rida and Pitbull route. What’s the point in talking about drugs and guns if it’s not selling records anymore? Please reply, 50 Cent.
Questions: What are your thoughts on this list? Have you made similar observations that aren’t listed here? I know you are going to really enjoy the mix today. Thank God it’s Friday, and I’m out.