The release of Jay Z’s newest album Magna Carta Holy Grail spurred a flurry of criticism from other artists. The conversation that Jay Z’s album created has left us with one question: what has hip-hop become?
While hip-hop has always been defined as the culture of black America and rap a by-product of hip-hop, artists today are claiming that hip-hop isn’t the same place it once was. Flavor Flav, former member of Public Enemy and self-proclaimed music critic, has been one of the most vocal protesters of the new direction the hip-hop genre has taken.
“”I think the element of hip-hop left when rap music started being created on a slow tempo. It’s just stayed there for years. Right now, a lot of Rap music today is being created at very low tempos.” he said in a recent interview. While he doesn’t contest that the artists these days are excellent, he claims they are no longer hip-hop. “Lil Wayne is making some great Rap records – everybody is making great rap records, but it’s not hip-hop.” Even Lil Wayne doesn’t know where the genre is. “I don’t know where hip-hop is at,” he said. “I just listen to the old stuff, and my television stay on SportsCenter.”
But what truly makes something hip-hop? Is it the tempo as Flavor Flav suggests? Or is it the rising commercialization thanks to artist like Jay Z who know how to market themselves? Is it the fact that a genre notorious for being underground has taken over the radio stations? Perhaps the shift in hip-hop mirrors the shift in our culture and society. Even hip-hop isn’t immune to change.Google+