Home Featured Post Lil Wayne and Flavor Flav Chime in: Where Has Hip-Hop Gone?

Lil Wayne and Flavor Flav Chime in: Where Has Hip-Hop Gone?

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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.

Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.