*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1
The music business is a funny thing; it can make or break careers and it can also influence a whole generation of music lovers. It can also influence the people that make the music, such as beatmakers, producers, rappers, singers, etc.
With the powerful influence that the industry possesses, it has transformed how we perceive music nowadays. It seems that the days of musical acts creating music because of passion has been replaced with necessity and wanting to be relevant amongst their peers. I recently saw an article titled "A DJ made a crazy mashup of 50 of the year's most popular songs", and I thought "why?"
And this is exactly why I have a major problem with how the music today has become a very stale and uninspiring mess that I can only throw my hands up at.
This is how bad the music is today.
All The Music Sounds The Same
Don't believe me? Take a listen to the top ten songs on the music charts (do they still have those?) and tell me that they all sound different. No, they don't. Why do I say that? Okay, let's get into specifics:
There are different styles of Rap music, instead of it just being "music".
Rap music used to be just that - "Rap". There were different styles but they weren't necessarily labeled like they are today. There was no "Boom Bap", nor was there any "Trap". A beat was just a beat, although they did have the whole East-West-South thing going on. By labelling a beat or a song under a certain banner, you're isolating that artist into a category, when in fact they should be measured by how good the song is. Is the song dope or not? That should be the only question.
Rappers' flows all sound alike, the lyrics are all the same, the beats have the same patterns, same styles, and same sounds.
No matter what style the beat is, there's also the question of why do all the beats sound the same? The patterns and sounds all seem so common and boring, like as if there's no life to them. This applies to all forms of Hip Hop beats, but what got me thinking was the Trap style beats. Now don't get me wrong - there are many really good Trap beats but there are also a lot that are just boring, and this also applies to any other form of Rap music. Even in the 90's, there was plenty of terrible music because as the whole 90's style grew in popularity, many artists started to sound the same. Sound familiar?
The mixing and mastering is all very "hot" and loud.
When mixing a beat or a full song, for some reason we've all been playing the loudness game for years now and it has to stop. Everyone knows the story; the music industry started mixing and mastering extremely loud, to the point where the mix is so in the red that it's borderline distortion, but they avoid that with tons of compression. The result? A heavily compressed sound that is very hard on the ears. Why do that?
I Really Don't Know What To Do Anymore
The main reason why I decided to write this article is because of my WaveFormz radio show. If you're not aware, I receive hundreds of submissions from artists, beatmakers, and promoters that want me to play their songs on my next show. I have been doing this for years now, and this past year it has really picked up.
But there's one problem - many of the submissions are garbage.
I hate to say it, but there is a lot of really bad music out there. Now, this isn't a Boom Bap versus Trap situation at all. In fact, I have probably played more Trap-style songs on my show than anything else, but as I went through the last batch of submissions, I noticed that these songs are just, well, boring.
Out of 143 submissions, I kept maybe two dozen, if that. Yes, I'm being very critical of what I play on WaveFormz now, but that's because I want the show to be dope each week, and not just full of songs that are below average. When I'm recording the show, I try to mix each song into the next if possible, but with some styles of music, it's very hard to do and almost impossible. And forget about me doing doubles on some of these songs. Not happening.
As I was listening to these submissions, I also noticed the vocal delivery and quality of lyrics, and there's just nothing there. A lot of the vocals either have lyrics that are just plain boring like rapping about a girl shaking her ass, "make it shake, make it shake" (I'm not kidding), or about all the weed and money they're throwing in the air. Hopsin's "No Words" video sums up perfectly what's going on:
But it's not just the lyrics, it's also the delivery and style. In the 90's when DMX was blowing up, there were plenty of rappers that started to come out with a rough voice. Then in the 2000's when Jay-Z was dominating, the same thing happened. Now it's at the point where a lot of these rappers sound the same, with the delayed delivery and noticeable breathing throughout their verse.
When Wu-Tang's first album dropped, why was it so popular? Because it was a sound that no one had ever heard before, and all of the members had a unique look, sound, and personality. In other words, they were different than the rest and did their own thing. If you continue to do the same thing as everyone else, how can you set yourself apart?
The Music Industry Influence Is Insane
So with everything I just mentioned, why do you think it's like that? Because of influence. If a beatmaker were to isolate themselves for an entire year in a cabin with no internet, what would happen to their beats? I don't know how they would sound, but I guarantee those beats would have a unique style that the beatmaker created. The same applies to a rapper writing and spitting lyrics.
But with influence coming from all directions today, from the internet specifically, it's no wonder everything sounds the same.
It's true that influence can be a good thing, like if an artist wants to be inspired, but it's what you do with it that will determine what your music will sound like. I had mentioned this in a recent article about creating your own style and not letting anything influence you. It's great if you get inspired from a song you like, but you have to still do your own thing.
With that being said, I don't know where Rap music is headed. It seems that we're so far off course that it's almost impossible to come back. The music industry is all about money, sales, marketing, promotion, and so much more that I really can't say what's going to happen.
All I do know is that Hip Hop is in serious need of fixing, and it all starts with the artist and music fans in general. Whether you're a beatmaker, rapper, producer, manager, or anything in between, it's time to change the game.
What do you think? Leave your comments below, but let's also figure out what really needs to be done in order to change the sound of Hip Hop.