The problem with “real” rap music is nobody knows what real is. Ask any fan to name some rappers who make real hip-hop and what you’ll get is a list of their favourite artists – Nas, Kendrick, NWA, 2Pac.
People who visit this site know that hip-hop isn’t just Lil Wayne, Drake or 2 Chainz, nor is it just Immortal Technique, XV or KRS-One. Hip-hop has space for all of these artists and their contrasting styles, but the medias unrealistic representation of the culture, and the hip-hop heads’ rejection of anything popular has lead to a standoff between the mainstream and the ‘underground’.
Hip-hop is the sum of its wealthily diverse parts. Nobody who is realistic about raps position and role in society expects or even wants socially conscious rap to dominate in the way that so called bubblegum rap has for so many years, we just want the coverage to represent the impressive diversity of the genre.
“We ought to recognize that there are all sorts of rap music, that not all of rap can do what some of it can do, and that the best rap is the rap that sticks to what it does best.” Michael Eric Dyson
The label of “real” hip-hop is dangerous because it is divisive. It creates an us against them mentality that clouds peoples judgement in the same way that being aligned with a political party can. People fear that listening to Samn Damn Time or anything by Lil Wayne may lead to their hip hop head membership being revoked. In the mad hustle to be different rap snobs have created a new hipster-ism that threatens to drive the music they love even deeper underground.
Maybe that’s not a bad thing. At least then they won’t have to worry about turning on their favourite rapper once they start getting radio play.