(AllHipHop News) “What is real Hip-Hop?” is a question that has been asked since its inception. As the culture continues to expand artistically and geographically some see parts of Hip-Hop’s new direction as a fake interpretation of the true essence while others feel it is an inevitable growth as younger generations take the lead.
Former Fugees member Wyclef Jean seems to be in the latter group.
“[Hip-Hop's] a lifestyle that’s around the entire world,” Wyclef tells the thedrop.fm. “A form of expression through the youth, that at the time, whatever their environment is going through they are going to reflect it in the music.”
In the interview Wyclef also addresses some of the more polarizing forms of recent rap music like Psy’s hit single “Gangnam Style,” Chief Keef’s brand of street rap, and Lil Wayne’s controversial “Emmett Till” line from Future’s “Karate Chop (Remix)”.
[ALSO READ: Family of Emmett Till Sends Prayers to Lil Wayne]
On Gangnam Style:
You have graffiti and dance culture, that you constantly see, like “Gangnam Style,” which you can clearly see is inspired by an MC Hammer video, parts of the culture shares spaces.
On Chief Keef:
I can hear Chief Keef and appreciate him the same way I did N.W.A. when they were coming out and showing you what their area felt like.
On Lil Wayne’s Emmett Till Line:
I think that’s his form of expression. If I said it as Wyclef Jean, I would be wrong because you know what I stand for, everything I stand for I already said… So you can’t dwell on anyone, I can’t have an opinion on that because knowledge of self is key. His opinion is his opinion.
Regarding the Emmitt Till line, Wyclef did go on to say that he would prefer to have a personal conversation with Wayne about the reference rather than speaking through the press.
He did publicly praise the work of one young emcee that has also been making a lot of headlines over the last few months.
“I love Hip-Hop when I hear the innovation of Kendrick Lamar, where you can hear a CD from beginning to end,” admitted Wyclef.
Clef recently paid homage to Hip-Hop’s Golden Era artists and shouted out members of the culture’s new school on his track “Hip Hop.” On the song Wyclef talks about the connection between rap’s past and present.
Wyclef is set to release his new mixtape April Showers later this spring.
Listen to Wyclef Jean’s song “Hip Hop” below.