By Shanieka Stanton
In a Huffington Post article entitled “I Just Can’t Get Down With Hip Hop Anymore,” award-winning multimedia journalist Ernest Owens shared the incense of many original Hip Hop fans who have given up on the culture, thriving instead off of nostalgic Hip Hop hits of the past to commemorate a time when Hip Hop was true.
“I think 2015 is officially the year we can all agree that hip-hop is in a vegetative coma close to death,” Owens lamented. “The generation before us would easily say that it was long gone, but as a millennial I’m ready to finally admit it.”
Hip Hop in its inception was what Owen’s notes, “an art form meant to speak power to truth and ignite a once invisible subculture.” An arena once dominated by icons such as Public Enemy, KRS-1, and Rakim who raged against the status quo, have been replaced with the likes of Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Drake who promote manufactured lifestyles marketing street credibility as if it were a degree.
Owens, a former Drake fan left disgruntled when news broke exposing the artist’s use of a ghostwriter to engender lyrical content, has reconsidered his loyalty to the icon. Although many questioned Drakes authenticity at the onset of his career due to his reoccurring role on Canadian high school drama series “Degrassi,” Owens, until recently, remained supportive of the megastar.
“I appreciated what I assumed to be his originality. Because in a world where Bow Wow’s rap career is still being entertained by the press, I can appreciate the sincerity I once thought Drake had.”
Owens questioning of Drake’s autonomic creativity, preludes a deeper narrative, one in which questions the legitimacy of Hip Hop culture and its evolution.
“There is a sort of classism in rap now that has been over-saturated in conspicuous consumption and being within the industry’s capital favoritism of sorts,” Owens edified. “Now rappers act like R&B divas when comparing how many units their music sales as if that has ever actually bared any legitimacy to their skills within the genre.”
This isn’t the first or last evolution of Hip Hop. Hip Hop has died many times before and been reborn into melodic mastery that defies expectation each time around. Lovers of the genre may find hope in the knowledge that while the Hip Hop story may be molded by corporate executives preying on the profitability of black culture, ultimately, we the people control the evolution. Where are we allowing them to take Hip Hop next?