Rap began speaking out on the true struggles of everyday life. It had a purpose in music and that was to open the eyes of its listeners and start a movement. Rap was a form of art that would paint images in the listeners mind using witty rhymes backed with fast paced beats. With the emergence of rap came a new untapped market for big corporations to make profit off. This changed the entire meaning of rap. While rap showed pictures of poverty and the urban life, it was showing it in a negative way trying to show the struggle of the urban community. This changed as rap began to become more mainstream. As the record labels obtained more power the rap artist themselves lost their power, which was creativity.In order for rap artists to get signed they had to start rapping about being a “gangsta” and violence. This took away all the creativity that made rap popular in the first place. Now it was not about politics, the poor, and change; it was about sex, money, and violence.
The era of just sex, violence, and money was the era of rap music I started to listen to and it was all I knew. While Eminem did rap about other things like politics and stuff at the time I was too young to understand it and his raps were very violent. I grew up listening to 50 Cent, Nelly, and so on where every lyric and video had degraded women or guns. Everyone’s music and music videos all looked alike with nothing, but meaningless lyrics. The rappers at this time seemed more like actors than they did musicians. They had this image of hyperviolent manhood that they had to portray at all times. While this seemed like the downfall of rap music from a creative standpoint the internet came in to change this, which is where we are today.
With the internet being the main source of music today, things are beginning to change. While it is a negative that people are not buying full albums anymore and now the labels want to just push out singles; the positive is that a rapper can survive with out a record label. Artists are now getting more fame through the internet before they are even signed and it is giving them more power when it comes to the chess game with the record label.
New artists that are doing this are J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. While rap is not completely changing, artist like these are starting to get more fame without having to change what they are rapping about. People are now uniting and stepping up to make rap with meaning more successful again. J.Cole sold 200,000 copies the first without having a number one single. When I went to Target and Best Buy to buy his album the employees told me they were shocked and that they were not ready for this. They were expecting him to sell around the 60,000 range. This was only made possible by the loyal fans that supported him and went to buy his album to show the record labels that the people do want to listen to more meaningful music.