By now almost everyone has heard the Kendrick Lamar song (for those who haven't press play above)...it's really Big Sean's song but Kendrick went so hard and said so much that most people forget about Big Sean and no one even listens to that other guy that had the last verse. Sorry Jay Electronica just sit this one out.
I want to address this song and what Kendrick said before I move on though. First Kendrick is a great artist and one of my favorites right now. I think what he did is great for hip-hop. Sparks competition and breathes some fresh air into the game. I feel like it's enough of a shot to spark some controversy but not too much, just the right amount. It's enough of a shot to inspire some rappers that may need some inspiration especially in my lovely city of New York. It packs enough punch to warrant a response yet not so much that we're scared that people (the rappers themselves or die hard fans) will take matters into their own hands to settle or create a non-existent beef between artists. I would feel some type of way if I was Big Sean though. I mean Kendrick could've did all that on his own song. Once again Jay Electronica, please sit the one out.
However, I think there is something lying beneath the shadows and hasn't been addressed by anyone yet. Not to my knowledge at least. Kendrick Lamar is from the west coast, California to be exact. He said he was the King of New York which was already reaching but understandable given the premise of his verse but really though....wait for it...he's not even the best in California. In my opinion, the best rapper out of California right now is...wait for it...Nipsey Hussle. Disagree with me all you want but you're not changing me mind on this one. Yes, I know he hasn't put an album out yet but that further helps me prove my point if you really want me to get into it.
On to the meat of the issue though (I just had to get that off my chest real quick) which is the state of hip-hop. I personally love the state of hip-hop. It's very refreshing. What is refreshing about it to me is that there are a lot of different type of rappers. Granted for every type of rapper there are those that out class the others in that particular type.
The most refreshing thing for me though is that it seems like it's becoming more and more cool and acceptable to rap about subjects other than guns and being a gangsta. Take 2 Chainz for instance, he's one rapper that just raps about money, girls, having fun, and looking fresh when the feds are watching (pun intended). He makes what I call happy music. That life's good and I'm happy so I'm going to go turn up music.
Leading the pack of all current rappers right now and it's not even close is Drake. His music is by far the best right now in every aspect of rap (content, delivery, lyrics...etc) and that doesn't even take into consideration the diversity of the music he makes. He's definite the leader of the pack and he knows it saying things like "niggas be wanting a verse for a verse but that's not a swap to me." He knows he's in a class on his own and I am eagerly waiting for him to drop another gem of an album this fall.
Not too far behind Drake is J. Cole (one of my personal favorites). His second album was definitely better than the first. It has way more substance to it. Sounded like an artist that's definitely in touch with the game and himself. Also, listening to J. Cole is sort of a type of motivation for myself. Here's a guy that went to school and has a college degree but what he wants to do in life has nothing to do with his college degree. I can definitely identify with and support that.
Being the music connoisseur that I am it pains me to say that I haven't really been up on a lot of the new artists out there. This wasn't more evident than during the MTV Video Music Awards. There were certain people who won awards and I didn't really know them. The music sounded vaguely familiar but it wasn't as familiar as I felt it should to get the award it did. So I'm in the process of brushing up on my new artists. Something sparks my attention and I'll probably write about it.
In other aspects of hip-hop there are a lot of people besides the ones mentioned already that are bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre. Rick Ross right now is the equivalent to a perennial all-star in the game. I'm really happy to see the success of Wale. Even happier that after he joined Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group he didn't flip the switch and go mainstream gangsta like a lot of artists do when the get affiliated with a certain group of people. Big Sean is doing his thing. I'm really high on CyHi from G.O.O.D. Music as well. Pusha T has by wrapping about the same kilo of the finest Colombian for over 10 years now, he needs some new subject manner. His lyrics are still fire though.
Believe it or not I'm also really high on Trinidad James. He's in that 2 Chainz category of rappers to me. He also seems like an artist that knows his lane and isn't trying too hard to be what people say he's not. Chief Keef is boo boo powder. He only gets a spin when I'm in turn up mode, on my way to the club, and I don't really care what is being said on the record and I'm just vibing to the beat.
For older artists...Jay-Z did his thing once again. Real cool grown music in my opinion. Lil Wayne makes what I call funny music. I listen to him just to get a kick out of what new clever way he's going to say the same things he has already said before. It hilarious to me. Kanye is still controversial as always, but when you're widely recognized as a musical genius, you can do the type of things that he does. T.I. to me is the equivalent of a savvy veteran. Dropping gems and collecting checks. I'll put the Juicy J in that category as well.
So all in all I'm loving hip-hop in 2013. If there's anyone or anything that I missed and you would like to add to this please feel free to comment and let me know. I just downloaded a whole bunch of Macklemore too so I'm about to see what he's all about because he was all over this year's MTV Video Music Awards.