The Introduction/The Current State of HipHop

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What’s the deal people? Allow me to introduce myself; My name is Lance Ellis out of

 

Toledo, Ohio. I’m 25 years old and I love hiphop more than I love sex or money, but my

 

love for music extends beyond hiphop. My favorite all time emcee is Nas, and my favorite

 

all time group is Wu/De La Soul. I am the feature blogger of smashmouthfm.com. My man

 

put me onto this right here for one reason and one reason only: My opinion is better and

 

more important than yours. I love discourse though, and it would be dope to get a lot of

 

feedback on the things that I type and the ideas that I present. Negative or positive don’t

 

matter…it’s all love to me.

 

So I’m a start this off with the question that every interviewer has presented to every artist

 

that they have ever interviewed since about 2003 or so; what do you think about the

 

current state of hiphop? Let me first disclaimer my answer with a few facts about my

 

outlook on hiphop in general. I am progressive in my approach of hiphop music. I am not

 

one of those cats who feel like everything conceptually or musically has to sound like it

 

came out in the summer of ’93. I appreciate what the (dope) new artists are bringing to the

 

table. I am totally comfortable with change and the passing of the proverbial torch. With

 

that being said…

 

The current state of hiphop is Alaska…with Sarah Palin as Governor, Gator Purify as State

 

Treasurer, and Rich Rodriguez as Secretary of Defense. The publically perceived “best

 

rapper alive” is average at best, the most popular rapper alive makes Tyler Perry look like

 

Ray Lewis, and as far as critical acclaim goes… going platinum is the new five mics. That’s

 

not to say that good hiphop music does not exist in 2011, or that the state of hiphop is any

 

worse than it was ten years ago. However, the reality stands that one would have to go on

 

an extensive internet search for quality hiphop music, and there is a 90% chance that you

 

will only find repetition and buffoonery from the major media outlets. I do not consider

 

the internet a major media outlet, because less than 50% of the American population lives

 

in homes with internet access.

 

But like anything else, there is an underlying optimism that comes along with darkness.

 

This era has its all time great rapper (Kanye West), its all time great emcee (Lupe Fiasco),

 

its super rapping hiphop bullies (Slaughterhouse) and a solid movement of up and comers

 

following what was once a renaissance in hiphop music (Jay Electronica, Kendrick Lamar,

 

Blu, Diggy, Elzhi etc.) You may be in denial of the great youth movement. You may not

 

want to acknowledge it, or you may be ignorant to its existence. That does not mean it does

 

not exist. It may just mean you are afraid of becoming irrelevant as a fan. There will never

 

be another Rakim, Kane, Jay, Nas, Big or Pac…get over it. But hiphop, like any other form

 

of American entertainment, in any era, has bad elements and good qualities. In short, the

 

current state of hiphop is whatever you want it to be. The beautiful thing about access to

 

media is that you have the option to make what you love popular in your sector, and make

 

everything else disappear. The issue- since less than 50% of the American population does

 

not have internet readily available in the home, that demographic of the population may or

 

may not have access to any musical diversity. In my opinion, this is a crisis within the

 

culture. The fan is still the cornerstone of hiphop music, but only one story is being

 

marketed to them. Sadly, we are a far cry from my childhood years when you could turn on

 

Rap City and see Coolio “Fantastic Voyage” with Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal” immediately

 

following. With that said, in my world okayplayer.com is BET, and BET is that one shit

 

that my remote skips. I love what I choose, therefore I still love hiphop…even in 2011.

 

-Lance

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