Off Topic This Is Why Most Rappers Today Suck

Fade

Beat Scientist
Administrator
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1


They all sound the same.

Obviously the headline to this article is going to get a lot of people talking, but it had to be said. Most rappers today just suck. I can't believe that I'm actually writing about this topic because I never thought it would get to this point, but Rap music today has gone way off course that everyone needs to regroup, refocus, and start from scratch.

Here's why.

Rap Music Is All About Being Unique

One of the greatest things about Rap music and Hip Hop as a whole, is that anyone can be whatever they want to be. If you're a rapper, you can be funny, political, angry, philosophical, or even walk on stage wearing a clown outfit. Producers can take a beat wherever they want, turning it into a hard-hitting track or a mellow jazzy tune. The world is yours. (Nas, 1994).

However, many rappers today forgot about the unique aspect of Rap music and instead focus on other things such as sounding and looking like a popular rapper, and most of it is because of popularity and money.

It doesn't help that the record labels, music fans, and just the music industry overall are pushing a certain style of Rap upon everyone's ears (think Jay-Z and Kanye West), so of course any up and coming rapper will naturally end up sounding like someone else.

Do you remember a Rap group from the early 90's called the UMC's?


Their first album was really good, and their style was fun and uptempo. They wore colorful clothes and rapped about just regular things, and it was that type of style that made me go out and buy their cassette. Unfortunately, they didn't last. Around 1994 they resurfaced with a brand new look, dressed all in black with hoodies and saying they had a street sound.

That was the last anyone heard of the UMC's.

So what went wrong? They were no longer unique.

When they came out with their happy and fun style, it made them unique and they had a style that fit them. When they switched to a hardcore street style, it felt completely forced and they also looked and sounded like every other hardcore group at the time. Wu Tang, Group Home, and Gangstarr were some of the names that came to mind.

It's All About the Influence

Humans are easily influenced. I think it's actually ingrained in our DNA and we're suckers for a shiny new thing from a big advertisement with gold trim. This is why there have been so many times where I heard a rapper sound like someone else.

For example, back in the 90's I had a friend that was a rapper and loved to freestyle. One day we're freestyling and when it was his turn I had to stop him. He was wondering what was going on and I simply said to him, "you sound like DMX". This is because he was heavily into DMX and was so influenced by his style that he blended it into his own.

Now I completely understand if someone gets influenced enough that it becomes part of their everyday life, but it can't happen in Rap music. There are lots of rappers that sound like Jay Z or Kanye, and they most likely do it because they know that style is what is popular and what will sell. You can be inspired by another artist, but don't try to sound like them just because they're popular.

I'm sure there are record labels that have been searching for unsigned acts that sound like Jay Z, this way the label can have their own version of him at a fraction of the cost. I wouldn't be surprised.

What I Miss the Most in Rap

Years ago, Rap music had it all. There was the political rapper (Public Enemy), the funny rapper (Fresh Prince), the philosopher (KRS-One), with the list going on and on.

Why don't we have that today? The sad part about all of this is that I'm not just referring to the mainstream rappers, this mainly applies to the underground ones.

Underground rappers used to always have a certain style, one where they would brag non stop about dominating other emcees. But because of all the influence surrounding them 24/7, it's no longer about that. Yes, there are some underground rappers that are still true, but there are many others that are on the borderline of being underground and rapping about owning a Bentley. This is influence.

Rappers of all levels need to focus solely on themselves. It's the same with beatmaking. I'm always reviewing beats and the same thing applies there too - be unique. Some beatmakers will say that they make Trap beats or whatever, when in fact they should just be saying that they “make beats". That's it.

Don't label yourself because the minute you do, you're not being yourself, instead you're automatically putting yourself into a category and you'll sound like everyone else.

In Closing

Why do you think DMX was so popular? It's because he had a unique look, voice, and style.
Why do you think Rakim is always regarded as one of the best rappers ever? His voice always stood out from the rest.

I can't stress it enough about being yourself and having your own style. There are a million rappers out there today and they're all online trying to be recognized from the rest, so why would you want to sound like someone else? That makes no sense.

Just rap. Do what comes naturally and the rest will fall into place. I guarantee you that if you come out with a style that is different from the rest, you will definitely stand out. Trust me.
 
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Kron Zilla

The rapper that became a producer.
Battle Points: 14
I agree. I draw from an artist from time to time but I never let their style dictate my overall word formats. It's the same with my beat making too. I do all sorts of different styles but you'll still know I made it. My authenticity overshines even when I imitate others. Hard lesson for newer artists and producers because of lack of artist development I think. The labels don't even do that anymore. They got lazy... The artists peeped it and got lazy too... Everybody coming up who was having a hard time adjusting to the required skill level just got a pass... This is really the manifestation of the saying "shit rolls downhill".
 
P

POLO

Guest
I agree with you but there will always be unique artists such as Kendrick, with his word play, hopsin is pretty damn different
Tyler the creator is pretty out there , Mac Miller went through a pretty real struggle with drugs that he raps about in his own style id say, kid cudi etc there will always be some basic rappers always fitting into the same category but that grants the opportunity for new artists to change things up and stand out !
 

TriKRaps

Whats life without hip-hop?
Battle Points: 4
I agree with you but there will always be unique artists such as Kendrick, with his word play, hopsin is pretty damn different
Tyler the creator is pretty out there , Mac Miller went through a pretty real struggle with drugs that he raps about in his own style id say, kid cudi etc there will always be some basic rappers always fitting into the same category but that grants the opportunity for new artists to change things up and stand out !
Thats just a minority of rappers the majority pretty much sucks
 

OGBama

ILLIEN
@Fade great article but I want everyone to focus on MCs they can listen to in this era as opposed to why many suck, I remember when the 90s had tons of copycats so today's era is no different. I'm happy you emphasized that MCs should be themselves and about the underground, I don't want nor care to hear any acts in this era whining on wax about how MCs suck just as I don't care to hear a rapper about how they dominate other MCs.
 

eXACT

Newbie
Yeah, everyone is on a bandwagon, but, not in their defense, but record labels have been making it increasingly difficult in the past decade for unique emcee's to get a deal. Most record labels won't take a chance on a rapper who doesn't fit tightly into a demographic that is selling.
This is especially true not that the labels have a million third-rate rappers (I feel like I am giving them too much credit still,) who have a million followers on Soundcloud, and they don't even have any interest in rap, they just want to be famous. And I have heard people say these rappers are unique. I have listened to the Soundcloud rappers and they have no real skills. The worst part is that many of them take pride in shitty "rhymes," production and beats; it's true. Smoke Purp and others like him are endorsing making "...beats and rhymes that are, y'know, lame on purpose. That's cool now."
Honestly, one of the only new(ish) rapppers to come out in a while amidst all the mumble rap, is Joey Badass. He did a dope track with Premiere and seems to be bringing lyricism back.
As far as UMC's, I agree that not everyone should be rapping about street shit if that isn't you or your experiences. I grew up in a small town, but it was hard. Some of the people I know who are now on Battle Axe's sub-label, rap about street shit because thats where we came from. I think that there is a place for the political, philosophical, socially conscientious, street, and fun rap; just make sure its you.
 

Fade

Beat Scientist
Administrator
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1
One of the big things for me is that I don't really know any of the new rappers. It's partly because there's just so many but also because the talent is not there. There's a few I've heard that are good but like @exact said, some are just trying to be famous and could care less about Rap music. I wonder how many have actually listened (and studied) old school artists.
 

Ghost Bazz

Member
Battle Points: 1
Yo... I think ur right, and specifically in regard to the SoundCloud rappers of today. So many copy cats. The availability of recording and digital self-promotional avenues has really lowered the bar as far as quality is concerned. And they all think it’s about hustle... not skill or making meaningful connections. All these cats saturate the various markets for self promoting and add up to a bunch of noise making it difficult for quality artists to b heard. In all fairness, part of the problem is that people tend to jock whatever everyone else is into... so if it looks like someone has a bunch of followers, other people r eager to jump on the bandwagon. When will it end?
 
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eXACT

Newbie
When will it end?
It will end when people stop buying into the personas that these labels create for these rappers. Everyone wants to be hard, that's people watch Clint Eastwood movies; everyone wants to be rich, that's why there are so any shows on television that showcase people with money (usually in some vain attempt to show you that they aren't unlike you....which is bullshit, of course.) People live vicariously through these people without caring that none of these people are who they claim to be and, even if they were, you still probably wouldn't want their lifestyle. How many people *really want to slang for a living? That shit is *not glamourous, stand on me. There isn't anything fun about having to tweaker-peek out the windows before you leave the house to make sure that you don't get jumped and looted by some dopes laying in wait. It is work and the stress involved is ridiculous unless you're nickel-and-dime-ing it in which case, you won't be rolling in strippers & Bugatis. But, I digress, slightly....
Honestly, I don't see most mainstream rappers going anywhere; they're here to stay. The media outlets have neutered Hip Hop to the point of being accessable to all with rise of Hip Pop like DJ Snake-style and other artists whose music is essentially House music with a Pop hook. I was shocked as all hell when everything by him from "Get Low," to "Magenta Riddim," were labeled/listed as Hip Hop, but that's how they hook people into feeling like they're part of a "cool" culture that most people have no right to claim as they're own. (To clarify, when I say "....no right to claim,"I don't mean racially. I'm talking about people who haven't studied where Hip Hop came from, the struggles it stemmed from, the intrinsic nature of DIY, self-empowerment and individualism and the path that it took to get where it is today. If you don't respect a culture as rich as Hip Hop enough to learn about its origins and its noteworthy contributors, you have no right to profit off of it.)
The masses like to think that they are choosing what they listen to, but, again, it comes back to the labels who pour ridiculous amounts of money into getting their puppet-rappers to positions of power, thus dictating what people feel they should like. Labels wouldn't do that if their formulaic approach to feeding the average consumer easily digestable puff wasn't profitable.
So, to keep from writing a novel, I'll leave it at this. Stop supporting artists that aren't genuine and support artists who are underappreciated. I always put out the word on any, lesser-known artists on any media that I'm on. A lot of people in the USA forget that we know of a lot of underground joints that not many people outside of this country have heard of before. I've talked with people from halfway around the world and turned them on to all sorts of relatively unknown artists. Most of the time people from Europe, Africa, anywhere, are surprised that a lot fo the underground stuff isn't what the masses prefer in the USA.
So, spread the love. Let people all over know when you here some real Hip Hop and help support the people who trying to keep from letting Hip Hop fade into nothing more tham another vapid genre.
A few artists to check out? Dirt Platoon, Dephlow, Awon, Tiff The Gift, Anti-Lilly (basically anyone on Don't Sleep Records.)
Stay up.
 

OGBama

ILLIEN
@eXACT are you on IG? If so ask "drewsthatdude" a.k.a. producer Andrew Lloyd about Anti-Lilly as Drew worked w/him.
 

eXACT

Newbie
@eXACT are you on IG? If so ask "drewsthatdude" a.k.a. producer Andrew Lloyd about Anti-Lilly as Drew worked w/him.
Thanks for the heads-up on that one, @OGBama . I'm not on there, but I do know of drewsthatdude from his drum pack. :up2:
(And @Fade? While I'm on here; when are you gonna get some cool emojis? I feel like these are ones that my buddies six yr old girl would have on her phone. ;) <---- ....see? That winky-face look like someone trying to fart. XD)
 

Adrian G.

Newbie
Good Article.

It's important to note that ~30 years ago, the #1 music in America was Rock. And before that, there was a time in which you pulled up to the club and everyone was pumped to hear the latest Louis Armstrong or Miles Davis. Hip Hop was just a baby in the 80's-90's, everyone was new and unique pretty much. Now everybody loves Hip Hop, it sells, so naturally, the masses of non-talented, non-creative, not-willing-to-put-the-work-in MC's and Producers wanna make the latest slapper so they can make some quick dough and get more followers. It's just a matter of time until EDM takes over. I know people who used to talk crap on raves and now they go to every single one. It all goes in cycles and I think because so many rappers sound the same now, it might mean that Hip-Hop's time as #1 is nearing an end. It just means you as a listener have to work harder to find something fresh, because we all know the radio isn't gonna do that for us.
 
Battle Points: 26
The reason they suck in my opinion, as a freelance audio engineer I hear a lot of people making what they think is the shit that is "hot" right now, and in my opinion, without the beat, these artists are ear cancer. Plus the region the artist is from has a profound influence on how they approach the mic. Anyone from the Southern states for the most part always tries to sound like whatever Atlanta is doing. If they choose to mumble on the mic, almost everyone in the SouthEast US does this same shit. When Migos does those stupid ass "skirrrt, skirrt, brrrp, brrrp" adlibs, every wannabe rapper has to do those same adlibs in their own shit.

On the flipside however you go West, to the Southwest states, and Colorado, plus the West Coast states, most cats wanna do that Gangsta G Funk rap especially Hispanic rappers. Texas rappers try to sound like SPM or like the Screwed Up Click, Midwest rappers all have to sound like Eminem especially if they are White rappers, and East Coast rappers still do the Boom Bap sound in NYC, Philly, Boston, DC, etc. However, there is a Trap sound in NYC too. and I know cats in Los Angeles do Trap music too.

The thing that annoys me the most is when people are not creative with their wordplay, and just rhyme the last word in their phrases. I personally think it's better when they do multi-syllabic rhyming schemes, and their delivery needs to be on point. Show a little energy, not sound like they are reading, or that they are bored, or on the flip side showing too much energy on a smooth track or a laid back track. The artist needs to know how to fit into the mood of the song.

In conclusion, a rapper is no different from a good singer, and just because dudes can rhyme, doesn't make them a rapper or an emcee. These cats don't even know what an emcee is supposed to do. He doesn't just rap, he hypes the crowd, he is a charismatic person, that the people want to follow, he gets the crowd moving. If it were just saying rhymes on a mic over a beat, and people would get excited to that, then rapping would be easy, and all the rap music being made would all be bangers, and everyone would be making money off this music. In reality, you gotta have a creative and yet catchy rhyme scheme, you gotta know how to master the art of writing, and performing hooks, you gotta have the voice, and delivery that makes people want to listen, and you gotta have good beat selection, and you have to know how to fit your delivery with the mood of the song. Also, be original, and don't always do what everyone else is doing. Most of all, have fun, people can tell if you are having fun making a song, just like you can tell when someone is smiling over the phone by the way they sound. That energy comes out on the mic.
 
Battle Points: 26
OH and let me add one more thing. A major reason why most rappers suck is that they use the same rhyme scheme for every song they do no matter how the beat changes up. Nelly is a good example of this, and I'm sure most of you have worked with an artist who does this same shit. Raps the same way, same flow pattern no matter what kind of beat is playing, and they say that it's their "style" SMFH.
 

OGBama

ILLIEN
Biggest thing hurting all music not just Hip Hop @VigilanteStylez is everyone wants to control all aspects of music making e.g. the rapper wants to produce, mix, and master, the producer wants to rap, mix, and master, the vocalist who sings wants to do either, both or all 3 of the aforementioned e.g. I miss when people knew what they were great at and stayed w/it as singularity is the true path to mastery.
 

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