Hip Hop is becoming more and more popular. It used to be the language of the poor class for the poor class, now it is the language of the lyrical rappers, for everyone who wants to hear it. In this article I’ll let you read it, hoping you’ll start listening to it.
Jay-Z, one of the most popular modern rappers, is famous for his rapping and music, rather than for being lyrical. But in No Church in the Wild, his first four sentences are very impressive.
Tears on the Mausoleum floor,
Blood stains the Colosseum doors,
Lies on the lips of a priest,
Thanksgiving disguised as a feast.
The whole song is about power, who has power over who? The church seems to have had the most power in the past, but what is God to a non-believer? And did the church use that power in the right way? In the first two sentences, he speaks about the other side of the ability of humans to build such terrific buildings. How many people died building the Mausoleum? How many people were slaughtered in the Colosseum? A lot. After that, about the priest who should be the most righteous man, but how many times has the church used men for their own good? Some churches are huge, but why did the money not go to the poor? Thanksgiving is a feast, but it represents the genocide of the Native Americans.
Lupe Fiasco, not very well-known, always tries to encourage people from the poor class to do something with their lives, while saying the government is trying to prevent exactly this.
The Sealy has the same feeling that the floor has.
This is about the government, which tries to keep the poor poor. The Sealy, being a big bed, feels the same as the floor, so why try to be rich enough to buy it when it doesn’t make a difference? But Lupe Fiasco pronounces it so that Sealy sounds like ceiling, which means the same, the top is the same as the floor.
So no matter what you been through, no matter what you into,
No matter what you see when you look outside your window,
Brown grass or green grass, picket fence or barbed wire,
Never ever put them down, you just lift your arms higher,
Raise them till your arms tired, let them know you here,
That you struggling, surviving, that you are going to persevere.
This part from The Show goes on is about standing up for yourself, not letting others get you down. Brown grass is what you see from inside a prison cell, green grass from inside a nice house, the same goes for the fence and the wire. Lifting your arms up speaks for itself. In order to really experience the way Lupe Fiasco is bringing what I would call hope, you’d have to listen the song for yourself.
Macklemore, sometimes called a pop-artist rather than a rapper, always comes up with original subjects. In Otherside he raps about problems with drugs, in Same Love about the problems people encounter being gay, and in Wings about consumerism:
We want what we can’t have, commodity makes us want it
So expensive, damn, I just got to flaunt it
Got to show em, so exclusive, this that new shit
A hundred dollars for a pair of shoes, I would never hoop in
Look at me, look at me, I’m a cool kid
I’m an individual, yeah, but I’m part of a movement
My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it
This one isn’t very comlex, but it goes deep. He’s talking about an expensive Nike shoes, and people buy it because they think it makes them cool and it makes them different from others. But, as Macklemore says, they’re actually part of a movement, consumers like everyone else.
This is quite a long article already, so I won’t give any more examples. I might sound as if I understand all these lyrics, but most of it was too much for me too grab. Rapgenius.com is a website where all lyrics are explained very clearly and I recommend it to everyone whom I might just have given that little push towards listening to Hip Hop.
Some say Hip Hop has changed too much. It’s not what it’s used to and should still be. I admit Hip Hop is more linked to pop music than it was, but on the other side this means more people will be listening to it. And that is important in my opinion, because the meaning of a song outweighs the sound. I may be generalising a bit too much here, but you get what I mean. And whether people like it or not, Hip Hop has become more than just a genre, it’s the language of the thinkers, for a world full of them.