Why? Money. And I don't mean just that the music industry is ruled by money, no. I also mean that the artists today are too focused on money itself when they're rapping and telling everyone how much money they have (or would like to have). We all know it's bullshit because they can't possibly think that the general public is that stupid that we actually think a new artist has tons of cash to throw around while driving in his or her Lamborghini. If you're a rapper like Jay-Z, for example, and you actually have a fortune that you've piled up over the years of making music and building empires, then sure, by all means tell me about the money you have. But if you're Lil' So-N-So that just released his first LP and in your video you're chilling in the club with models on each arm and stacks of cash and champagne on the table, I call bullshit.
When classic albums like Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation to Hold Us Back", Nas' "Illmatic", Mobb Deep's "Infamous", etc dropped, not only did those albums sound dope and/or have deep meaning, but they represented what those artists were actually going through at the time. If you go back and listen to those albums you'll hear something that you rarely hear anymore in any form of music - feeling.
I've said it countless times over the years when I hear a song; that there's no more feeling in today's music. Anyone can rap (there are exceptions though!) because it's easy to throw on any beat and just start rapping something you wrote. Sure, that's super easy but it's HOW you deliver those lyrics that make all the difference. When Nas was telling us about hanging out in project hallways or hearing gunshots every day just outside his window, it's because he actually lived that shit. When Public Enemy was telling everyone to stand up and fight back against oppression, it's because they were feeling the same thing. When Mobb Deep were telling us about drinking 40's and having 5-0 harass them every day, it's because that's what they were going through.
Tune into any modern day rap song and what do you hear? Money, sex, fast cars, clubs, models, Moet, more money, private jets, and yachts. This is why today's music fails miserably at connecting to the listener. How many people actually live the life these rappers are trying to portray in their songs? Not many. And out of those few that live that life, how many of them listen to those songs? Next to none. I understand that it's a fantasy and these artists are putting on a gimmick to make themselves look amazing and it's "just a song". What they fail to realize is that this is supposed to be rap music, not fantasy island!
When I listen to rap music, it's because I want to hear something REAL. Something that I can relate to, something that I can compare my own personal struggles to. I definitely do not want to hear someone telling me that they just landed at the airport on their gold-plated custom jet and are heading to the white house to meet the president. That shit has no meaning to me.
All of this leads me to my main point - feeling in music. To make a great song, you have to experience what you're saying in your song. I'm not from the projects, so if I were to write lyrics I would not write about how hard my life is growing up in the projects! I could rap about how I have no money in my pocket or my neighbor is an asshole, because that's real. So by me rapping about that stuff, you would be able to hear the struggle in my voice because I would put my real feelings into that song. It's too easy for these artists to just get in the studio and rap about whatever's on that lyric sheet and have no emotion whatsover, yet the song will blow up and sell millions because it's "catchy".
This isn't meant to step on today's music necessarily, but rather to open every artist's eyes and make them realize that music is not just about dropping a verse or having a catchy hook - it's about feeling. Next time you step in the booth and are ready to lay down your vocals, put some feeling into it! Anyone can spit those lines you have in front of you, but it takes a true artist to tell everyone what you're really feeling.