Written by Alandre Davis (@Dre_843 on Twitter)
Playboi Carti is real Hip-Hop.
Yes, you read that right. Playboi “In New York, I milly rock, hide it in my sock" Carti embodies the spirit of Hip-Hop. Sounds weird doesn't it? How could a supposed "mumble rapper (very lame term, by the way)" even be considered "Real Hip-Hop"? Well, allow me to elaborate.
When you think of "real hip-hop", what rappers come to mind? Probably the likes of Rakim, Nas, Mos Def and KRS-ONE – to name a few. Even modern rappers such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are looked at as torchbearers of the legendary genre. Real Hip-Hop is often associated with a heavy emphasis on lyricism, storytelling, and socially conscious messages within albums and songs. However, should those be the sole characteristics of "Real Hip-Hop (yes, I'm going to keep using this term)"? Seems a little limiting don't you think? Besides, Hip-Hop didn't start when Eric B. and Rakim made Paid in Full. Let's dive deeper into the origins of the genre.
When Hip-Hop was in its adolescent stages, the DJ was the main attraction. DJs rocked parties by playing break beats of old records, providing beats that inspired the listeners to move. The rapper's initial objective was to compliment the DJ and assist in getting the members of the crowd to move. Say catchy and simple phrases that the crowd can sing along with (cause what's a party without crowd participation, right?) They then started to implement rhymes that were mostly braggadocio with ad-libs thrown in for good measure. That was Hip-Hop, at its rawest form.
Now, where does Playboi Carti come in on all of this? Well... Carti often picks higher tempo "trap" beats with hard hitting bass, which are perfect for social settings. His rapping style can be seen as basic but that seems to be the point, plus he delivers his lines with a contagious energy. He's not looking to overwhelm the listener with thought-provoking lyricism about the economic inequalities of this nation. The subject matter consists more of the many ways he will have intercourse with your significant other and how shiny his jewelry is (braggadocio to say the least). Beats made to get people moving, simple and catchy raps, sounds a lot like Hip-Hop. A modernized version of it – sure… but it’s Hip-Hop nonetheless. Well-known author, Nelson George once said “there’s a huge legacy of rhythmic talking over beats that Hip Hop is an extension of”. The scope of "Real Hip-Hop" should be broader than just rap that contains social awareness and advanced lyricism. But in the words of Andre 3000, “that's just my interpretation of the situation.”