Archive for "Kanye West"

Rappers Embracing Their Role Model Status?

October 12th, 2013

(Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/WireImage)

Why do we love Arsenio Hall? Both on his original late night show as well as his new one he’s always represented hip hop. Recently he had 2 Chainz and Big Sean on in the same week. Both had great performances but what was interesting was something that both artists revealed. Each professed to being exemplary students when they were in school. This might not sound like a big deal but if you add context it reflects a significant step taken by hip hop as a culture.

Remember when Ja Rule was the biggest star in hip hop? Nobody wants to admit it but for a short while he superceded Jay Z and DMX. Until it was discovered that he grew up going to private school, a fact that he went to great lengths to hide while he was attempting to pass himself as the second coming to Thuglife frontman, Tupac Shakur. Many rappers, like Ja, did like Chris Rock’s MC Gusto in the cult classic CB4 and created an identity for themselves rooted in the streets. It was a reflection of the generation. Ice-T summed it up best when he noted that pioneering MCs were really on the streets and used rap to get off the streets, while newer rappers got into rap THEN tried to get into real street life.

When 2 Chainz told Arsenio how proud he was about having good grades in high school, even telling the veteran host that “with good grades you can do anything,” this was a moment not to go unnoticed. For as long as hip hop has been around there have been scholarly rappers, but for a mainstream, club-friendly rappers it’s a different story. It’s a sign of the times.

For a long time hip hop has produced some amazing entrepreneurs, but a lot of them advocate an indiscriminate mix of positive and negative ventures to attain financial success. In more recently MCs seem to be promoting a more all-inclusive message of encouragement. People like 2 Chainz and Kanye West are really showing that you can use hip hop as a vehicle to access whatever you’re passionate about the same way rappers used to preach that you can use drug dealing as a vessel to success in hop hop. Note Jay-Z’s recent article with Vanity Fair.

Whatever the motivation, it doesn’t matter–it could be the constant blending of genres diversifying hip hop or the age of information in which we live, either it is crucial because hip hop plays a significant part in every aspect of popular culture and in shaping the minds of young people of every age, race and socioeconomic status. Hip hop has always spoken for the underdog the message keeps getting more positive. 2 Chainz and Big Sean are not perfect role models but they are authentic and in this culture that’s one thing that still goes a long way.

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How Mister Cee’s Confession Shows Hip Hop’s Maturity

September 19th, 2013

Former Hot 97 deejay Mister Cee has had one hell of a month. After being caught receiving oral sex from a transvestite male prostitute, Mister Cee succumbed to public and media scrutiny and announced that he was relinquishing his post at the famed New York radio station. Cee, real name Calvin LeBrun, also admitted that he had been lying about the incident, and said that while he never had sexual intercourse with a man, he did sometimes procure the services of transvestite prostitutes for oral copulation.

What has been most surprising about the whole situation is the outpouring of support for Mister Cee after he made one of the hardest confessions to make to an audience that has not always been known to be very sympathetic or tolerant. Perhaps the most outspoken ally has been Cee’s old friend Big Daddy Kane who told Vibe.com, “I’ve always supported him and that’s not going to change because of today. What he said on-air was real. I support the brother and I’m going to always be his friend.”

Additionally, Cee’s Hot 97 cohorts have shown nothing but love — from Peter Rosenberg to Funkmaster Flex, and even program director Ebro Darden, who asked the DJ to come back to his post.

2013 has been a big year with regards to the maturation of hip hop. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been tearing up the charts with their pro Gay-marriage hit “Same Love” and Jay Z and A$AP Rocky have both expressed their support for the LGBT community. Frank Ocean was embraced fully when he opened up about his bisexuality. Both Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks have proudly brought the topic of their own bisexuality to the forefront without allowing themselves to be objectified by it, and there is even a confirmed openly gay rapper (F. Virtue), who recently came out via the single “Anita.” For a culture that has frowned upon homosexuality for most of its existence, hip hop has not only come a long way, but it has done so fast. Even 5 or 10 years ago, the idea of anything pro-gay would have been met with ridicule and scathing one-liners (with the exception of Eminem’s infamous collaboration with Elton John, which worked because who really wants it with Em?). Why the sudden change? Hip hop is mostly a league of followers. Just listen to the radio. First everyone was on autotune, then nobody touched it. Then ratchet, then a slowed up autotune took over (á la Future). Like Kanye said. “There’s leaders and there’s followers.” When the big sellers like Hov, Rocky and Macklemore step up, others feel safer stepping out on that ledge, or if not, they are much less outspoken in their opposition.

Another factor in the equation is hip hop’s continuing explosion into mainstream. The last few years (mostly inspired by the sounds of Mr. West and will.i.am) have seen an unprecedented amount of sonic osmosis. Genre lines have been blurred so much leading to collaborations that know no boundaries, geographic or otherwise. As a result genres that have more gay artists are becoming a part of hip hop and vice versa, and just like with anything, learning about other cultures allows people to have a heightened sense of sensitivity and understanding. Hip hop and its fans should be proud of this new revolution. It’s not perfect, but it’s come a long way in a short period of time. It’s also worth noting that qualitatively the genre is in the best shape it’s been in in years, so those worried about the disappearance of good music don’t have a very solid argument.

Mister Cee may have felt disgraced when he came clean, but in the long run he has helped bookmark a period in time when hip hop changed for the better.

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Sound Off: Kanye West Hosts Late Night Twitter Conversation

January 5th, 2012

(Photo: Frank Micelotta/Fox/PictureGroup)

By Gyant

If you weren’t logged on to Twitter last night you missed a rare opportunity to get inside the head of one of music’s most complex individuals. Grammy Award winner Kanye West got out of bed at 4 A.M.-ish London time  to reflect on his career, announce a brand new design company named after his mother DONDA, and — in a roundabout way — posted a job advertisement.

Read the rest of this entry »

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B.E.T. You Haven’t Seen Or Heard This: Keri Hilson

March 10th, 2009


*Stares at screen* Sighhhhh….. Read the rest of this entry »

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Class of 2009 Update: Kid Cudi

March 4th, 2009


According to this man, the sky MIGHT fall…… Read the rest of this entry »

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B.E.T. You Haven’t Heard This: The Dream & Kanye West

February 21st, 2009


The Dream + Kanye West= Hip Hop & R&B’s Moon Men! Read the rest of this entry »

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Video: Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi- Welcome To Heartbreak

February 17th, 2009


Broken hearts and hip hop……… Read the rest of this entry »

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Video: The Dream- Rockin That Thang

February 11th, 2009


She Rockin That Shi*t Like………………. Read the rest of this entry »

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Keyshia Cole Covers VIBE’s Style Issue

February 1st, 2009


Someone at VIBE is going to KILL ME! Read the rest of this entry »

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Kanye West Scores VIBE Magazine’s February Cover

January 8th, 2009


Kanye + VIBE=  Awesome WORDS! Read the rest of this entry »

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