Remember when hip-hop was fun? My adolescence was filled with the entertaining, harmless anthems of MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and Tone Loc. “Hip Hop Hooray,” “Jump Around,” and the “Humpty Dance” were the soundtrack to my middle school dances. Kids wore their overalls backwards to emulate Kriss Kross and oversized Starter jackets like ABC (Another Bad Creation, yo!). Queen Latifah reigned supreme, Run DMC were the “Kings of Rock,” and Will Smith was The Prince of Bel Air. Sure, acts like NWA and Public Enemy were anything but fun, but at that time, their hard-cutting verbal assaults were the minority to the more common, party approach to rap music.
Things changed with the dawning of gangsta rap. I’m not suggesting that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg didn’t know how to have a good time, smoking their indo while sippin’ on gin and juice, but their songs took the genre into more violent, brooding territory. No longer was it cool to rap about how you can “Bust a Move” or how you wish you were a little bit taller, wish you were a baller, wish you had a girl, if you did, you would call her. Many artists tried to toughen up their image (gangsta MC Hammer was my favorite), but their efforts were transparent to fans that wanted stories of the streets from those who lived it.
Since that mid-90s mood shift, hip-hop has remained grounded in the more menacing approach, rappers boasting their worth in diamonds, clothes, and cars, MCs regaling their days as drug dealers and gang members. That’s what makes Action Bronson’s major label debut Mr. Wonderful so refreshing – it’s a throwback to the days when rappers were more interested in promoting a good time than themselves.
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Tagged as action bronson, Album Review, another bad creation, best new music, biz markie, chance the rapper, coolio, Dr. Dre, kriss kross, mc hammer, mr. wonderful, nwa, public enemy, run dmc, snoop dogg, vanilla ice
good kid, M.A.A.D. city
Hype is an important factor for any musician’s start in the business, but out of all the genres, it is most important in the world of hip-hop. Hype made artists like 50 Cent, Drake, and Nicki Minaj household names before they’d even released their first record. In the world of rap music, hype is king, whether it be legendary hype-men like Flavor Flav and P Diddy, or the multitude of hip-hop outlets that rely heavily on the idea of “hype” (Hoodhype.com, H.Y.P.E. Magazine, Hypemixtapes.com). In recent years, a major factor in the growth of an artists hype results from the online, mix tape movement, an avenue for budding artists to get their sound out there.
One of the artists to get his start through the mix tape avenue is Kendrick Lamar and his Black Hippy crew. After several mix tapes, he released “Section.80,” a promising album for a young rapper. From there, the hype began to grow (out of proportion). After doing a concert with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and The Game, the trio called him “The King of the New West Coast.” Dre took it a step further, signing Lamar to his Aftermath label. Before his first release on the label even came out, Dre and him could be found mean-mugging on the cover of XXL Magazine, and inside, the XXL touted his latest album as “the biggest debut since Illmatic.” Even Nas himself said that Lamar was the future of hip-hop. Before anyone had even heard the album, Vibe Magazine ran a story on why his new album would change California rap forever. All of this had gone down before anyone had even heard the album!
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