The battle between old school and new school hip-hop

Photo courtesy of Dan Winters, Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Dan Winters, Wikimedia Commons

By Nicholas Logan

Hip-hop has arguably been the best genre of music in the past two decades. As hip-hop maintains its title, a lot has changed about the genre, such as the lyrics. Hip-hop has two phases, old school and new school each of which give off a different vibe.

Old school “hip-hop” has music based prevalently on African American culture. Artists such as Tupac, Biggie Smalls, and Eazy-E often rap about the struggles of growing up in a racialized environment and the work they put in to get where they are today.

In popular songs such as “Changes” by Tupac and “Juicy” by Biggie Smalls, the artists explain how they went from “negative to positive” as Biggie put it.

The hardships they rap and sing about include how they grew up facing racial discrimination, poverty, and doubt from the people around them. Old school hip-hop is still popular today and is regarded as “classic” by many hip-hop fans.

“New school” hip-hop has different types of lyrics. Rappers from today’s generation sing typically about girls, money, and cars they have. Some even sing about how they do drugs, drink alcohol, and party which sets a bad example for some listeners. Some of these rappers today did not have it as hard as rappers back in the old days. Also Hip-hop artists now are racially diverse, so African American culture is not necessarily found in music today.

People who grew up listening to Tupac, Biggie, Eazy-E, and so on typically do not enjoy hip-hop in today’s era. Songs written when rap was introduced were lyrically better because rappers were able to tell a story using words that rhyme and flow.

Some songs are also more appealing to fans because they can relate to the struggles their favorite rappers faced.

People of this generation are used to listening to new school hip-hop which is the most played genre on the radio. These same fans also like what the old school era had to offer.

Growing up listening to Eminem has caused me to fall in love with him as an artist. He had a harder time growing up because he was white, yet he still faced the same problems as African American rappers of that time did, which was uncommon.

Eminem also has better lyrics and better flow than the other rappers who sing about their lives. Even though I love Eminem’s old songs, I prefer new hip hop more. Eminem has drifted away from old school lyrics and new hip hop artists have become more appealing to me.

Because of new artists in hip-hop, many lessen known artists are rarely noticed. These artists are said to be “underground.” Underground rappers usually do not make it big because they have music related to the messages embodied by old school hip-hop artists would say.

Hip-hop is now more about the money and fame and less about an artist’s struggles and hardships. This makes it harder for these underground rappers to have their music known and shared, and if they were creating music back in the early days of rap, than their music would be more popular and they would not have the restricting label “underground.”

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