The debate about whether or not hip-hop’s “mumble rap” is good or bad for the culture is split almost in half. Predictably, older generations tend to fall on one side and new-wave artists and fans on the other. Other than mumble rappers themselves, few people have had anything great to say about the sub-genre. However, K. Dot — who is on the cover of Forbes‘ December “30 Under 30” issue — has stepped in to defend the style.
According to Kendrick Lamar, in order for hip-hop to continue thriving and growing, everyone has to realize that music is a reflection of artists’ personal style and all musicians have to respect each other. “That’s why I can’t shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar. But this is what I tell them every time I see them… be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork,” Kendrick said during his interview with Forbes.
The “Loyalty” artist dropped tons of knowledge on the wave that rappers like 21 Savage, Young Thug, Future and Desiigner have made famous. He even offered big-brother-like advice to younger artist. “Don’t go on your interviews and diss them and say you don’t like them and you don’t care for them,” he said, addressing those who actively speak out against their fellow rappers. “That’s your opinion, that’s cool but you have to respect them.”
Growing the Culture
Kendrick also chimed in on the conversation about “conscious rap,” generally defined as the form that “challenges the dominant cultural, political, philosophical, and economic consensus, and/or comments on social issues and conflicts.” While he acknowledged that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it seems that he doesn’t necessarily believe in conscious rap as a sub-genre (because everyone is conscious) nor does he see being a conscious rapper as a complex thing.
Kendrick told Forbes reporter Zack O’Malley Greenburg:
“I always go back to what 50 Cent said. He said, ‘We all are conscious, whether you’re doing gangsta rap, whether you’re doing so called conscious rap, whether you doing whatever genre you may in because you have a post, you alive and you’re telling your true feelings … these are your true thoughts and you’re conscious of them, and you’re aware of them. You are conscious, as simple as that.’ When he said that, that inspired me to not only recognize my own influence on what I have with my people.”
Respect the elders
No one has been more vocal on the opposing side than Joe Budden.
Forever in love with debating, he has been “trying to figure out” mumble rap on Everyday Struggle for the longest. His critiques of the style have earned him some widespread disdain. to put it mildly. That’s probably why Lil Yachty wearing a “F–k Joe Budden” hoodie during a concert is still being talked about over a week later.
Yachty rocked the hoodie after a fan threw it on stage for him, then unapologetically explained himself afterwards. “I put it on, cuz what a hater gotta say that’s why,” the “On Me” rapper commented on Instagram.
No matter how easy it may be though, according to Kendrick, disrespecting hip-hop’s elders is not a good look. “Talking down on the folks that inspired us to do this, it’d never be right,” he said.
What do you think about Kendrick Lamar’s views on hip-hop’s most popular sub-genres? Sound off in the comments and SHARE this article.