Why I Dislike Modern Commercial Hip Hop

Why I Dislike Modern Commercial Hip Hop

I'm a hip hop fan from way back (back when we called it "rap"), and before I rant, I'm guilty of lovin' some less than ideal music that might have been derogatory and just not that great but it was my generation so I was feelin' it.

Have you listened to the hip hop that is played on the radio and satellite radio recently? Its marginalized, homogenized, urban crap. I can't go 30 seconds without hearing the N word or a woman being insulted. I'm serious, it hurts my ears and breaks my heart to see my favorite art form reduced to negativity over whack beats.

Now I'm 37 years old I go back with rap like a rocking chair, I remember when RUN DMC dropped "King of Rock", when LL Cool J "Rocked The Bells", and when we "Followed the Leader" with Eric B. & Rakim. I've been on a "Award Tour" with Tribe Called Quest", sipped Gin & Juice" with Dr. Dre but really and truly this is more like Common's "I Used to Love H.E.R."

I listen to these cats like Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and even Jay-Z but I ain't hearing nothing, not a thing that moves me on the dance floor, nothing that humors me nor motivates me. Its the same stereotypical run down of drug dealing, acquiring expensive objects, drinking expensive liquor and acting like they are the man. The man of what?

Now I'm talking commercial hip hop only, trust me I work hard to go underground like two subways to find good hip hop and its there, my man Phil Ade, local cats like Scheme, Chance the Rapper and up and coming cats like Stalley. Once you get past the big record labels this mess of urban radio that is nothing more than a large plantation, there are quality artists to be found.

But its buried alive under this sorry excuse for hip hop we are served like a bad, overpriced buffet.

Some people have gone as far to say this is a reason for urban violence and issues. But I've heard that argument for 30 years, what's goin' in the hood is still being told (and well I might add), but its voice is not Chief Keef, you'd have to search for another local brotha like Spence who has the hood credentials with the solid hip hop flow and tight beats to get that story right.

And then there's Kanye, yes the local product more reality star than hip hop artist, true he is experimental with his beats but his content is more shock worthy than slick.

Now I'm not one to try and say what's in a brotha's heart but when you spittin' the same old game and commercial music only makes room for those who move units and not sway fans hearts or minds, its sad.

Hip hop was born as a creative movement that initially just rocked the parties and then got educational (or edutainment in the words of KRS-1), and even spiritual at times. For us of a certain age it was more than music, rap was the songs, but hip hop was the life style, and we lived it to the fullest believing in the music that we heard.

But now with such detriment, empty boasting and what seems like glorified commercials for cars, clothes & cognac, its lost its way. But that's only from what the corporate heads want to feed us. To get more its like the old days we have to search to find what truly inspires and moves us. Peace.

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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email

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