The Frustrating State of Modern Rap

Ba dum dum chhhh. I was listening to music last night, and I felt compelled to check out the top albums in the United States over the last week, and um… yikes. Most of it was really really bad. There’s a lot of good music out there that’s incredibly popular or considered mainstream, so I’m not going to be one of those people that says they only listen to “underground” artists or dumps their favorite band when they become popular.

“I liked them before anyone else did, now they suck…” We all know that person. Don’t be that person. (Unless the band sells their souls entirely for profit, then knock yourself out.) It’s really cool to find a band early on in their career and watch them become more successful, but we should be happy to watch them grow. I think we have a tendency to feel as if we are part of something unique and specific to us as individuals when we enjoy a band or artist that nobody else knows about. It kind of make us feel special, and we like that.

Plus, it’s more fun to be the underdog. It seems like the most passionate fans are for teams in smaller cities like Buffalo with the Bills, and people with a tons of patriotism for their country come from places like Latvia and Northern NewPenisLand. It becomes something that makes them unlike almost everyone else, which becomes a source of pride. NewPenisLand Strong! Forever and always.

Anyways, I was talking about how bad I think the majority of the most popular music is. Which sucks, because I wanted to like it. I really did. I went in there with an open butthole, ready to expand my audible library. I was met with surface level lyrics, repetitive and uninteresting sounds, and a lack of passionate voice.

I’m mostly disappointed in rap and hip hop. I don’t think Taylor Swift is bad, she’s fairly simple but she has a lot of good lyrics and vocals. I’m not an Ariana Grande fan, but I get it. The rest of the artists on the top albums list are “rap” centered artists and for the most part they made me want to poop forever.

I think Juice WRLD is talented and I like some of his stuff. It could be a lot better but there’s something there. The number one album on the list, though, was “Whole Lotta Red,” by Playboi Carti, and holy balls was it bad. I found the rest of the artists on the list to be equally frustrating to listen to.

If you listen to the song “wokeuplikethis” by Playboi Carti, just pay attention to how many times he rhymes a word with the same exact word. He end rhymes the word “me” with “me” so many times in a row it blows my mind straight out of my ear sockets. The sheer lack of creativity behind the lyrics of most of these songs rattles my brain to the core. And as frustrating as it is, it inspires me at the same time.

With so many people enjoying this music as it is, imagine what it could be with lyrics that actually do something. I’m not sure what happened exactly in the rap world, but the fall off from Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” to where we are now is astonishing. If anyone has the time, listen to the album, “The Eminem Show” with the lyrics up, and then listen to any of the “top” rap albums out right now, with the lyrics up. It’s incomprehensibly incomparable.

There have been some really good rappers who are widely known over the past decade or two from Lil Wayne to Kanye West to Nas, but so many seem to get to the “top” with lazy lyrics and horrific rhymes. The beats have gotten so sick that it feels like rap artists can get away with lyrics written by a four-year old walrus, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Obviously it doesn’t frustrate most people the way it frustrates me, but it’s interesting to take note of. I love rap and spoken word and the art of poetry, and there’s so much good stuff out there and so many people who are truly talented. I just want to see it get through; to see the beats match up with some lyrics that flow so hard you can hardly believe it. That’s what I get when I listen to “The Eminem Show,” and what I so desperately crave.

If anyone has any recommendations for rap artists who are really talented in the lyric department, let me know. I think Lil Dicky is super talented and his songs “Bruh…” and “Who Knew” are exceptional in their use of lyrical flow, rhyme, alliteration, and consonance and assonance. Other than that I’m having a hard time finding much that gives me any hope. I can only listen to “The Eminem Show” and Lil Wayne’s “No Ceilings” so many times…

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