Complex: Will You '90s Babies Shut Up and Admit Rap Was 100 Times Better in the '90s?

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    We preferred quality over quantity



    Blame the internet; the world wide web created an audience thirsty for free content. Listening to music was an investment, and if you wanted your money's worth, you were going to spend some time with it, too. As a result, for listeners, consistency was important; and as an artist, the ability to create a consistent project of the best possible material was important, too. Sometime in the late 2000s, though, the floodgates opened; by 2009, everyone was releasing free artist mixtapes, and they were no longer freestyles over industry instrumentals, but any and everything an artist recorded. The non-stop drip to blogs and livemixtapes.com meant quality control went out the window; the most important thing was generating as many headlines as possible, keeping an artist's name on websites so they'd buy the album when it dropped in Nevruary. And suddenly it was a race to the bottom, as every demo, half-hearted song and underwritten punchline made its way into one .zip file or another. Only the most talented rappers learned to adapt to the changing environment; many just killed quality control altogether.
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    Regional styles developed independently and weren't treated like trends



    Regional stars still exist. But rap's provincianalism back in the '80s and '90s meant that distinct differences, production styles and dialects developed independently. Artists, reliant on hand-to-hand promotion, performances and word-of-mouth success, built their careers appealing to local audiences—and that meant that their sounds were driven by the communities they came from. While this kind of regional success still occurs, individual regional sounds are rarer than ever. First, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and resulting radio consolidation made for narrower radio playlists. Then the Internet came along, and the remaining below-the-radar scenes were blown up nationally; artists now connected with an online fanbase immediately. This new, post-regional rap treated retro-regional sounds as raw material to be reappropriated. The feedback loop between a regional fanbase and the artist, with a few extreme exceptions, was broken.
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    To be cool as a successful hip hop artist you had to make pop come to you, not the other way around.



    "It might blow up, but it won't go pop" was De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate mantra, and it was a wider statement of confidence in hip-hop's ability to make the mainstream see its vision for the future. Hip-hop built it, and they came. R&B swiped hip-hop's breakbeats and attitude, then its language and slang; soon rap guest spots were di rigeur. The Chronic redefined pop music, and what could make a hit. Then, by the late 1990s and early 2000s, the genre's mainstream had become the pop mainstream. Rappers from across the country were the mainstream stars, and the country's dominant sound was hip-hop; clubs didn't play anything else. Top 40 radio consisted of hip-hop, and R&B/teenpop influenced by hip-hop producers.

    Today, hip-hop artists rarely touch the charts without a Drake hook or a house beat. Even Wiz Khalifa's biggest singles relied heavily on European pop producers Stargate. Pop music's sound shifted towards dance in the mid-2000s, and rappers could either embrace it (like will.i.am and Flo Rida), try to divide their styles between the two genres (like Nicki Minaj's schizophrenic Roman's Revenge) or marginalize themselves from pop altogether. Hip-hop is no longer the vanguard; it blew up, and popped.
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    Rap didn't give a fuck about a goddamn Grammy



    Nowadays you're likely to see rappers grinning and holding Grammy awards like they're holy artifacts (holy artifacts that you can drink D'ussé out of, sure, but still). But why? The rap awards still aren't presented during the main ceremony, which rarely yields performances of the nominated songs. The Grammys are still as fundamentally wrong as they've ever been about rap, and yet, they're cared-about and touted as achievements. Rappers didn't always used to care about Grammys. Hell, even Will Smith—not exactly known as the most hard-edged figure in hip-hop—protested the award ceremony. Rappers didn't always want Grammys, or give a shit about winning one, either. And until the Grammys treat rap with the respect it deserves, they still shouldn't (and even then, it's up for question).
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    New Yorkers could still be snobby about New York rap



    Regional rap is finally getting its due, Atlanta has taken over as the central engine of hip-hop, and New York has slipped into a supporting historic role. But it's not hard to remember a time when New York ran shit, and it was fucking cool. New York didn't just lay the groundwork; every single rapper across the country who decided to get behind a mic was inspired by a New York talent, whether it was Big Daddy Kane's laid-back delivery, Slick Rick's flossing or Run DMC's Raising Hell tour that sparked their interest. The plethora of styles that spread throughout the country were initially inspired by New York. You could find more variety in five boroughs than across the entire nation; there was no East-West beef, it was the Queens vs. the Bronx. And the city's identity and birthplace weren't tied to any one style; it was a city of true diversity. Any rapper that came up was indebted to New York, and everybody knew it.
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    Not everybody rapped



    In 2013, everybody and their grandma raps. Seriously, rapping grannies are all over YouTube. For every age, shape, size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, educational background, and profession, there's somebody on a mic representing that. Inclusion, and using rap to express different POVs, should be a good thing, but the ubiquity of rap does have its downsides.

    The element of surprise is lost. That first time you heard somebody who didn't fit your image of what a rapper looked or sounded like, it was mind-blowing and opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Now, if an 85-year-old bi-sexual albino midget from Papua New Guinea started kicking a verse, split open to reveal an alien, and that extraterrestrial kept right on rapping without skipping a beat, we'd shrug our shoulders. Meh. Saw that at Coachella five years ago, my dude.

    Worse though, is that, with everybody rapping and able to record themselves and broadcast it on the Internet, there's zero quality control, nobody to make people think twice. A sea of wackness has watered down rap, and it only adds to our acceptance of horrible rap. Don't believe? Revisit the aforementioned rapping granny. Maybe we don't need to hear about how old folks get crunk
  • cobblandcobbland Posts: 3,429
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    Figuring out the meaning to lyrics was a personal process of decoding and discovery.



    You know what one of the great thrills of listening to rap is? Decoding it. Picking it apart, bar by bar, going deeper and deeper into a record. Taking the entire sound in, and savoring the work that was put into creating it. It yielded an appreciation for the artistry put into lyricism, an appreciation that's been diluted if not completely endangered via the immediate gratification of lyrics websites (which have also made everyone and their mom a Rap Genius, pun fully intended). Smart rap fans worked to enjoy their rap. Now, you don't have to work for shit: Just Google it. And that will, in the long run, make rap fans stupider. And we get the rap we deserve. In other words: If you think Tumblr Rap is bad now, wait until it has its own Grammy category. And then enjoy Googling its lyrics.

    SMH.

    It's funny they mention this, when they've continued to shit on Canibus for putting too much time into making songs with lyrics that have to be decoded, or for using too many "dictionary words."

    So which one is it?


    They can't complain about how fucked up things are now, if you spend a large amount of time promoting bullshit over things they clearly know is better.
    RIOTSOUND.COM: You are often praised for the technical strength and lyrical dexterity of your rhymes; how did you build your style from the time you first started rhyming and who were some of the MCs that you admired that inspired you to pursue this craft?

    CANIBUS: Rhetorically speaking, that sort of goes back to what I was saying about the ideology of rap music in the '80's. It was a mode of communication that you could learn from. Artists would sit down and write about their beliefs and they'd be technical about it. Artists like Rakim, for example. Big Daddy Kane, he'd use language that you didn't use in school and you didn't know it. But by hearing him say it then you'd go to school and you'd try to find out what he was talking about. Artist like The Gza, Killah Priest, Ras Kass, we all came us listening to relatively the same type of music and trying to emulate that in our own way. We wanted to be prophets, if you will, of an unexplored science.

    http://www.riotsound.com/hip-hop/rap/interviews/canibus/index.php
  • andre_1024andre_1024 Posts: 2,335

    Name em

    Kendrick: GKMC
    Killer Mike & El-P: RAP Music
    Ab-Soul: Control System

    Not sayin they're the 3 best albums ever made, but they're masterpieces imo..
  • cobblandcobbland Posts: 3,429
    Is complex a white man owned magazine I need to know ?

    Marc Ecko started and still owns it.

    marc_ecko--300x300.jpg

    Rich Antoniello is the CEO.

    Antonello.jpg

    http://paidcontent.org/2009/12/04/419-marc-eckos-complex-media-adds-12-8-million-in-funding/
  • NoCompetitionNoCompetition Posts: 2,384
    edited February 2013
    This again? People say stuff like "music was better in the 70's" or whatever. Thats just how some people are. Nobody cares when people talk about "back in the day". And complex gets quoted a lot on here. Nobody cares what they say either. However i understand this is a good topic for a thread. Ive never heard somebody say "rap was better in the 90s" in real life. And i love some 90s rap. But everybody i know got plenty songs from the 2000s they like too including me. Some of yall are just obviously frustrated in life.
  • DNB1DNB1 Posts: 10,900
    Nah Son wrote: »
    Will those nerdy ass Complex faggots shut the hell up with their smartass articles and weirdo lists

    They are right on this though

    Lmao..
  • DNB1DNB1 Posts: 10,900
    kittypryde_468509_481459.jpg











    Not everybody rapped



    In 2013, everybody and their grandma raps. Seriously, rapping grannies are all over YouTube. For every age, shape, size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, educational background, and profession, there's somebody on a mic representing that. Inclusion, and using rap to express different POVs, should be a good thing, but the ubiquity of rap does have its downsides.

    The element of surprise is lost. That first time you heard somebody who didn't fit your image of what a rapper looked or sounded like, it was mind-blowing and opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Now, if an 85-year-old bi-sexual albino midget from Papua New Guinea started kicking a verse, split open to reveal an alien, and that extraterrestrial kept right on rapping without skipping a beat, we'd shrug our shoulders. Meh. Saw that at Coachella five years ago, my dude.

    Worse though, is that, with everybody rapping and able to record themselves and broadcast it on the Internet, there's zero quality control, nobody to make people think twice. A sea of wackness has watered down rap, and it only adds to our acceptance of horrible rap. Don't believe? Revisit the aforementioned rapping granny. Maybe we don't need to hear about how old folks get crunk

    Aye bruh, I goated all yo posts...but you starting to sound like a disgruntled 90s rapper out here man...

    Lol...ol Sean Price ass nigga...
  • DNB1 wrote: »
    kittypryde_468509_481459.jpg











    Not everybody rapped



    In 2013, everybody and their grandma raps. Seriously, rapping grannies are all over YouTube. For every age, shape, size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, educational background, and profession, there's somebody on a mic representing that. Inclusion, and using rap to express different POVs, should be a good thing, but the ubiquity of rap does have its downsides.

    The element of surprise is lost. That first time you heard somebody who didn't fit your image of what a rapper looked or sounded like, it was mind-blowing and opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Now, if an 85-year-old bi-sexual albino midget from Papua New Guinea started kicking a verse, split open to reveal an alien, and that extraterrestrial kept right on rapping without skipping a beat, we'd shrug our shoulders. Meh. Saw that at Coachella five years ago, my dude.

    Worse though, is that, with everybody rapping and able to record themselves and broadcast it on the Internet, there's zero quality control, nobody to make people think twice. A sea of wackness has watered down rap, and it only adds to our acceptance of horrible rap. Don't believe? Revisit the aforementioned rapping granny. Maybe we don't need to hear about how old folks get crunk

    Aye bruh, I goated all yo posts...but you starting to sound like a disgruntled 90s rapper out here man...

    Lol...ol Sean Price ass nigga...

    thanks, I'm stuck in the 90's yo
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Posts: 40,732
    edited February 2013
    cosign...

    you young niggas man... it aint that we shitting on you... we pitying you... it's easy to see why we pity you when you aren't reliant on some type irradiated communications device, 24/7...

    to see yall act like sheep... shit is sad yo...
    and the fucked up part about it, is yall will say that im outta touch with reality....

    while doing your best to simulate augmented reality and deus ex machina...

    you niggas aint transformers... yall go-bots...
  • Monizzle14Monizzle14 Posts: 10,312
    This debate is a 2 way street tho

    "man these 90's baby's fucking up hip hop now"

    no most wack niggas are in their 20's and 30's and were 80's babies the execs are def not 90's babies they are controlling whats on the radio and what drops

    "man fuck the current fasion of hip hop"

    don't act like some of the 90's and 80's was just as crazy and skinny jeaned as the current shit. And shit niggas wearing baggy jeans had them hanging from their knees that shit wack son lol.

    "insert comment about every hot rapper in the 90's being dope"

    false there were gimmick rappers and wack rappers in the 90's as well especally one hit wonder ass niggas

    "man the current white people fucking up hip hop"

    white people were fucking with hip hop since the 80's and many of these groupie ass niggas of wack rappers are black and have no sense of the soulful history of black musicians
  • JokerKingJokerKing Posts: 21,057
    andre_1024 wrote: »

    Name em

    Kendrick: GKMC
    Killer Mike & El-P: RAP Music
    Ab-Soul: Control System

    Not sayin they're the 3 best albums ever made, but they're masterpieces imo..

    I'll give you 2 out of 3
  • MrWiseMrWise Posts: 1,203
    record_store_481459.jpg


    We went to music stores to get music.



    Tapes rocked 'til tapes popped. CDs scratched and skipped. Richer sounding vinyl required constant attention or it warped like neglected children. And for all these headaches, a tangible music collection could also have your spot looking like an episode of Hoarders. Still, as these technologies went the way of the woolly mammoth, hip-hop lost something important: the music store.

    Every community needs a place to gather, share information, and debate. Until the digital revolution, famed shops like Manhattan's Fat Beats, Brooklyn's Beat Street Records, L.A.'s VIP Records, and lesser-known but equally important local fixtures were musical Meccas where rap heads made weekly pilgrimages to cop new releases (when "first" actually meant something), be put up on artists, watch in-store performances, hop in freestyle ciphers, and kick it with people who shared their passion for boom-bap.

    The Internet provides the simulacrum of the record shop experience now with social networks and music databases, but connecting (in the loosest sense of the word) to 100 million people in isolation via "likes," RTs, comments sections, and tag-driven links to other artist pages pales in comparison to looking someone in the eye and giving them a pound. Not to mention, it might get you catfished

    I do miss hitting the spots with my Uncle to pick up vinyls. Boldest describes my room now from the records & Turntables & speakers he got me growing up. Started buying my own online recently tho. Right now I got about 6 Crates of Heat loll

    2e233sw.jpg

    Born in 91 btw, So for the most part I dont agree with Complex. Although the game has changed I rarely hear its better now from Anyone. Maybe 2000 babies loll
  • CoolJoeCoolJoe Posts: 5,994
    as a 90s baby, I have yet to hear my peers say today's music is better than what dropped in the 90s

    but there's something to be said about enjoying what we have now, bcuz good music is still out there, than bitch about how it used to be

    Could have just locked the thread after this.
    90's babies believe rap music was better back then, niggas just want the younger generation to condemn damn near every artist that comes out these days.

    But I guess I respect the author for arguing a point that everyone would agree with................
  • KalecrunchKalecrunch Posts: 1,564
    I notice current rap media doesn'y pay homage to the past era. Like the 90'S Hip Hop media. Rap City did OldSkool Wendesdays. Djs had old skool sets with 80s rappets and the Source named Rakim as the GOAT MC even though he wasnt active. The phrase "relevency" wasnt in existence.
  • Black_SamsonBlack_Samson Posts: 40,732
    Monizzle14 wrote: »
    cosign...

    you young niggas man... it aint that we shitting on you... we pitying you... it's easy to see why we pity you when you aren't reliant on some type irradiated communications device, 24/7...

    to see yall act like sheep... shit is sad yo...
    and the fucked up part about it, is yall will say that im outta touch with reality....

    while doing your best to simulate augmented reality and deus ex machina...

    you niggas aint transformers... yall go-bots...

    but don't act like adults aint getting fucked over by technology as well tho. shit is sad that grown as men and women just as crazy about being glued to their i phone or i pad every hour of the day. I be at church and grown ass adults be having their i pads to read scripture and shit is that really nessicary?

    and part of the reason many of these kids is messed up is because 80's babies and 70's babies don't wanna raise their god damn kids they want the tv too. Father is being bitch niggas and abandoning thier kids. The reason im the 22 year old person i am today is cause i had a father and mom who raised me right. Most of these kids outchea don't have parents that actually raised them or their parents couldn't do their god damn job. like i said in my last post this shit is a 2 way street.

    i can dig it...

    not bad. not bad at all..
  • A1000MILESA1000MILES Posts: 13,295
    The idea that all music back then was better is just not true though...I love shit from the 90s, but thats a blanket statement...Was there more passion?...More raw storytelling?...More unpolished creative flavor?...Sure...Sometimes.

    But older niggas need to stop actin like all the songs/traditions they grew up on were good and better than anything out now...There's a lotta things about the production and writing in rap today that show evolution and should be appreciated.

    Aaaaand...Y'all niggas parents/older relatives hated yo fuck ass music just like you hate ours.
  • Monizzle14Monizzle14 Posts: 10,312
    Monizzle14 wrote: »
    cosign...

    you young niggas man... it aint that we shitting on you... we pitying you... it's easy to see why we pity you when you aren't reliant on some type irradiated communications device, 24/7...

    to see yall act like sheep... shit is sad yo...
    and the fucked up part about it, is yall will say that im outta touch with reality....

    while doing your best to simulate augmented reality and deus ex machina...

    you niggas aint transformers... yall go-bots...

    but don't act like adults aint getting fucked over by technology as well tho. shit is sad that grown as men and women just as crazy about being glued to their i phone or i pad every hour of the day. I be at church and grown ass adults be having their i pads to read scripture and shit is that really nessicary?

    and part of the reason many of these kids is messed up is because 80's babies and 70's babies don't wanna raise their god damn kids they want the tv too. Father is being bitch niggas and abandoning thier kids. The reason im the 22 year old person i am today is cause i had a father and mom who raised me right. Most of these kids outchea don't have parents that actually raised them or their parents couldn't do their god damn job. like i said in my last post this shit is a 2 way street.

    i can dig it...

    not bad. not bad at all..

    But i do get where your comin from because kids my age (born in the 90's) also do at times have it allot easier even when they poor

    my fam moved me out the hood when i was little but i still go to church in the hood and know niggas who living in low income housing got better shit than me. They be having dope direct tv packages and the latest jordans and i phones but they be talking bout how its rough being black in the hood...the fuck? I know there is real struggle still but cot damn how you have all that but claimin you broke.

    Likewise you got so many grandparents raising these children when the mother of the child outchea clubbing and actin wild. And honestly when these bitches get pregnant 2 and 3 times in 3 years sometimes im not shocked cause shit since they had a baby their parents been giving them more guap to raise the kid and pretty much 24 hour baby sitters. Im sorry but if i have a son or daughter im not gon be goin to the club every weekend and dropping them off at grandmas and shit.

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