Fan of hip hop for life? For better or worse, hip hop will always have baby making music. From Tupac to Ja Rule and more recently from Kanye to Drake, 'romance' in hip hop peaks as the summer is underway.
Volume one established the idea that an enduring fan of Hip Hop is committed come hell or more auto-tune. It’s easy to complain about the bad, or to become complacent with the good enough. However, if this metaphorical marriage is going to work out, forgiveness must be given for the mistakes artists make, and fans need to be rewarded with quality product in turn.
ROMANCE & HIP HOP?
Last time, we looked at the topic of beef [G.O.O.D. vs YMCMB], as arguments are an obvious part of any relationship. This week let’s discuss a more upsetting concern, romance. Seeing that summer is just around the corner there is no question that a Hip Hop artist or two will release some baby making music. Many will argue that this is to appease their female fans, but it’s hard to believe the entire male population is annoyed by ballads. After all, it is males delivering these summer jams, many of whom are held in high-esteem by their brethren.
[Tyga's "Make It Nasty"... not really an example of romance in Hip Hop. Oh well.]
Although he wasn’t the originator, LL Cool J was the first man to make a career out of rap romance. His track “I Need Love” remains a classic, but he became too dependent on the style as the years progressed. Thugs took the torch thereafter, and surprised us all with some deep emotional delivery. Method Man made “You’re All I Need to Get By,” and 2-Pac released “Keep Your Head Up.” These mid-nineties love tracks were refreshing. Though their subject matter was sappy, their approach was everything but. That said, the cheese started stinking again at the turn of the 21st century. With the success of Nelly’s “Dilemma,” studio execs started churning out Hip Hop hugs and kisses with factory like precision. Soulless ditties aimed at capitalizing off of the impressionable 106 and Park crowd. Luckily these boy-band-esque antics are now overshadowed by the efforts of more honest artists. Drake is certainly the leader of the new age interpretation of romance, but let us not forget that Kanye, J. Cole, and even Pusha T as of late have found success crooning about cutting.
As long as these songs are crafted with honesty and offer insight therein, they’re certain to spark the interest of more than just women. Why? Because just like the artists who release them, the men that receive them have relationships of their own. And unless you’re with some Pam Grier parody you’re dating life can only handle so much senseless bravado.
[The Dream on the set of his upcoming video for "Dope Bitch"]
On the other hand, if a Ja Rule epidemic ensues again we’ll have no other recourse than to laugh at love. Bejeweled bandanas and topless thuggery are not evidence that a man loves a woman. Feel free to expose such nonsense, because it’s as bad as suburban kids claiming a kill count.
For better or worse...
No, romance is not a cash crop for studios to take advantage of. It is the essential part of every successful relationship, but it needs to be properly balanced and approached with integrity. Here’s to those willing to take the challenge and enjoy the same.
FOR SOME SUMMER LOVE 2012 (Add these to your playlist):
Rick Ross Ft. Usher – Touch N You
The Dream Ft. Pusha T – Dope Bitch
Justin Bieber Ft. Big Sean – As Long As You Love Me
Wiz Khalifa Ft. The Weeknd – Make Me Remember You
Big K.R.I.T. Ft. Anthony Hamilton – Porchlight
And much more before the sun sets…