Versatility breathes life into Hip Hop

In countless hip-hop magazines, Web sites and periodicals there is a phrase that is being repeated and is far from the truth. Well-known and respected hip-hop artists such as Q-Tip and Andre 3000 have uttered the infamous phrase, “Hip Hop is dead.”

Hip Hop is exploited by major corporations, diluted by radio and dishonored by a lot of terrible rappers. But instead of simply declaring Hip Hop dead, let’s support good artists and keep it alive.

With the recent retirement of Jay-Z, there is fear of a lack of talent and energy to keep the hip-hop scene alive. However, I believe that Hip Hop is so versatile that it changes and adapts to the times. As impossible as it may seem, there will be a new voice to replace Jay-Z.

Sure, rappers who lacks respect for the culture and have goals of making money instead of good music are popping up. Plenty of artists see Hip Hop as a business to be dominated, rather than an art form to be further developed. But economically, the jobs created as a result of this music form is indicative of its true liveliness.

Yes, materialistic rap is getting ridiculous. Nevertheless, new acts are emerging and raising the bar for creativity. Artists duch as Chicagoan Kanye West seamlessly create masterpieces that fuse soul music, R&B, “real” Hip Hop, club music and pop rap.

Other artists such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli and the returning Common Sense are keeping Hip Hop thriving in its truest form. Meanwhile, 50 Cent, Eminem, T.I and many other artists offer promising mainstream hip-hop projects to come.

As usual, when black people develop something that is appealing in American culture, it becomes accepted and typically exploited by the mainstream. However, it is important to note that just because Hip Hop is being embraced by the mainstream culture, it has lost its spark and uniqueness.

Hip Hop is and will be a way for many generations and cultures to avidly speak out about their struggles, thoughts and unique experiences.

Jeff Wright is a freshman business administration student from Chicago. He is an assistant opinions editor for The Famuan. Contact him at