KRS-One. LL Cool J. Grandmaster Flash. Tribe Called Quest. Will Smith. These five acts are some of the framers of the modern genre we happen to call hip-hop. Hip-hop is today’s pop music because it is the most relevant form of music that has taken over the airwaves. Hip-hop has been this generation’s music for the last two decades, and it seems as though the messages and lessons taught from this music will live with us forever. Hip-hop has defined our generation, and those artists who have graced our ears will live on in our minds when we are middle-aged and listening to classical music.
The fact is that hip-hop is just another genre in the musical cycle that has been regurgitated and recycled since the dawn of man. Just as classic rock was about the party scene, drugs and women over blaring guitars, basses and drums, modern popular hip-hop is about the party scene, drugs and women over synthesized drums and bumping bass. Classic rock defined our parents’ generation, jazz defined the generation before that and hip-hop defined our generation. Slowly, as we are realizing “hip-hop is dead,” new music is becoming relevant and popular.
However, we are children of the hip-hop age. It has affected the way we speak, act, treat each other and treat ourselves. Hip-hop is obsessed with glorifying violence, supporting the degradation of women, and drinking and doing drugs to no end. The problem is, after hearing this on our radios for the last two decades, we have let it become our lifestyle. There is a reason most guys have commitment issues, most girls are willing to be promiscuous and blame it on intoxication and marijuana is common among half of college kids nationwide. The reason is those very rappers who we admire promote things that shouldn’t be promoted.
Thus, after more than a three-decade run as a stronghold on the industry, hip-hop is on its deathbed. Not because there is no substance left. Not because Soulja Boy is a high-selling artist. Not because most kids who like hip-hop nowadays don’t know who KRS-One is. Rather, because it is the cycle of life and the cycle of music. Hip-hop is simply no longer relevant. And if it still is, it shouldn’t be for much longer. There is no reason for us to be subjected to violent lyrics and hatred of the other sex simply because it sounds aesthetically pleasing. We are a people of growing intellect and it is time for us to show that through our musical selection.
Don’t get me wrong. I love hip-hop. I have listened to hip-hop since I was seven years old. I listen to my iPod with any free-time I have. I write album reviews of the newest hip-hop releases. I read hip-hop news every day, or even two or three times a day. I buy hip-hop albums the day they come out. I love hip-hop and I am sure it is the most beautiful music I will ever hear because I simply relate. Not because I am a gang-banger or a rapist or a criminal, but rather because I struggle like any of them, and I support their growth and their ability to deal with it. I love hip-hop. But, like a grandmother who has simply fulfilled her time on this Earth, I am ready, nay, willing, to let her go to a better place so that her truest form can be honored and remembered in the future.
Dan Buyanovsky is a freshman from Miami majoring in entrepreneurship. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.