When it comes to the theme of lust and love in Hip-Hop and Rap, the modern listener has unfortunately become accustomed to undignified depictions of women in vulnerable positions, with [usually] men taking on strong, masculine, airs of a peremptory disposition, that is to say overtly 'self-assured' in both body and mind. 'Songs' relating to the pleasures of life, materialistic gain, and misplaced valor are seen as the 'best' and 'coolest' new additions to the musical fabric of America. In 2014, research was conducted by Madanikia and Bartholomew in which they surveyed the statistical rates of thematic adherence to Lust and Love in the top 40 songs from the interim period of 1971-2011. Their research had found that 62% of their surveyed corpus dealt with Love, while 39% of the corpus dealt with Lust, this transition to lust-dominated content being rationalized as the natural outcome of the contemporary normalization of sexuality outside the traditional confines of relationships and similar committed partnerships.
Although the study is now nine years old, its findings are indicative of the musical climate, as, according to Billboard's Top 100 songs corresponding to the week of October 31st, tracks like WAP [No.2], Mood [No.1], and close to all in the first 50 songs, have one commonality, and that is they are about love and lust in various, developmental stages. The pining sufferer wishing for love, regretting love, raging against it, reveling in its essence, etc. But, in general, it's nothing new, is it? Pretty much all of the mainstream, musical works regarded as 'Popular' are either about love, breaking up, sexual conduct, boasting about riches, or simply treating love as a thing to want, keep, hold onto, wish for, or receive. In Hip-Hop and Rap, the trend is the same, but invigorated with under [and over] tones of hypersexuality as means to an end, exaggerated wealth and grandeur as 'higher' in value than authentic work-ethic, and pugnacity [aggressiveness] being the main method of 'communication' with others.
This playlist, named, 'The Human Experience,' recounts the various stages of not only love, but of personal turmoil, inner strength, self-accountability, and true desire to engender in oneself an authentic sense of 'I can do it, watch me.' If contemporary Hip-Hop needs anything, it needs to refocus on what it means to be a 'Hip-Hop' artist in modernity, and artists need to drastically consider the ramifications of their music, not only from a commercial perspective but from a socio-cultural perspective as well. How is the Society in which I am a part of changing, and how does my music aid or hinder the changes that are occurring, both natural and man-made? Likewise, the consumer [listener, etc] would be wise to survey their own musical choices, and make the bold decision to replace mainstream voices, whose messaging has become 'stale' with repetition, for some sister-scene names, like up-and-coming female rapper Chika, counterculture rapper Lil Darkie and his entourage, 347AIDAN, and South Asian musician Singga. I highly suggest you take a look at Soundcloud's 'Global Beats Now,' as so many foreign artists, who infuse their music with their unique ethnographic identity, deserve more attention than they are given.
In that vein, enjoy this installment of 'New Faces of Rap' and be sure to listen to these songs which, in my opinion, are #fire!
Reggae, easy-listening aesthetic with ukulele. The text depicts the difficulty of being mentally prepared for a relationship with another person, and the self-admittance that perhaps one is simply not ready to commit to a relationship of any kind.
Alternative-Pop Rap feel, matched with a lyrical vocal styling. He talks about how the woman that he ostensibly previously loved now holds deep animosity towards him, to the point where she calls for him to engage in suicidal acts. She acts in a juxtapatory way, but this doesn't stop him from rising from the tribulation.
General Rap aesthetic, inspirationally infused sonicism with synth additions. He talks about his run in with temptation, i.e., drugs, women, and sexual gratification. He relays his relationship with God, his fall from grace, and his path back to God. He talks about the reality of trying to move on while having grievances that are hard to get rid of and move away from.
R & B aesthetic, leaning towards Pop qualities, paired with smooth, vocal lyricism. She talks about how, despite her best efforts, she is having a difficult time admitting if she is indeed in love, and if she is, how should she comprise these feelings against the tenuousness of admittance?
Eclecticism, neo-Rap/Gospel aesthetic, akin to Lizzo's sound. Bringing rap back its roots, Chika talks about how she had to work for herself and trust only herself with her music and personal skill to gain credibility in the world of Hip-Hop. She also makes it a point to emphasize her poignant dissimilarities to those in the Industry right now.
Syncopated drumbeat, post-R&B meets easy, timbral lyricism. She describes the banality of love, where one falls in love and yet is seemingly inculcated with mental challenges. She expresses her entreaties to this person that she wants solidity with her partner.
Tasteful musical Witticism paired with 21-century Hip-Hop, rhythmic 'flow.' As the name suggests, she is exerting her linguistic chops in the face of those who ‘confine’ themselves to the aesthetic that will bring them success, neglecting to consider their own unique abilities and perceptions within the artform they inhabit.
'Pop' aesthetic, feel-good inclinations partnered with conversational rapping tenacity. The vocalists recount how the tribulations of life in their various intensities have the capability to potentially discourage forward momentum which is necessary for an individual’s growth. But, through the motto ‘life goes one,’ a person can build their resolve to continually generate inertia within themselves to facilitate the fulfillment of actions required for a better future
'Text first, music second’ dynamism, rugged vocal aesthetic which strips Rap of its unnecessary components. Encased in personal experiences, the rapper talks about his rise from destituteness and various natures of perilousness, all the while rebelling against his ‘enemies’ and asserting his intentions of growing from the ashes.
'Freestyle' aesthetic, Journal entry Rap form, through-composed text with repetitious underbeat. It reads as an auto-biographical work, trekking through adolescence, venturing to high-school and beyond. He talks about how he had to cope with the experiences he faced while growing up. He also touches upon how he was ‘lucky’ as compared to some of his cohorts, he points out the reason being because of his lack of jail time. He concludes with stating that due to the development of personal sickness, the manifestation of his trauma which he had not let go, he was confronted with the fact that he had held onto the suffering induced by the unconscionable actions in his upbringing.
Like previously stated, all music belongs to its creators. If you can, and are able, please consider supporting these artists and other artists who are not mainstream, as most create solely based off the income their music generates.
(Chika, Singga, The Kid Laroi)