Why Rap Wasn’t Better in the 90’s
Yes, rap has definitely changed since the 90’s, the same way that any genre of music evolves with time. We’re currently in an era that many call the “mumble rap” in reference to artists like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, Future, Young Thug, and it seems like another one of these guys is popping up every day. Yes, their lyrics lack anything meaningful and all these rappers may sound almost exactly the same, but older fans of the genre fail to see the point.
The selling point of these new kids is their sound, not their lyrics. Artists like Travis Scott are innovating production and vocal mixing. I understand that many people don’t agree that that’s what hip hop is about and that it should be about lyrical content, but even then they’re not seeing that this generation of rap hasn’t gone away from that. Older listeners are letting the new artists overshadow the seeds left behind by greats like Tupac. This generation has been blessed with great minds such as Kendrick Lamar, Joey BADA$$, and though I think he’s overrated, J Cole, not to mention the current wave of real artists we’re getting from Chicago such as Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, and NoName Gypsy.
All these people touch on subjects that are actually affecting the country and the black community alike in and out of music, so why is it that rap has gone bad? Lyrics in the 90’s were just as riddled with drugs, women, money, and gangbanging. Tupac himself glorified the “Thug Life”. The man that everyone likes to think of as the all-time greatest, a name that is constantly put on a pedestal, was once convicted for sexual assault! Now, I love Tupac, but I’m trying to prove a point. He is praised for what he did outside of music, not for being a rapper. Any one of the rappers I mention earlier (excluding mumble rappers and the few mentioned from Chicago) can and will flame Pac in a rap battle. Lyrically, Tupac is inferior to what is offered today. Refer to albums such as Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Good kid Maad City, anything by Joey BADA$$, J Cole’s Born Sinner, Mick Jenkins’ The Waters, and countless other works from the 2010’s.
Rap has also become less violent. Yes, we hear about beefs between artists every day, but their problems don’t leave Twitter or diss tracks. Many of these beefs are merely publicity stunts, nothing nowhere near as bad as the East vs. West drama of the 90’s. Rappers were getting shot left and right, and label owners were sending shooters after their artists. Tupac, Notorious BIG, Wu Tang, LL Cool J, Nas- these guys will never always be greatest, they served to inspire our current generation, and our generation is here to inspire the next.