Doing Hip-Hop Shit and Rapping on Hip-Hop Beats but I’m Not a Rapper.
Putting people into categories has been a topic many have battled with throughout history. For most of us, categories are scary. We don’t want to be labeled and put into categories, because then people will stereotype us. I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of categorization; I will leave that for “Woke” Twitter.
Categories have their place; a person can’t smoke a blunt in the morning, afternoon, and night and not expect to be labeled a pothead. No matter what you say or how you feel, you are a pothead. This isn’t wrong, it just helps summarizes part of your character as a person. So if you do hip-hop shit and make music similar to how rappers make music don’t get upset if you’re labeled as a rapper.
Rappers’ claiming they are not rappers isn’t a new occurrence, Jay Z once proclaimed he wasn’t a rapper on his “The Blueprint” album. The same Jay Z that wears chains, diamonds, writes songs with great wordplay, and has beefs with other rappers which are all characteristic of hip-hop. Presently we are seeing a higher volume of artist making the same statement.
This list contains Lil Uzi, Post Malone, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, and more. The most interesting of the names that appear on this list is Post Malone, an artist that has released music in other genres prior to releasing the song that made him relevant, “White Iverson”. Yes, he had released music in other genres, but only the hip-hop community has allowed him to see success and yet no credit is given to Hip Hop.
The root of this issue is, “Why don’t people want to be labeled as a rapper?” The answer to that is one of the following, artist don’t want to have to live up to the high standards that once were apart of hip-hop, artist feel that hip-hop has declined and no longer want to be associated with what many have presumed dead, or perhaps these young artists want to rebel against hip-hop, since their sound bares no similarity to “traditional” or “old school” hip-hop”, they may truly feel that they are not rappers.
Whatever the case may be, I believe hip-hop fans should stop allowing these rappers to gain success and then throw the genre, that provided that success, under the bus. There was no way Post Malone was going to get hot as a country or rock artist, and there was no way Lil Uzi was going to blow up pursuing rock music no matter how much he thinks of himself as a rockstar. At the end of the day, the arena that these artists are creating in is the hip-hop arena no matter what they say.
If we continue to let in artists that use hip-hop for their selfish interests and then dismiss themselves as not being rappers to avoid responsibilities that go with the title, the harder it’ll be to uplift the black community.
Part of what these artists are implying by not wanting to be rappers is that the black created genre isn’t good enough. The irony in the situation is that most of the time the artists that make the statement are in the fact the ones that are not good enough for the genre. We cannot allow people to mistreat our genre; it’s one of the few things we have left.