Great Rap in 2017?


Reed Player

Reed Player, graphic artist

George Graves, Writer

The hip-hop genre rap, in particular, has become watered down in terms of how individuals now categorize good music produced by an artist. We have people today that enjoy the lyricism and complexity of mainstream artists such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Logic. Others are more inclined to enjoy listening to other mainstream artists such as 21 Savage, Lil Uzi, and Lil Yachty due to the fact that these artists, referred to affectionately as “mumble rappers”, make up for their lack of depth with hard-hitting instrumentals/bass. Each side admirably defends their side claiming theirs is the superior trait and always will be an artist.

What makes a song “lyrically dense”? For some, it could be the complexity of the subject matter. For others, it could be how the subject matter is spoken about. For example, there could be a song about an orca whale that is written beautifully and contains literary devices that allude to broader and deeper content. However, this same concept of orca whales could be fairly simple and not intellectually demand the consumer to understand, but so long as the instrumental is appealing to the ears consumers could still consider the project a great song.

Steven Mckinney, a senior, said, “I think you need to talk about something and be consistent while doing it while keeping a fresh beat.” Although technically speaking while every song that gets streamlined to the public isn’t always the most thought-provoking, they usually are saying something that at the very least resonates with the artist from a personal mindstate or viewpoint or what they’ve noticed from society at some point in time.

Tracy Benson, a sophomore, said, “I think it is important to have meaningful lyrics so that there is emotion behind it. But, if you don’t have a good beat than it will get boring and no one will want to listen to it.” This is the main argument made in defense of the real instrumental heavy body of works. This is an issue created by nobody else but us as the consumers. We don’t always want to hear something that makes us think so instead we opt for something that allows us to just vibe out and enjoy.

Overall one isn’t necessarily better than the other, but sadly at this current point in time for a full body of work to be considered “great”, not much is needed when it comes to lyricism in mainstream creations.