Music, like all other things in life, follows trends, and within the world of hip hop some of the most popular and influential trends are exemplified, advocated, and criticized. For a while now, hip hop culture has dominated the youth, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this particular genre of music has the tightest grip on the young kids of the world. A lot of the things that our generation admires are derived from rap music and the performers that create and maintain this style of art.
In the past, hip hop culture was looked upon as unlawful, inappropriate, and scandalous, but as we’re progressing as a society, we’re beginning to accept these artists and their points of view as credible and educational sources of information that pull influence from many parts of the world.
Chicago-born-and-raised Kanye West speaking at Oxford University and Bronx bred Pusha T speaking at Harvard are only a few recent examples of this rapid shift in cultural acceptance. Instances like these would have been unheard of in the near past but are sure to become more and more common in the near future. Seeing things like this makes me wonder: are we heading towards an age where the street and academic worlds can finally coexist rather than ridicule one another?
There are plenty of individuals who indicate that this is true. Artists such as long time Cash Money/Young Money front man Lil Wayne, who had a 4.0 GPA in high school and was a reportedly “brilliant student” and fellow A-average high school student turned trap rap superstar 2 Chainz are just a few examples of hip hop artists who find themselves immersed in the streets as performers while simultaneously having excellent and promising academic backgrounds.
For the entirety of its existence, the genre of hip hop has been made out to be a savage and disastrous world full of problematic individuals. Though some of this may be true, I think it’s time for us, as a society, to start recognizing and respecting these artists for the intelligent individuals they are, and make smarter judgements based upon the areas that they come from and the subject matter they touch on in their work. You can be from Compton or you can be from Beverly Hills, the only thing that should matter at the end of the day is the picture that you’re able to paint and the impact that you’re able to create with your work.