“Rap stopped being rap after Rakim. Everything else was kinda like downhill.”
There was a day in time before everybody was dancing and riding with the South when New York was known as the stomping grounds for Hip-Hop music. Much has changed since then as the energy has shifted towards pop infused rap records and it feels as though some New York rap has been forced to conform instead of standing apart from the pack.
Melle Mel can be remembered, above all else, as the first rapper to refer to himself as an MC. In making such a grand statement, it would only make sense that he would weigh in on his breeding grounds of New York, known as the Mecca, as well as the revolving change of a craft he helped to catapult.
During an radio interview, the member of the Furious Five sounded off on how New York has started to fall so far from where it once was.
“Cats just stopped really New York rappin', being the real rapper's rapper cat, and started doing the East Coast version of West Coast s*&t.”
With the heavy absence of estrogen with the Hip-Hop loop, Mel expressed his feelings that women never really took advantage of the fact that they were women when they went into the studio, outside of Queen Latifah. Aside from sex-driven lyrics, there hasn't been too much that has been able to make a woman proud of the fact that she is just that.
Being questioned about the likes of Lil Kim, whose explicit lyrics have been known to raise many eyebrows, the former rapper said that it was only a catalyst to help in the empowerment of negative perceptions towards women.
“That's not lady-like. Let a woman rap about having kids or say something that all women can relate to. All women can't relate to sticking a fu#*in soda can in their mouth and all that ole weird s**t. That transformed women and how men relate to women and women relating themselves into something else.”
So many have stated that male rappers treat women like hoes, but when the female rappers are giving lewd and provocative lyrics that makes it seem as though they are only fascinated in sex, what else is there to think? Responsibility must be given to all and the finger should not just be pointed to a genre that happens to be dominated by males.
Aside from painting illegitimate images of women, the craft has found a way to break down the community from the inside. There is a feeling that the only way that Black America can be destroyed is through an implosion and violence has only made that come at a quicker pace.
“The main problem with Hip-Hop is that it took Black people away from ourselves. We ain't even who we used to be anymore…We chasin' money. Ni**as wanna get designer s$&t, like wearing $1,000 worth of sh**, and they look like they wanna rob a liquor store. They wear Timberlands and you not gonna climb a mountain. It took us out of ourselves.”
The fact that pimps and drug dealers are being idolized is a problem. The fact that everyone strives to be a rapper or respects those coming out of a prison system and tries to disrespect a young Black man that decides to go to college is an even greater issue.
Hip-Hop, we have to take responsibility. Black America we have to take a long look in the mirror and realize whose fault certain things might be.