4 Problems With Modern Rap Music That Have Existed Forever

Rap music. Once, it was known as the genre responsible for sending mothers all across the country into fits of worry over the fear that it might compel their kids to grow up and join a gang or, God forbid, date a black person. It was dangerous. It was threatening. It scared people. Not anymore, though! These days, rap is all pop tunes, dance tracks, and a nonstop competition to see who can wear the most designer labels. "There's no way any of this would have passed in the golden era of hip-hop!" is what people say. But those people are wrong. The things listeners hate about rap music today have been around longer than even most of the people doing the complaining. For example ...

#4. No One Cares About Lyrics Anymore, Just Beats

This is probably the most common complaint about rap music today. And with artists like Migo$ (their spelling, not mine), Rae Sremmurd, and Young Thug getting heavy rotation on the radio, it's a hard one to debate. Especially when songs like this ...

He's barely saying real words.

... seem to be the only thing consumers are spending money on anymore. If I let anyone above the age of 30 hear that song, they'd spontaneously combust into an endless rant about how "back in their day" hip-hop was more than just hard beats and gibberish lyrics. Oh yeah? Are you referring to Sir Mix-A-Lot's timeless classic "Baby Got Back"? Probably not, because people were lodging the exact same complaints against that song "back in your day." That songs is three verses about ass, and it won a Grammy. Things weren't even sort of better in your day.

Or what about Juvenile's "Back That Ass Up"? Cry all you want about Cash Money Records making Young Thug into a nearly-impossible-to-understand star, but if the masses didn't embrace Juvenile rapping about asses so enthusiastically back in 1999 ...

Thanks, everybody!

... none of that would even be happening right now. That's not to say Juvenile is a bad rapper; in fact, he was one of the best from the South in the '90s. The point is that rap has grown so much from its early beginnings that it's no longer just two categories -- gangsta rap and more gangsta rap.

Even if you take none of that into consideration, you can't ignore history. When hip-hop was first was invented in the late '70s or early '80s (depends on who you ask), DJs were the Batman to the MCs' Robin.

themacx/iStock/Getty Images
Who knew they even had laptops back then?

A rapper's job was mainly to hype the crowd up with "yes, yes, y'alls" and such. The DJ did the heavy lifting by mixing the records and keeping the party moving. Because most fans were just there to have a good time, the acts that garnered the most attention were those who could keep people dancing and having a good time. Sounds familiar, right?

#3. Only The Terrible Rappers Get Radio Play

The Beastie Boys, Eminem, and Macklemore all have one obvious thing in common: They're extremely popular rappers. Oh! And they're white. Every single one of them. Google it if you don't believe me. They've also won a ton of awards between them, if you're looking for more similarities, which you're probably not. It's the white stuff that stands out, though, which is kind of stupid, seeing as how it's 2015. No one cares about a rapper's race anymore; just whether or not they can actually rap. Eminem definitely gets a pass on that front.

As seen in 8 Mile.

As for the other two, well, the Beasties sold a lot of records, but skilled rappers? Nah, not really. I've had more rap debates than the NFL has had domestic abuse cases, and I've never heard anyone mention the Beastie Boys (and definitely not Macklemore) among their top five rappers or groups. But these acts never seemed to have a problem getting on the radio. Same with Iggy Azalea. What's that all about? It seems pretty obvious, right?

It's that they all make pop music. Yes, they're rapping while they do it, but it's still just another form of pop music. That might not have been the case with all of those acts throughout their entire careers, but they got there eventually. Pop music gets played on the radio. Even in the days when there weren't any active white rappers that anyone cared about, there was still plenty of pop-oriented rap to go around.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince are an obvious example. Same with Kid 'N Play. When they were dominating Hollywood with movies like Class Act and the House Party franchise ...

And the best hair.

... their comparatively average music was tearing up the radio. Or what about MC Hammer? Do you think "Can't Touch This" blew up because he was selling independently-pressed copies of the single out of his trunk on the streets of Oakland? No, the radio did that. Mediocre artists get the most attention. That's just how radio works -- be it rap, rock, or whatever else.

Besides, what are you doing listening to the radio, anyway? If you have a radio at all, the technology that makes using it to listen to pretty much anything you want possible is readily and cheaply available. If you're at work, you probably use a music app of some sort. Complaining that your favorite rapper doesn't get enough radio play is like complaining that they don't get written about enough in your local newspaper. It's fine, no one's paying attention to those things anymore anyway. If you're annoyed by what's being played on the radio, that's your own doing. Suffer in silence or get an aux cord like a functioning adult.

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Jawn Louis

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