Expectation Management in Hip-Hop

Late last year I wrote a piece (redirected to Medium.com) that touched on the changing landscape of music and specifically the garden of Hip-Hop. Just as farmers cycle what seeds they plant in order to keep the ground fertile as to not permanently strip it of its nutrients, each new generation of artist plants what they have the capacity to grow. Asking a gardener that is proficient in cultivating corn to harvest sunflowers is not an efficient use of that farmer’s talents.

This same logic can be used when managing expectations within Hip-Hop. The aforementioned linked piece introduces the argument for a sub-genre of Hip-Hop that emcompasses the sounds and production methods of a younger generation. Generational wars have a tentative cease fire at the moment, but these fragile peace times do not last long. Inevitably, one “side” comments on the other’s inability to make “real Hip-Hop”. A sly remark or off-handed comment will get memed and the larger picture will, undoubtedly, get lost in the fray. The expectation that Hip-Hop does not evolve is only eclipsed with the idea that it’s evolution can be logically tracked and predicted.

Hip-Hop is a true reflection of its community..its entire community. The inspiration that flows through pen to pad of artists in the genre are as vast as it is varied. The allure of a career as a Hip-Hop artist is its ability to build bridges and pave lanes that otherwise would have continued on as dirt roads. Traversing through Hip-Hop can be seen as driving through Texas; you can spend 16 straight hours on the road and still be in the state. Once fans and critics accept that rappers have many faces, the journey will become much more enjoyable.

Artists put their souls into their art and it is up to the audience to see them for who they are. Most artists have a very acute self perception and do not shy away from being candid and naked when illustrating their awareness. Artists are writing love letters, baring their inner demons and exalting their shoulder angels with every project. When critics expect something from the art that was never promised, they are breaking their own hearts.


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