Montreality recently shared their interview with Hip Hop legend, Rakim. In the interview, a couple things that the OG said really stuck out to me.
– On his new album: “It’s one of those albums where I can have fun. My last album was more conscious.”
– On Kendrick Lamar: “He’s not just doing what’s hot for today. He ain’t scared to make a statement. He’s nice man!”
This statement, however, hit my ear drums the hardest: “I came from the old school where underground was successful Hip Hop at that time. And now, it’s a bigger market.”
Yes, Hip Hop’s environment back in the day was generally more accepting and supportive of its underground artists. I believe the industry didn’t quite know what to do with Hip Hop at the time. Therefore, there was more room to appreciate the underground without the major labels and publications trying to force feed you their version of Hip Hop.
While I agree that it is a much bigger market today, there are more strings attached now that Hip Hop is a business. And in that transition into being a cash cow for culture vultures, Hip Hop, ironically, lost its culture along the way. The gap between underground and mainstream has sort of become this black hole. The only way to see the light at the end of it is if you conform.
But Hip Hop was never about conforming. And that’s what big label executives and major media outlets lost sight of. But anyways, enough of my ranting, watch the full interview below: