Ten Acts That Could Save Hip-Hop

Earl Sweatshirt wants you to ask "what the fuck is really going on."
Earl Sweatshirt wants you to ask "what the fuck is really going on."

Dear hip-hop, what the fuck happened?

When did hip-hop become about bogus egos, dehumanizing women, hating ourselves, and stupid, unrelatable statements like #SufferingFromSuccess? Hip-hop was a music of the people, but now it's a culture of the blind-leading-the-blind into a party full of strippers and bad decisions. The next morning, you chalk it all up to "well, that's the game, and I married it, so, oh, well."

The party-ready ratchet culture has become irresponsible. It's good to let loose once in a while, but that sort of superficial shit is not acceptable unless moderated by intelligent discourse. It's time to sober up.

Thankfully, there's a movement beginning to bubble. And we're ready for some hip-hop that speaks to our morals, our lives, and our hopes for the future. If hip-hop wants to be something more than just a parody of itself, it needs to turn the camera around, and get more introspective. We're going to need more role models emerging along the lines of these 10 trailblazers.

See also: Five Reasons Today's Rappers Are Fake

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10. Danny Brown

How many rappers you know can get their dick sucked on stage without missing a line? Danny Brown is the smart-man's answer to the mindless joke. The Detroit-bred rhyme slayer has a cartoonish demeanor and party-ready delivery, but dig into his lyrics, and you'll find a message that touts word-play, critical thought, and experimentation as being just as integral to his character as weed smoke and big titties.

If we have one complaint, it's that Brown seems to rely on the same flow a little too much, but he's still one of the best live acts we've ever seen, so we can't hate. If we must get ratchet, we'd rather get ratchet with Brown than anybody else.

9. Kanye West

He may be the biggest ego in the business, but all that huffing and puffing is probably just a lot of nonsense covering a pretty insecure soul. Bro definitely has some issues, but all that personal conflict translates into some really remarkable music. He's the ultimate instigator, and he's not afraid to put himself and his music out on a limb in the name of progress.

Whether you're a fan or not, West is doing things to hip-hop no one has bothered to do before. He's taking it to new levels of musicality and complexity, especially on his last two LPs. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is probably going to go down as his magnum opus, and Yeezus is one dark-fucking monster with more angry, self-depricating attitude than Trent Reznor in '93. If Kanye continues to take risks and push himself, 15 years from now, hip-hop will find itself in a more elevated place artistically than anyone could have seen it going before.

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