“You are now witnessing the devolution of rap music,” one of the now-deleted tweets read. “The death of poetry and smoothness, they use this. The absence of a message. The inability to create meaningful change through words and verses, but the worse is, they don’t even know they hurt this artful purpose, it’s tragic.”
Though some fans applauded the analysis and criticism, Rakim recently told TMZ he had nothing to do with the tweets; however, he did share some thoughts on the evolution of the genre and how it's littered with artists who are “degrading the culture.”
“Hip-hop has taken a lot of different routes throughout the years, man. I’ve been around since 1986. I’ve seen hip-hop go through a lot; at this point, I just want to see it prosper,” he said at around the 2:28 mark in the clip above. “At this point there is different forms of hip-hop. My thing is, you have to let young artists be young artists. I was once a young artist. It’s just to make sure the people understand the difference between hip-hop and rap. I have no problem with rap, but I’m from more of the lyricist school. But, you know, to each his own, man. The young kids out there doing their thing, I can’t knock them. Like I said, they’re keeping it alive right now.”
The 50-year-old rapper went on to talk about his era of rap and how certain artists have made the genre increasingly shallow; however, Rakim refused to say any names.
“Without no disrespect to any artist, there’s a lot of degrading music out there, as far as degrading the culture and degrading society, as well,” he said at 5:05. “That’s individuals that choose to make that kind of music. As the listeners, I think that they should be a little more opinionated on what they’re listening to and what they like, and a little more opinionated on what they’re hearing. I think that will help not only what’s out there, but the artists make conscious decision to make music with a little more substance.”
You can check out the full video above.