Rap Artists for People Who Don’t Like Rap

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  • They say, they write, they maybe even believe — here are 6 rap artists for people who don’t like rap. We’re not neck deep in Illuminati YouTube videos with the red writing dripping down MS Paint graphics, but we’re somewhere where the language doesn’t mean what it actually says. It’s code words, you understand?

    Someone comments high up. They say “I was starting to think this was rappers for people who don’t like black people.” Cause you make a list of six artists and two of them are African American, and the rest are white as fresh fallen snow in a genre DEFINED by artists who are black. Those two artists are your protection against the naysayers – the “black friends” you suddenly have in conversations about racism.  And what your list should mean is – “here is a list of rappers who aren’t radio rap” but instead becomes “here’s a list of rappers who aren’t black.”

    “i just think its nice to not hear about being on the grind getting bitches” says the commenter, dropping down their wisdom from on high. As if an entire genre of music was defined by those words, as if that was all that defined the experience of the people who choose to rap. As if “Fuck Tha Police” never screamed out its youthful anthem from the streets of Compton, as if Deltron never rapped about intergalactic war, as if Chance doesn’t spend an entire song talking about how great his grandma is..

    Yeah, tell me all about rap is about bitches and the grind. As if MF Doom didn’t write an entire album about food or if Gil Scott Heron didn’t talk about anti-establishment and getting your butt off the couch to participate in the revolution way back in 1970.

    This was going to be a list where I talked about the talented work of Atmosphere, the moments of Tyler the Creator that positively reek of violent brilliance, the Queenly jams of Lady Leshurr, or the lyrical sexiness of Azealia Banks on 212. But I’m not a hip hop head, and in a world where Macklemore wins a Grammy over Kendrick Lamar (a situation that Macklemore even said was wrong) the last thing this convo needs is another white voice. But maybe it’s time to break down what is so wrong with rap that you need a list of songs for “people who don’t like rap.”

    What is rap to you? Is it T-Pain talking about how he wants to “Buy U a Drank” in autotune (in which case, maybe his Tiny Desk Concert will disavow you of the lack of faith in his musicality). Nicki Minaj talking about her butt, itself interesting because of how it takes back one of the most well known songs about sexualizing women and turns it into a convincing case for empowerment? What sort of rap — radio or otherwise — is it that you’re turning up your nose at? Cause when it comes down to it, it’s not the songs about “on the grind getting bitches” that you’re even hearing anymore. If that’s all you’re hearing from rap, then you’re not even listening.

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    One thought on “Rap Artists for People Who Don’t Like Rap

    1. Mr. T says:

      I’m white and I listen to a lot of rap music. While rap
      music isn’t all about bitches and the grind, a lot of it is, and most mainstream
      rap is. Mainstream rap has become what hair metal was in the 80s-cookie-cutter
      songs about sex, drugs, and partying, a lifestyle that none of its listeners
      enjoy but all would like to have. Even if it isn’t about sex, money and drugs,
      it’s full of profanity in a way that no other music is. Every fourth word out
      of Kendrick’s mouth is either the N word or the B word, and he is one of the
      best rappers around today. I love vince staples, but I can’t listen to that
      around my wife or kid because it is all curse words.

      I have a friend who was trying to listen to more hip-hop, so
      she checked out kendrick’s good kid album. She said she wanted to like it, but
      it was like getting hit in the face over and over again with how much he said
      bitch. And she doesn’t want to hear racial slurs. She stopped trying after
      that.

      I listen to the local hip-hop station, and every song is
      about sex, cars, and drugs. Every fucking one, only with the swears blocked out
      so that it is like watching a porn movie with a black bar over the genitals.

      The alt-rappers everyone got excited about four years ago
      were odd future, who rapped about raping women and called everyone a faggot.

      Even Anderson Paak, the fucking Bruno Mars of hip-hop, has
      lyrics full of bitches and n-bombs. I was rocking Malibu with my kid the other
      day and alla sudden some lady is saying she wants him to fuck the shit out of
      her. There’s another one off rotation.

      I struggle to find rap albums I can listen to with my kid
      that are not rife with profanity or sexism. Even the Native Tongue’s stuff isn’t
      safe. I can get away with Blackalicious, early Tribe, early De La (but not “De
      La Orgy!), Digible Planets. That’s about it, I mean that I wanna listen to. I’ve
      been going with jazz or R&B. Yes, there are rappers who don’t swear, but
      there aren’t many rappers with more than 1,000 plays on Spotify who don’t
      swear.

      Rap has chosen to embrace raw language as some sort of brand
      of realness. Twenty-five years ago it was shocking to hear the n-word in a rap
      song and you had to seek out those records. Nowadays they get played on
      mainstream radio, with the swears blurred out. If hammer was starting out today
      his song would be “Can’t Touch This, Bitch.”

      I know I sound like a pearl clutching old white lady, but it’s
      something that bums me out.

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