Rather than align ourselves with the a-typical hoards of hip hop fans around the world who seem to be constantly mourning the 'death of rap', year in, year out, we believe that the past 12 months has been great for rap music.
The classic criticisms of rap - shitty mixtapes, an over-saturated market, weighted emphasis on materialism and general rap beefs showing otherwise talented artists to be narrow-minded and discouraging of new faces - are being tackled in 2011 with much success thus far.
Mixtapes are constantly improving. Their quality as a serious promotional tool, as well as providing a more immediate and DIY approach to releasing music, has shone through in recent months. There's far less DJ shout-outs and more attention to detail. We can only welcome this move.
In terms of people to watch, Kendrick Lamar is doing great things, Yelawolf's debut album 'Radioactive' drops this November, and even Kreayshawn is featured on the cover of Complex. Wut. Rap is certainly more diverse than it's ever been. Beef still goes on though. Kreayshawn vs Rick Ross seems to be alive and well(and thankfully so is Rick Ross himself). Seriously though - Kreayshawn, back off girl. Ross is boss.
On the commercial angle of rap, the Occupy Wall Street protests have attracted U.S. rappers like Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, David Banner and Kanye West to the streets. But how can the often materialistic lyrical content of some American rap level against the public mood of today? Russell Simmons was boo'ed on camera in NYC this week as being 'part of the problem'. Hmmm.
2011 is shaping up to be a fire year for rap.
Shout out to Into The Swamp for some of these tracks.13:00 - 14:00