Some hip-hop has a message, but sometimes the music is just for fun. Our cast discusses the importance of both in the early days of rap. Then they let us in on their concerns over the drug messages in today’s hip-hop. As part of Complex’s Get Money initiative, the eight-part series Rules to This Sh*t covers the trials and tribulations of embarking on a rap career, with words of wisdom from Common, N.O.R.E., Too Short, the late Nipsey Hussle, and more.
In the fourth installment of Rules to This Sh*t, the focus is on the subject matter of rap and the diversity of sounds. Whether it’s labeled “conscious rap” or “party music,” there’s room for all sorts in hip-hop. “There’s always been conscious rap, there’s always been gangsta rap,” explained producer and rapper D-Dot.
“I feel hip-hop is so diverse, the sub-categories they’re like different universes and shit,” added Too Short. “We should figure out how many categories of rap are there, really? And then we should start judging it like that. Stop trying to compare a 2017 rapper to a 1987 and trying to put them side-by-side. We keep doing this shit in music and sports and shit. We could sit here all day and argue Michael Jordan-LeBron James, [but] we’re never gonna see motherfuckers on the same court. So you never gonna get to see Run-DMC in his prime on stage with 2 Chainz in his prime, it’s not gonna happen it’s two different eras.”
The episode also dives into the topic of drug usage, and how it’s more widely accepted to rap about taking drugs on record now.
“I think that’s the biggest monkey wrench that’s got thrown into the culture,” said the late Nipsey Hussle. “Hip-hop never embraced doing drugs. Weed was accepted, outside of that it was like, nah that’s not what hip-hop embracing. Even the lean and all of that, there’s consequences.”
Watch the fourth episode of Rules to This Sh*t above.