Gee Wunder’s Jewels Vol. 5: Rap Thuggery – When Life Imitates Art [Audio/Blog]
Toronto, ON – Hip-hop has always been a genre of music rooted in the plight and struggle of lower class, disenfranchised people globally. This struggle is usually accompanied by symptoms such as crime and poverty. For this reason a rap artists’ credibility has always been rooted in the old cliché of “keeping it real,” – as in, really doing or living what they talk about in their rhymes. This wasn’t so much of a big deal in old school rap when the subject matter wasn’t so “thuggish” as it is now… of course, times sure have changed. But what happens when, as Dave Chappelle ingeniously put it, “keeping it real… goes wrong?!”
Don’t get me wrong… I’m one of the biggest fans of hardcore, thugged out rap. Some of my favourite artists are the ones that make me seriously question how the hell they can be getting it in the trap AND on the mic with equally astounding success. My friends, colleagues and I always debate about whether or not this rapper or that rapper is actually “pushing weight” or “bussin his gatt” as he says he is in rhyme. By the end of every one of these debates we are forced to remind ourselves that this rap music game is all entertainment… or at least it should be. But what rappers have to understand is there is a very thin line between channeling their most violent and dark thoughts, experiences and emotions through song and becoming a convict, murderer or felon in real life. I mean, if you’re thuggin’, staying far from the bwoy dem and making money doing it, that’s on you… but there’s nothing more disappointing than hearing that your favourite emcee is caught up on some horrible charges which usually suspends their recording career temporarily or indefinitely. (ie. John Forte, T.I., Shyne, Prodigy, Mystikal, Pimp C, Young Turk, Max B, Lil’ Boosie, and Lil’ Wayne, off the top o’ my head..) Granted, life is mad real… and problems do arise… but I also believe in a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Newer facets of hip-hop culture including internet thuggin’ and DVDs add to the confusion. A few years back SMACK DVD had some success in the street DVD market (with actual ill NY rhymers and some good content). Since then everyone else around the world is copying the street DVD formula. You see the thing about hip-hop and music culture in general is that it’s very “follow fashion” – Everyone attempts to mimic the next man’s success. A similar phenomenon happened back in the day with the “Hammer” pants and MJ glitter gloves. Although the worse consequences of such mimicking would be getting dissed by your homies… today’s copycatting, in a more serious turn, can more likely lead to death or jail).
So because SMACK DVD had some success some years back (with actual ill NY rhymers and some good content) everyone else around the world is copying the street DVD formula. But my question is: since when was it cool to be on “tape” admitting to crimes, brandishing weapons and spitting horrible, preschool rhymes that no one even likes!!?!! Let’s just say it’s not a good look advertising what you do with your time to the boys in blue if you really doing what you say you’re doing.
So hip-hop nation… I say let’s take it back to the music and the freedom that creativity affords each individual to be themselves.
Real life bad man tings is overrated anyways… when you get bit that is.
Until the next installment of Gee Wunder’s Jewels, want to shout out my friends out in Hamilton, Barrie and Oshawa that showed support at my Das EFX dates. Check out the song below “Stop Snitchin’ On Urself” – Gee Wunder off my first mixtape called Street Knowledge” (The Street Album) which sums this blog up… ezee.
Gee Wunder – Stop Snitchin’ On Ur Self
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Be sure to check out http://geewunder.com.
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