Awesome Totally Awesome - Hip hop woke hoax

Hip Hop’s Woke Hoax

As you listen to your daily playlist, whether that be on your commute to work or during a workout, you may stumble upon some confusing subject matter. While you’re avoiding heavy traffic or trying to get that last superset in, the last thing you should be worried about is your music. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case these days. It seems some rappers have graduated with a degree in philosophy but instead of Socrates and Aristotle, they’ve studied more heavily in bullshit aka wokeness. Fear not my friends, because today I will attempt to demystify wokeness in rap music so that you won’t have to suffer from questioning your very existence or the existence of others unexpectedly. I will do this by defining what wokeness really is, identifying woke rappers from sleeper cells, and finally assessing whether this trend is good or bad for the genre.

The concept of wokeness has been around since the dawn of man. Being alert or in tune with the reality of your surroundings has been heavily practiced in our ancient past in order to survive. If cavemen weren’t woke then they would be a hot breakfast or popsicles for predators. Now, since the majority of us no longer struggle to survive, it seems that being woke has evolved into something far more existential. Being awake isn’t just about not being asleep anymore but has shifted into the realm of the quasi Illuminati third eye pepe meme. If you’re not fighting the status quo or spouting conspiracy theories every second of your day then you’re just sheeple. If your extreme paranoia is causing serious sleep deprivation than congratulations because you’re not crazy anymore. No, you’re woke as fuck. This phenomenon has especially resonated with black Twitter but I would never say that in public because they might think I’m off my rocker because I’m just not woke if I criticize wokeness. It’s safe to say that this has gone too far. In rap music, however, I fear this is just getting started.

Now before I continue there are a few things I need to clarify. By “woke” rappers I am not referring to rappers who actually fit that description i.e Lupe Fiasco and Kendrick Lamar etc. When I say woke rappers I am specifically referring to rappers that fall into two categories. Number 1: Rappers that preach about some conspiracy theory or some paranoid delusion which is either false or comes off fake. Number 2: Rappers that actively try to convince you that you’re a sheep and they are God’s chosen angels sent to earth with the purpose of gracing your ignorant mind with enlightenment through their music. The flagship rapper of the first category is none other than B.O.B. Did you know that the earth is flat? No? Good because it isn’t. That is a scientific fact based on an enormous amount of evidence including live images.  B.O.B has been trying to tell the world otherwise for years now, however. His reasoning stemmed from a plane ride he took where he believed he was high enough in the sky to see the curvature of the earth. Look, I’m not here to stuff information into your ears. That would make me just as bad as this idiot, even if I’m right. Just do your research first.

Another more contemporary rapper that I’ll place into this category is the infamous Russ. Why would I do that you ask? Because this grown ass baby is delusional. Russ has been garnering well-deserved attention for his music recently. I don’t deny that his music is decent at best. What I take issue with is his constant whining and paranoia about the rap industry which sadly makes up the bulk of his buzz right now. We get it, Russ. The rap industry is cutthroat. This is not breaking news considering almost every rapper that has ever lived has made a song detailing exactly that point. But you’re special because you’ve been doing the majority of your career “solo” which gives you the right to call others out. No sorry, I don’t think it works like that. The saddest part about Russ is that he truly believes he’s both a victim of an unfair system and that he’s the greatest rapper alive, able to sell out any show without a label. The combination makes him seem just as deluded as B.O.B, fighting for attention by saying dumb shit to cover up mediocre music; something you should always look out for when assembling your next playlist.

Now here is where I might get in trouble because you can probably guess who I’m mentioning next. Jaden Smith. I like his music. That being said I have to call him out for his ridiculousness. Jaden Smith is 20 years old. He is not an Icon living. One look at Jaden’s Twitter says it all. The kid’s mental is trapped in another dimension. That, in itself, isn’t a problem but when you try to convert your audience to the vegan hippy lifestyle before you can legally drink, it just makes you sound pretentious. Honestly, I think Jaden has the potential to be an Icon and some of the members he’s recruited to the MSFT’s label, which I’ll talk about soon, are definite artists to watch out for. But right now, in 2018, all Jaden sounds like is a privileged hipster trying to save the world. His favorite superhero is Batman which he emulates in several songs, but Jaden Smith is a young Bruce Wayne without the trauma and training: A spoiled kid with a savior complex. Teo, another member of the Justice League of Misfits, is one of my favorite up and coming artists out there right now. His vocals are so distinct and coupled with his quality flow, he really is worth a listen. It’s truly unfortunate when he decides to blend in philosophical debate into his lyrics. I don’t have a problem with talking about this stuff but when people are out here just trying to survive each day and you’re on some undisclosed island reprimanding me for eating processed foods, you just sound like your discount Batman teammate. Pretentious.

Kendrick Lamar made a song called Mortal Man where he interviews Tupac. He wanted so badly to speak to one of his greatest influences that he pieced together dialogue from past interviews Tupac did and created one of the most heartwarming experiences I’ve ever heard. Instead of just telling us what to do or what to believe, Kendrick Lamar has shown us his struggle through stories like Good Kid Maad City. He does not pretend to be omnipotent or an Icon, his actions, and recollection of his experiences make him an Icon. That is a “woke” rapper. The whole concept of wokeness diminishes the struggle of the everyday man and woman which is what rap music excels and portraying. Slaves had to wake up because they had no choice just like many shackled by poverty today. The distinction shouldn’t be focused on enlightenment but what you plan to do with that knowledge. Rapping about getting rich is a common trend abused by many a rapper because their poor fans eat that up. Give a fan a lyric about ghost riding the whip or what he should believe in and you’ll give him something to think about and forget. Give a fan the story of your come up from nothing to now and you inspire fans to dream bigger.

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