Where Does Modern Rap Stand?

A look into what Rap and Hip-Hop are becoming, and who needs to carry it.

Ultimate Guitar

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not 100% sure about all the origins to Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.

However, I do know that back in the days when Rap was just becoming mainstream, it was, as a whole, just as talentless as it seems to be now. I actually don't even listen to Rap anymore and even when I did, I didn't really enjoy it all that much. But this is something I think that has a valid point in music today. As there have been in every genre of music, some Rap artists were actually talented. Rap was just getting it's start though, so it's overall lack of talent, and originality was not to be so hard-pressed as it is now.

As Rap grew into a more modern, familiar sound, more artists started to emerge on the forefront of the rap scene. One's that stood out included, Tupac Shakur, and the likes. Tupac revolutionized Rap because he was the first to write words that weren't about the usual things that were being talked about in Rap songs at the time. Drugs, and killing people... gang banging to put it short. Tupac did Rap about many of these things, but his ability to write so many other kinds of words is what made him who he has become today. He carried a generation of sound that was trying to develop into "real" music. With his death, however, that first step was lost, and all that followed was the same line of boring, overused themes.

Rap is now more popular than ever, but is that really good for Rap as a whole? Popular, isn't always good. Look at "Pop" music, as it's defined by society today. No one remembers anything anyone does in the genre of pop. Britney Spears will most certainly not have a single song anyone can remember how to sing, or even hum in ten or fifteen years. Sure, they'll remember her, but her music will be quickly forgotten. So will Rap fall into the "Pop" deathtrap. If it continues the way it's going, yes, without a doubt. Rap lyrics have gone from bad, to worse over the past five years and there have been few people that have the ability to save it. But if there is anyone, it would probably be Emeniem. Who would have thought, a white boy may be the one to save Rap from becoming the same kind of joke that "Pop" music is. Emeniem is scarily similar to 2pac in that he doesn't rap about the usual "Rap" lyrics. He writes about many different things, and many of those things are themes that aren't usually ever tried in Rap. His ability, just like 2Pac's, to write about new and different things is what makes him one of the few people who can save Rap.

Rap... it's not something I've ever really liked, but it's something that is in our culture, whether we like it or not. And while I don't listen to it much, it pains me to hear something I actually do like and know that it won't get airplay because it's not about "Dem Bitches" and "Dem Ho's". What will Rap become you ask?? Only time will tell.

41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Well, if there was only one thing that I would agree on, it would be that I too am sick of many rappers rappin about guns, drugs, and such... I mean common, put a little flavour...
    that took me f***in 4 minutes and thats and dont tell me thats bad, ppl make millions on this crap! if i was fem in em, i would win a f***ing grammy
    im just gonna say that i don't like rap but, ou have to give the people that do rap about stuff thats not normal something. like eminem. at least he doesn't only rap about woman,drugs,and how hes a 'thug', whatever the hell that is. he hates how alot of music that he used to love is turning into just some pop crap, just like most of the people putting their "i hate rap" messages on this board. you can have whatever opinion you want, but just try to apprieciate peoples efforts in music, even if it is terrible.
    There's plenty of talent in rap and urban music. Look at The Streets. But this is pointless really, because none of you are actually brave enough to take the plunge and explore something outside of your nice, simple boundaries. Seriously, don't be such cockmashers.
    rap is the ultimate expression of words (can't remember where i heard that, maybe here) and the fact is it isn't supposed to be all talent like with really special things goin on here and there and guitar solos, but it was a cheap, easy way for ppl, mostly african americans, to say what they went through in every day life. Sometimes when i get depressed i write about stuff that i have to deal with, school, grades, parents, rage i can't express- that is what rap is
    it WAS a new kind of music? how about is? rock has been around for 50 some odd years and rap has hardly had more than 15, give it a chance to develop a little. of course, if one-hit-wonders and the girl who seems to have a hard time saying no have taught us anything it's that overnight success never lasts
    Ok, friggen_jerk, i 100% agree with your thought about the moral decay of the 60's. BUT i hate rap because, they sing about how there life sucked now look at me now, and bitch about how much stuff they have, cars,money,hoes or they sing about, killing someone or about making love with lots of hoes. or OF COURSE "the hood" they are just mainstream people with lots of stress and hate, or pretend to have lots of hate. two idea that would make rap coo! change the lyrics change the DIN DIN POOF, DIN DIN POOF...the beat god a im a guitar player, i bet i could play a bass in a rap band.
    im going to WRITE A RAP SONG! diggy diggy DEE wee! suck my pee pee! i got fiftie hoes and 35 banjos! i got 20 cars and 2 packs of cigars! i got 20.00 dollars! diggy diggy wee dee! suck my pee pee! my life blew and i kick ass i was really a poor ass negro i was stinkY NOOOOO OOOOW LOOK AT ME HE HE HE DIGGY DIGGY WEE DEE SUCK MY PEEEEE PEEE!
    No, that was shit. Unbelievably so. Which, frankly, proves my point, that it isn't true that anyone can write rap.
    RAP is a tallentless form of music there is realy not that much creativity that goes into it.the musicians are the real artists rap is just gay
    Ok, everyone needs to straighten something out here!!!!!listen.... .....there are diffrent forms of rap, hip hop whatever you call it. I admitt most forms of mainstream rap are garbage. But hip-hop has roots that are very deep in music, from blues to Jazz to Funk. If one listens to the work of groups such as Outcast, the Roots, Tribe Called Quest, and to some extent Talib Kweli, you can hear interesting rythms and melodies. Also, not all lyrics are about "bitches, blunts and weed." The messages of certain underground acts (Subterraineous Crew from michigan as an example) are much the opposite. Those not fimialliar with underground hip-hop should be!!!! Try artists such as Hieroglyphics and Binary Star for a start. The music and writings of hip-hop artists is amazing.
    I wouldnt really classify Rap as Music... I fink of it as Poetry/English put ON music, but yeh.. it depends on how you see it for yourself.
    rap sucks balls dont get pissed at me ...this is my honest opinon...everyone at my school just about listens to rap so i hear it all the time....over and over about some gay ass milk shake...kinda makes me want to join a gang and rob wal mart seriously...rappe rs need to try a little bit harder to write lyrics with a message....take for example tupac's cooked azz nigga...ahh musical poetry...he had such a way with words
    in MY personal opinion, emeniem is a good rapper cause of his style ... most of his songs are creatively written, it has powerful meaning behind it ... unlike all those other rapper who rap about how much they want to see a thong ... no offence but anybody can think that up ... rap is ok but i still stand by good ol' rock and roll
    titan metal
    DefunctPunk06: rap is for losers who cant play a real instrument. yes. That is the point i am trying to make. Rap sux and it is for...(see above quote) Defunctpunk06 is right
    sorry to offend anyone but... music is (or should) only be considered as songs with either notes, scales, chords etc in them, or at least one of that list MOST rap songs have NONE of that list so MOST rap songs aren't music (so stop saying they are) also, pop songs (britney spears and so on) emo (punk gone south) and techno (synths with a drum machine), just scrape the Barrel of being music please please disagree with me somone im itching for a fight also, does synths count as a musical instrument?
    Cavemen grunts- English - Elizabethan - English -Rap anyone see a pattern? if i see one more 7 year old kid wearing brandname eminem clothing who's entire vocabulary is made up of eminem lyrics i am gonna scream. on the topic of eminem clothing... i see 21 yr olds wearing the same shit. you have the same music taste and dress sense as my snotnosed cousin, and you call yourself original... then try get me to respect your music. *** off
    Eminem has a danm good ability to write lyrics. I like his music, because of his innovation. F*ck all the others others exept a few
    so what you're saying is: "i don't like rap. but here's a few rappers i like. but i don't like rap because i don't understand it." sorry to say, but you are attempting to write a comprehensive article that draws from lots of facts, without knowing any facts. you could discuss early gangsta rap, such as Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg's early work, and Dr. Dre's projects, including NWA. NWA's debut album 'Straight Outta Compton' is regularly included on those "best albums of all time" lists, and is frequently the ONLY rap album on those lists. sure it was violent and sexist, but it was the FIRST violent and sexist rap out there, and the fact is, they did it well. it worked incredibly well as an expression of the pent up anger of young black men. whether that served as the opening of a gate for young black men to get angry and commit violent crime is a sociological question though. the real problem with rap isn't just the fact that they rap about guns and drugs, it's that they are STILL rapping about guns and drugs. every rapper is looking for another 'Straight Outta Compton.' it's hypocritical for us rockers to blame rap for the corruption of society (looks at all the "moral decay" of the 60's, and tell me how much rap they were listening to), but we have every right to state the obvious fact that hip-hop has run out of good ideas, or it appears that way. i'm gonna be a twat now, and say "you didn't mention LUDACRIS!!!" i was impressed with Ludacris since before he became famous. he's got a unique voice, and he's a great humourist, which equates to some really original-sounding rap. i will however, wholeheartedly agree that current mainstream rap has become utter trash. if i have to hear Chingy telling me that he "likes it when i do that right thurrr, right thurr," I'M going to commit some violent crime.
    Perhaps a good attempt at a somewhat comprehensive article. I will say it's pleasant to hear someone at UG complaing about something other than "pop punk". I agree that facts would be nice, though (especially as opposed to opinion). And furthermore, just to clarify, it's been 20 years and I (unfortunately) still remember the music and lyrics to some damn poppy 80's songs. And as much as I'd like to be able to scrub "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" or "Livin' La Vida Loca" from my memory, I just don't think it's going to happen.
    i just did a semi-original rap about singapore gansters, a couple of hours ago on stage, and it was like totally no where near pop, all this pop rap/rnb i hear on the radios, are really ***ed up ***ing shit, and it ***ing disgraces a rapper like me to be asosciated with these untalented ***heads rapping about big booties and petting, this new shit is ***ed up, bring on all the slim shadies, and *** them sean pauls and the lyks
    Brand Nizzle182
    i disagree completely with your idea that bretney spears and other pop acts wont be rememberd in the future. sadly i think thats all that will be remembered. the pop music for the 60s, 70s, and 80s, has been what gets radio play on oldies stations. I also think the problem with rap is that kids are so hellbent on staying on the cutting edge with rap whatever come out they embrace as "cool" weather its a good song or not.
    Not all rap sucks, if you want proof, listen to some of these songs.. Q Strange - Ghetto Gothic Q Strange - Eternal Bliss Q Strange - Father Figure Q Strange - Possesive V Sinizter - Seperation Anxiety V Sinizter - Murder The World Tech N9ne - Devil Boy Tech N9ne - God Complex Tech N9ne - Suicide Letters Tech N9ne - Going Bad
    ^ Plugging a rapper.lol The only thing i have respect for, is that some rappers are amazingly good at writing lyrics, and while others just plain suck....
    first off. "knicks3311: All of rap is terrible and does not constitute as music. End of debate." knicks, im deeply saddened your mother never had an abortion. 2nd of all. to those that are whining about it being a "guitar site" ..... what do you not understand about "Music"? ya see.....The "Guitar" is a "Musical" instrument....."Music" is all inclusive, and "Rap", whether you agree or not, IS in fact Music. nope... see, i can hear you disagreeing already. sorry, doesn't matter what you think or enjoy listening to. it IS music. and, might I add, as has been said many times before, there are plenty of rap groups/songs that have guitar in them. should we not allow an article on say..... Miles Davis's album "Kind Of Blue", the best selling Jazz album of all time simply because it didn't have guitar in it? the problem with alot of guitarists anymore, is that they try SO hard to limit themselves as far as the music they'll listen to because of what they or their friends veiw as being "cool" or "hardcore" or "real". and that is extremeley sad. many elitist old schoolers who will ONLY listen to Classic rock, or ONLY Jazz, or ONLY Blues would say the very thing about the music YOU listen to, as you're saying about rap..... "it isn't REAL music" ... "it's talentless" ....."it doesn't have any emotion" ..etc..etc.. are they correct? no, of course not. it's just so hard for people to actually accept anything THEY don't personally like. what you all need to do is wake up and realize that you are NOT the end all be all of musical fact. you need to realize that most of you are piddly little teenagers who's opinions are made up not by yourself, but by your surrounding peers and media. am I suggesting you have to like rap? no lol... no way. everyone IS entitled to their own opinion and tastes. but when you spout such blatantly retarded statements such as "rap is talentless and doesn't even qualify as music" or the ever so popular and unoriginal "you can't spell cRAP without RAP"... you're no better than the rap afficinado who hates all rock, or the racist who automatically dismisses and entire ethnicity based on color or backround. in one word: ignorant. Cas..... peace.
    ^ yeah, i find that eminem spends most of his time justifying himself in his songs, explaining why he's right, and everyone else is wrong, and why he shouldn't be censored, and why nobody understands him. he's got talent, and it flows perfectly, but he needs to find a new topic. "The Eminem Show" was kind of boring to me.
    the reason most rappers rap about that stuff is cause they get there inspiration aout of live an some just try to be like the others
    Also think of it this way... the way rappers grew up is much different than most of you out there and don't know the difference between some things. Their life was mainly influenced about what they grew up with, whether it be good or bad. You can't totally blame them about what they say.
    I hate to break it to you guys, but all this crying about "rappers all talk about the same stuff. It's all just about pimps, drugs, and hoes" is absolutely hypocritical. Take a look at modern rock music. Staind, Disturbed, Korn, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and an ever-continuing, ever-growing list of others continually bitch about how poor their lives are/were/can be. Now, let me set the record straight. I don't like rap. Can't stand it. Generally speaking, I don't like nu-metal, either. But they are intrinsically the same. Both are teeming with individuals who limit themselves to the subjects with which the pioneers of their music dealt, never bothering to put the lyrical envelope past that which came before them. So, before you gripe about the unoriginality of another genre, take a good look at your own.
    most rappers that rap about bein in the hood and getting shot, and all that shit wear 1/2 a million in platinum, not to mention their houses and cars.
    most of you dont know what your talking about, but i agree and say that most of the new rap out there is bubble gum rap, rapping about nothing that matters, and is total shit, like chingy for example. Or also chingy and nelly munipulating words just to rhyme. The only true rappers are all almost in there retirement, Dr Dre is pushing 40, jay-z is retired from rap now(so he says). Or they are "dead" like tupac and biggie. Tupac had the poetic mind of a modern shakespeare and biggie had the mathematical mind of a genius they could drop rhymes worht millions within hours or even biggie, just spits them out in a split second. But in conclusion rap has mostly gone to shit, i listen only to old rap basically, in excepsion for some eminem, he definately is following tupac with his lyrics and will be a legend if he stays away from the shit he did with d12. Also there is a few good songs out there with guitar incorperated into the song like jay ft lenny kravitz-guns and roses, Bubba sparxx-deliverance, 2pac ft Nas-thugz mansion. Anyways rap is fadin into nothing, but early rap will still be remebered from the first scratch on the turntables from Grand Master Theodore to the last word of pac, itll be remebered
    Steph Bets
    Where Does Modern Rap Stand? in the garbage bin. tupac was a very talented rapper, and i think eminem is very talented, i man the way their words flow together is amazing, but i still dont like it. most of the time eminem just raps about his "mom" or his ex wife and such.
    Alright, i will agree that the rap music of my time is extremely lame... (im 16) but some of the musical background of of the the early stuff is pretty good. Listen to the bass riff in the outro to Dr Dre's "The Chronic." it might change the minds of some funk/jazz bassists. It does have progressional scales and even a bass chord or two...