In the past decade or so, hip-hop has undergone a real renaissance. Hip-hop culture has experienced a resurgence of cultural vitality, with groups such as Kanye West, Future, and Lil Wayne making big waves in the mainstream. And when these groups go mainstream, they often take it a step further, moving from an underground culture to a more mainstream one. This has prompted some critics to take a look at rap music in terms of its cultural importance. Here, we highlight ten things about hip-hop that are worth taking note of.
1. The hip-hop style is so mainstream it’s almost pretentious
As hip-hop has become more mainstream, hip-hop culture has become more pretentious. A big part of hip-hop culture’s appeal lies in how hip-hop has taken on a sort of grandiose air, so much so that rappers seem to be making a fortune off of the style (i.e. Drake). But the style is also more than just what artists write about (i.e. Drake) and what hip-hop artists are doing (i.e. Lil Wayne). The style is really about who is producing the art form — and it’s a very self-aware culture too. In the video for “Mighty” by Lil Wayne, the rapper takes a step outside the standard concept of what is cool by making a video about being depressed. The video features images of a distressed Wayne, whose eyes are half closed, as if in a flashback. In the context of the song, a depressed Wayne seems like an unusual choice for a rap artist.
But Wayne’s style certainly is unusual, as it’s the first time an artist has attempted to represent depression via video. The second song on his major-label debut, Tha Carter III, was the first hip-hop video released by a major label in 2007.
2. Hip-hop has to make a living at some stage
In rap, the ability to earn money is one of the chief ways for rappers to fund their careers. This is true of both classic and modern hip-hop. Many modern hip-hop artists do not make their livings purely off of their songs, for the simple reason that a large part of their earning potential is tied to the ability to sell records. The ability to sell records, on the other hand, is often just as important as money. This is where a lot of the success in mainstream hip-hop comes from. Many of
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