I think we often confuse the terms Rap and Hip-Hop as one of the same.
Honestly, anyone can be a rapper. All you have to do is create a catchy hook and pronounce- correctly or incorrectly- some lines. Heck even I can rap, not well, but I can say some lines that happen to rhyme or correlate with each other. Hip-hop; however, is not a universal skill. Hip-hop is so much more than spitting a few lines. Hip-hop is a lifestyle, an experience, and a culture. It’s one thing to be a rapper; it’s another to be a hip-hop artist. These two terms have somehow gotten lost in translation in recent years.
The majority of today’s rappers have no idea what true hip-hop is. To be a hip-hop artist you have to have a passion that is greater than cars, bitches, and drugs. Hip-hop artists have to have a story and heart for the music they are conveying; rappers have to have a catchy beat and auto tune. I’m certainly not trying to discredit the life of a rap star. If someone aspires to become a rapper, I say do it! Although, I think the people who chase after the rap lifestyle should know they aren’t going to be taken seriously in the hip-hop community or even in the realm of the performing arts.
Granted, I’m not a hip-hop artist or even a musician, but I am a fan of the once abundant hip-hop culture. There will never be another Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, or Tupac; however, there can be artists that draw inspiration from those musical geniuses’.
I will say hip-hop is not completely dead; we have contemporary musicians like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. My point; however, is that we don’t have enough of these artists! Instead, the so-called hip-hop industry is polluted with auto-tuned and outlandish lyricists.