For a while, it seems like the talk of the town has been about an artist's success. And within that success, there's always speculation of whether the artists is selling out or not. Now, we've heard about this issue in all types of genre, but it seems the most unforgivable lies in the realm of hip hop.
To be honest, I think that the words "sell out" have been thrown around way too many times for people to give an exact definition. Yes, hip hop has originally started out as a craft to convey a message and some sense of personality. As soon as someone hits the top of Hot 100, they no longer have a message? They're not in it for their message?
Take Jay-Z. I think his message and goals have been the same since he came out. He wanted to convey a message, but he also had aspirations of being the cream of the crop and dominating not only the rap game, but other venues. So, would that really mean he's selling out by getting top 10 hits, sold out tours, and marrying a dominator of the pop realm? (Beyonce if you don't know who I'm talking about. . .)
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And his message has changed, yes. But he has experienced a lot in his prime time. He's at a different stage of his life and has different things to talk about than what he did in 1996.
It seems that even as we grow up, we are raised with the notion that mainstream is selling out. So, if you wanna do the "whole rap thing," you can't be mainstream. Not too long ago, Drake spoke about his views on mainstream. When he was growing up, he “was fighting anything that was mainstream. [He] was only listening to Little Brother, Slum Village, J Dilla, Talib Kweli."
However, he felt that as he expanded his mind and added a melody and freshness to his message, he had the best of both worlds. He had the radio-friendly and infectious hooks and then the message that laid within the bars. So, if we can all acknowledge and broaden our horizons, we can make something crossover but still be true to our hearts.
What do you think?
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