Editor’s note: The
views expressed inside this editorial aren’t necessarily the views of
AllHipHop.com or its employees. What would Waka Flocka Flame be doing if he wasnt
rapping? A couple of weeks ago,
the southern bred MC and Gucci Mane cohort acknowledged that he wasnt lyrical
nor was he into lyrics and all hell broke loose. It was as if the young man had desecrated religion or even
Hes not into lyrics, and obviously his motivation in the
rap game isnt to go down in history as anyones top five, dead or alive. It appears that his motivation is the
same as so many of todays artists, and thats to get paid.
Over the years, weve seen rap evolve. Therefore, with the evolution of rap,
Im sure many would concur, that the participants motivation changed as
well. Initially, MCs just wanted
to move the crowd and thats what they did, upon the inception of the art
form. During the eighties,
arguably we witnessed the most diversification and transitional stages in
rappers, which could probably be credited for laying the benchmark for rappers,
for many years to follow. We had
the likes of Darryl and Joe whose swag was impeccable to none, the knowledge
administered by the eighteenth letter, the consciousness of Public Enemy number
one and the fuck the police mentality ushered in easily by niggers with
attitudes, just to name a few. All
different groups and styles existed with one motivation, to tell a story,
educate, inform and through it all, we were entertained.
Then came the nineties when it was imperative to be lyrical;
and the complexities of rappers rhymes made their stories even more brazing and
sinister than what they really were.
Their words were deep, and the way they were spoken, made people rewind
and listen again. Did you hear
what he just said? Many of us
remember making that statement at some point in time in regards to hip hop
music, two decades prior to our present.
Im certain that many of you also recall hearing rappers in interviews
say that they wrote music with the intent of making the listening audience say,
as we pressed rewind, Did you hear what he just said? A statement as such only existed
because their motivation was different.
Many of the early ninety artists were still challenging the presence or
the ghost of those who had paved the way for them to even exist. During that time, Nas was the sire and
blueprint, epitomizing the standard of the art; for Christ sake we all remember
who he was compared to, the eighteenth letter, the God MC. How did he write his rhymes? Probably with a dictionary and
thesaurus close by, and after reading countless material on subject matter such
as politics, religion, economics, history, theatre and the arts, authored by individuals
like Niccolo Machiavelli, William Shakespeare, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,
Prophet Noble Drew Ali, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Malcolm X, George Jackson,
Huey Newton, and Bobby Seal, just to name ten of thousands. Artists of the nineties understood the
story telling component and how to move the crowd, but seemed to thrive on
being part of the argument of whos the best rapper?
Much transpired in the previous decades in hip hop before we
started concerning ourselves with gold and platinum plaques or the amount of
money artists earned for selling their art or brand. Though Puffy and them had everybody throwing their Rollies
in the sky or wishing they could, honestly, it was them boys from the bottom
of the map that changed the motivation in the game in one swoop.
Though hell never be mentioned on any lyricist top five lists,
Percy Miller, masterminded the game and blatantly and unabashedly announced the
new reason and motivation that rappers should be in the game. That No Limit soldier got filthy rich,
quickly, without spitting any complex lyrics; but contrarily for spitting
simplistic lyrics over hard knocking beats and more importantly by understanding
the business that he was partaking in.
True, Puffy, Jay and some others got money to, but I dont believe that
monetary reasons were their initial motives. Initially, classic material seemed to be the driving force,
then they started making a lot of money and the dollar became the motivation.
The difference between many of the artists from the nineties
era who still exist and put out music, in comparison to those who followed
them, Im certain, is the fact that they remember another reason for wanting to
emcee other than to get rich.
Since the new millennium, there have been some acts that
have been able to enter the game with lyrical ability and capitalize on the
business aspect as well. However,
many new acts also realized that rap is a means to an end, a good one; I might
add, if youre somewhat successful with your hustle like a Waka Flocka Flame or
Gucci Mane. Consider this, Waka Flocka
hasnt dropped an album independently or on a major and he gets over $15,000.00
a night to perform, already. Last
year, Gucci Mane dropped his first major release album and prior to that was
already commanding over $30,000 a night to perform. No, theyre not selling out arenas, but theyre performing
at clubs around the country, consistently, on a regular basis and they are
booked throughout the week.
What would Waka Flocka be doing if he wasnt rapping? Hell, I could ask the same question for
many other emcees that may not be deemed the most lyrical and oftentimes rap
about the same content. With that
being said, you could probably ask the same of the quote unquote lyrical
rappers as well. Now, who am I to
say exactly what they would be doing if they werent rapping, but would it be
completely false of me to assume that they would not be legitimately making the
kind of money that they currently earn?
Most of us come from the same type of environment, faced the
same obstacles and had the same dreams.
We all wanted to escape the societal ills inflicted upon us. We were either going to get rich or
die trying. Biggie said that it
would either take us selling crack rock or having a wicked jump shot. Either way, we wanted out. The early stages of hip hop allowed us
to express those suppressed emotions, we shortly found reward through our
expression, and then our motivation to express changed, but still with the same
underlying resolve. Most young
boys from our community dont have a bar mitzvah to indicate that theyre
men. There is no ceremony, instead,
whats the first thing youre reminded as a boy proclaiming to be grown? The first time your mother hear you
say, Im grown she immediately reminds you that youre not grown until you
can fend for yourself by paying bills, such as rent, gas and electric, buy your
own clothes and food. If you watch
one of the most recent videos of Waka Flocka uploaded on different hip hop
sites, youll hear him make a comment about his house which he states is
bigger than your mommas.
Im not mad at Waka or any of the other artists for not
being lyrical because I know their motivation to rap isnt the same as those
individuals who are commonly revered as being great emcees. Again, todays rap is a means to an
end. For many, its just a
hustle. And if there was another legitimate
hustle, which allowed the return to be just as profitable for time invested,
Im certain that theyd pursue that.
As perplexing as it is, truth be told, Id guess that Id
rather see them making an honest living rapping about the trap in simplicity,
than to try to make a living trapping.