Rap music has swayed the opinions of the masses. Whether it’s your fashion, the way you think, or even the way you create; during the half-century rap has existed, it has had a direct effect on each and every generation that heard the music.
With that said, every decade or so we see a culture shift. People adapting to the trends of whoever their favorite rappers are. The proof is in the timeline.
Remember when Run DMC lifted their stripes, swag was once determined by how baggy your clothes were, and colorful Starter windbreakers repped your favorite sports teams?
Now in 2018, we face an epoch that is way different than a future we predicted. One that might be filled with Xanax, emo rap, social media Tomfoolery, and tight clothes.
This is a huge transition from the days of shoot ’em up gangsta and drug dealing rappers.
Gangster rappers who came to fame during the digital renaissance are changing the conversation.
Peep, Jay-Z who blessed us with enough knowledge on 4:44 to build an empire or Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap, where listeners heard for the first time, a new form of classical hip-hop that gave us hope of a life beyond the streets.
Ten years ago you could’ve told me Jay-Z would be spitting knowledge on how to build an empire as a Black person in America and I would’ve laughed. You could’ve told me about “XO Tour Life” and I would have doubted you too.
Pay very close attention. The rules of the game are changing right before your eyes.
In an interview with Hot 97, Nipsey Hussle broke down gangster culture and the effect it has on music and the next generation. Nipsey touched on gangbanging culture. He said,
“I believe in something as serious as gangbanging, where life and death are involved, where people have decades of death… I can’t count how many of my homeboys I’ve buried and went to funerals. I ain’t saying this on no badge of honor shit. I’m just saying how serious the thing has become that we get so offended when people play with it. LA people, NY people, down South people it ain’t just region specific. It’s almost like spitting on people’s grave to play with that culture…”
“I understand gang culture is global now. I don’t really agree with it. I’m like man be careful. Don’t open that can of worms for real.”
Ebro then asked Nip a pressing question regarding people who have adopted the gangsta lifestyle and if they adopted the gang swag because it looked cool, they wanted the honor, or just fell victim to their environment.
Either way, you found yourself in a gang, Ebro opened up the floor for Nip to discuss if young people were taken advantage of and put down a path that might end in death because of a culture that generates money from the dark economy of America. That economy is guns, drugs, and the prison industry.
As a gang member himself, Nip broke down his answer into three parts discussing the allure of gang culture to a young person, the unintentional misleading of the OGS in a technologically advanced world, and how this generation calls for a different protocol.
His explanation of the appeal gang life might have on a young person was incredible. Nipsey’s first point:
“The good part about gang culture, if you can even say that without being attacked, is that in a genuine sense of it when people that got it honest… the world said we were wrong but the set embraced you for who you was and that’s the allure of gang bangin’. You might’ve been broke, your mama might’ve been on drugs, you might’ve not had the material success but the gang doesn’t judge you on that. The gang judges you on your heart. If you got heart we gonna embrace, we’re gonna love ya. That’s the only requirement.”
Having this dialogue and explaining to the youth that this culture is not the formula to success but the formula for survival in your hood is very important.
Maybe not today or tomorrow will we see the effects of what Nipsey said in this interview on the youth, but a decade from now we might see a new breed of artist that will have motivations to emulate their favorite rappers for more than their gangster appeal.
For now, take heed and stay true to self. “The silver lining that I’m seeing is an era of honesty… Be who you are,” says Nipsey.