The term "conscious rapper" is a vague, umbrella term for rappers who don't glorify packing guns, selling drugs, or degrading women. Instead, a conscious rapper is supposed to rap about social issues, positivity, and empowerment. Problem is, conscious-rap fans often insist on putting so-called "conscious rappers" on a pedestal, and it doesn't help that many of those same rappers occasionally project an image of superiority and impeccable integrity.
That's why people always seem shocked when a conscious rapper does some flagrant shit like when Jay Electronica recently talked on stage about a $20,000-dollar bet he had made with Nas about whether or not women like to be choked during sex. But here at Complex, we recognize that all rappers are human beings who are, well, complex. They have flaws, shortcomings, and are sometimes hypocrites.
We thought the best way to illustrate this would be to put together The Conscious Rapper's Hierarchy of Needs. Based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, our pyramid (below) showcases the disparity between the ideals that we hold "conscious rappers" to...and the actual reality.