We cannot tell people how to make music or what should be in their songs.
However, there are certain genres that have their primary messages or focus and anything else is just an adaptation or distraction.
Reggae for instance is often about liberation, freedom and equality. It can also be used to pass across messages of love or ‘mess around’ and have fun but its primary goal remains fixed.
Hip Hop for many, represents the glorification of violence, drugs and sex but its initial aim was to speak truth to power. It was for many at the time of its inception, a tool to challenge the wrongs in society and break certain stereotypes and mentalities.
There is a debate over whether gangs and gentrification of hip hop have raised the bar or spoiled the broth, but that is for another day.
As a rapper, you can’t be told what to sing but it is essential to always ensure in the end your content reflects the originality of the genre.
We have seen some of the greatest rappers do it over and over and it continues to work out for them.
Despite the nudity and violence you see in their videos sometimes or get from their lyrics, some of the best rappers would always have a way to take you back to the initial essence, establishing identity and purpose.
We have ageless pieces; Lil Wayne’s how to Love or J Cole’s Lost ones or Jay Z’s Story of OJ, Kanye’s Hey mama, Nasty C’s Strings and Blings, LeMonstre’s Et P8 Koi, Pascal’s Pikin for Sun, Stanley’s Hein Pere, Mic Monsta’s Johnny, the Game’s Better days, Young Holiday’s Can I count on you … the list is endless.
These songs have a deeper ingredient – a conscious message to pass across.
The best of rappers’ works are not only seen in shiny videos composed of naked girls and luxurious displays. Those too of course pass across a message.
However, the great content (lyrics, rhythm, beat …) would always remain the sentry for whatever good thing is to follow.
With the many distractions today, it has become easier than ever to miss the message and focus on other components.
As a rapper in this era of self-actualization and it is essential to get the most you can of your art. Don’t neglect the healing power of rap.
We too would be watching closely and listening intently. We will read the lyrics if that’s what it takes to get the message.
– Giyo Ndzi