The Internet. This one major advance in the electronic medium has affected all manners of life. It has had its profound effect on the world of rap/hip-hop. The credibility of an artist can simply be found out with a visit to your favorite music websites, blogs, social websites, etc. The current climate of this musical genre still has a place for street artists; but finding the real is one of the hardest tasks to tackle for fans who love their favorite hood icon.
Officer Ricky. Any rap/hip-hop head can read those two words and instantly know the story behind the man known as Rick Ross. His street credibility constantly comes into question from fans and artists alike. For a rapper to claim such outlandish boasts of his exploits in the hood, how much of it could possibly be true since he was a former corrections officer? Street artists in hip-hop are always in danger of having an event like this cause them to lose fans and generate disappointing record sales. But, this is a new era and the fans seem to care less about one’s outside exploits and more about the one thing any sensible fan craves: good music.
Rappers can claim they shot someone for crossing their path, sold drugs in the hood, and rep a gang color as much as they want. At the end of the day, the people with cash in their wallets are willing to cop an artist’s album looking to hear dope beats and rhymes. The business of everything in this world revolves around money and there are those individuals who choose to perpetuate a gangster character that is nothing but fiction in order to profit. But good music can prevail over all these setbacks.
Shyne has done his 10 years in jail for “keeping it real.” Young Jeezy constantly puts out tracks that expose his past dealings in the hood. But these two men no longer have a need to go back to the streets and commit the type of acts that will put a stop to their careers. Lessons have been learned and today’s street artist puts out music that details what they’ve done in the hood in order to keep others from doing it as well. Street rappers put out the type of music that transcends all races and creeds. A suburban kid who never took a trip to the hood can access it through a gangster rap record and know the ills and struggle straight from the artist’s mouth.
Street tales from street rappers still have a place in the industry today. Rap/hip-hop heads want to hear about the type of stories they wouldn’t want to experience outside their doorstep. It still sells and it will continue to sell. As long as the ones that make their residence in the hood continue to struggle, there is still a platform for them to explain their hardships and exploits to a mass audience.
This world of music we enjoy so much has changed both for better and for worse. At least we can still look forward to hearing a street artist who hopefully knows what he/she is rapping about. Keep it real and make it sound good.