Mumble Rap – The Death of Real Lyrics
Condition of Hip Hop
When hip hop started it was as much a social movement as it was a musical revolution. People
living in urban areas finally had a voice. There were artists rapping about the truth of their
existence and America finally started to listen. Mumble rap has taken the art of the lyric, as well
as the voice of the MC, and has turned it into something else entirely. Many in the industry
have taken issue with mumble rap claiming that it damages the reputation the pioneers of the
genre worked for many years to build.
Then and Now
The hip hop revolution started in the late 1970’s. Since then, pillars of the hip hop community
have fought tooth and nail to create the art they want. This included saying the things they want
to say. Hip hop masters had one thing in common, they were expert lyricists. These masters started
the genre and spent a lot of time fighting for the right to tell their truth. The new artists on the
scene sound a little bit like they are trying to talk at the dinner table with their mouths full.
Instead of continuing the tradition of using their voices to tell their truth, they have taken a new
direction and there are a lot of people with exceptions to this new type of lyricism.
In 1990 Ice-T released the song “Cop Killer” on the metal band Body Counts album, “Body
Count.” There was such an uproar that it seemed the entire country was pushing back. The
song was intended to highlight the abuse that people in the inner city and people of color were
dealt at the hands of the police. Ice-T called it a protest song. Indeed, even President George
Bush spoke out against the song.
In the mid to late 1980’s a group of ladies that were married to men in government decided to
try to include parental warnings on music deemed explicit. A lot of artists pushed back against
the regulations and hip hop artists led the pack. They passed the measure, though, and today
one can still find warnings on albums deemed explicit.
Hip hop artists continued the fight and pushed to be heard. Their voices rising together to
demand that others listen. This was a time before the internet and music was vital to spreading
a message. Hip hop was the vehicle for the movement. People all over the country started to
learn that the rumors were true. They learned that people of color in urban areas have a story
to tell and it was vital that they were heard.
Mumble Rap Damage
Through the influence of hip hop and its subject matter, many people found out for the first time
that everything they had heard about the inner cities was true. This was vital in the movement
towards equality. Hip hop artists gave voice to the voiceless and now with the advent of
mumble rap, people are growing concerned that this will deal real damage to the movement as
Simple Beats vs. Trap Beats
In the beginning, hip hop beats were created using records and the breaks on those records.
This limited the artists as to what they could do musically. This meant that in the beginning, hip
hop was born using simple beats with the focus on the lyrics and the message.
Equality has not been achieved, and the struggle continues. Those that should be yelling the
loudest are the hip hop artists. However, now they are mumbling. These artists have taken trap
beats, which are busy and computer generated, and they throw down some vocals. It seems now
though, that more time is spent creating trap beats and rap beats. The beats are catchy, but
they are also taking the place of the lyrics and the artist’s truth is getting lost in the confusion.
Changing the Culture
Of course the genre will evolve. It would die if it didn’t change. However, this most recent
iteration of the genre has a lot of people worried. Instead of evolving and using technology to
boost their potential, technology is used to create beats that seem designed with no room for
anything else, including lyrics.It seems that trap beats have replaced the message. It seems as though the words used are no longer important, and that sets a dangerous precedent considering the entire goal of hip hop was to spread the message through the use of creative lyricism.
Mumble rap seems to continue the tradition of killing the language and getting by with the bare
This is all concerning. Mainly because hip hop is still a social movement. This shows the fans
that the message is not the important part. Considering that so many of their predecessors
have fought for the right to be heard, it shames them and cheapens their message as well as
disrespects the struggles they faced to be heard at all.
Instead of honoring the hard work of their own predecessors, they focus on insane beats
instead of the lyrics. It is a tumultuous time and people of color need a voice more than ever.
Hip hop artists have been that voice in the past. Instead of stepping up and raising their voices,
artists have taken a step backwards. The lyrics, which used to be all important, have taken a
backseat to trap beats and that has many in the industry concerned about the future of hip hop
as a whole.
Resources for Trap and Rap Beats for Mumble Rap: http://gamechangerbeats