Music can be an escape, a break from reality. Hip-hop has influenced so many people and has even influenced its own growth over the years. So what artists pushed it to what it is today, and who continues to carry that tradition? Gaven Wages and Sequoia Kavonius are both avid hip-hop listeners. They’ve listened to the genre all their lives and are educated about it.
The two agreed on what artists have been the main advocates for rap, “Eminem, Pac, Biggie, Nas, Kendrick,” are the first names Gaven called to.
Sequoia agreed saying “The basic ones everybody knows,” then she went on to name the same artists Gaven did.
Tupac and Biggie easily have some of the most recognizable rap voices from the 90s. But they didn’t just earn that through having a good voice. It was their passion and diversity that has allowed them to form the legendary stature everybody knows of today.
Kendrick Lamar was in both of their top lists as most influential artists. Which some might think is too high since his first major album was Section 80, released in 2011. They both blocked that opinion immediately. “No”, they both said. “He deserves all the credit he receives”,
“He is the best new age rapper and has already made impact.” One artist they both left out was Kanye West. Kanye stepped onto the scene in 2004 with the song “Through the wire.” Their responses to if Kanye West has received too much credit over the years are extremely different.
Gaven claimed he has, saying “Yes. So much to the fact where his ego has been raised above anyone's.”
Sequoia said “Not at all. They push him aside without trying to like him even though he’s made a huge imprint in rap.” This is a very common thing with Kanye’s relationship with the public. His fans love him while others find his ego and personality annoying. There are a lot of artists\who go unrecognized in rap. Some of them, for a reason, but others deserve more credit than given. Gaven and Sequoia both picked one artist they believed is the most unnoticed. “NF” Gaven said. “He’s on the rise. He beat out Lil Pump with the number one Billboard album in the month of October but still goes unrecognized.”
NF raps about real-life issues mostly, and trying to solve them. Sequoia went with a much more playful artist. “Tyler the Creator.” His album Flower Boy was top ten in sales this summer. He’s a much more comedic side to rap.
People raised on the 90’s, 00’s rap often complain about rap nowadays. So what went wrong. “This generation is solely based off drugs and partying with no message whatsoever. The old did that, but it always had a message with it.” Gaven claims. Sequoia agrees with a similar statement. “It doesn’t have meaning anymore. It's just about if you can dance to it.” She says. They both are right according to CNN.
CNN did a study about rappers and their vocabulary usage. Eminem being the rapper with the largest vocab but they noticed a significant drop off in vocabulary inside the top 10 selling rappers in the years 2007-2012. It’s been lower ever since. Less vocab means less things are being said, less things being said means the same message is being repeated.
The most debatable question in all of hip-hop history is who is the most influential rapper of all time. “Eminem” is the artist they both said without any hesitation. “He was a minority to rap and still paved a way. Showing anyone can be successful anywhere.” Gaven said. Inspiration is a huge part to Em’s success. His movie 8 mile blew critics and movie watchers away. Inspiring them deeply.
Sequoia put it more simple. “He’s lyrically the best rapper of all time and you can hear his influence in others style.” Eminem's imprint on other major artists is easily hearable such as Hopsin, NF, and many other upcoming artists.
Hip-hop is unlike every other genre because of the amount of words possible to fit into a verse. That’s why there are so many stories, so many people, so many influences in rap.