Yup, almost all of the elements of hip hop require no skill to do them on a basic level. And very basic hip hop can make you tons of money sometimes. Except break dancing. And technically graffiti is not an element, but as all of the gang graffiti in this neighborhood can attest to, that doesn’t require skill either. As we all know thanks to Myspace and all of its follow ups, there’s a ton of DJs, MCs, Rappers, and Producers out there who sound like they haven’t been doing this long. And they all have a mixtape out they’re trying to shove down your throat.
Now I don’t want to go on a long tirade about what you already know. I’d like to look at the high points and the low points of this. Hip Hop is fun dammit! We are always complaining about how many hip hop artists are out there, and how there aren’t any fans anymore. Well if it was easy to play guitar, nearly every rock fan would be a rock artist too. The point is, I’m glad that hip hop is so accessible. Pouring your heart out on to a piece of paper, two turntables, or a beat machine (or computer) is immensely satisfying. I’d go crazy if I couldn’t do it anymore. And freestyling with friends is a blast, and also a great way to stay awake when you’re tired and trying to drive. Let people have fun with music, and don’t be so pissed off that everybody else is doing what you do. You weren’t the first rapper, so don’t be mad.
The downside of this, of course, is the egotism, the pipe dreams, and need to share the art. If you make something that you are proud of, you want every one to hear it. Now the internet makes it easy. Unfortunately there are so many people like you, that for years now, everyone has been tired of unknowns spamming them on the internet. And then there is the unexplainable fact that so many rappers think they are God’s gift to music, and aren’t afraid to broadcast this daily. But the very worst drawback to hip hop being so easy, is the pipe dreams. There are thousands making hip hop music, not because they love or even enjoy it, but because they think this is their key to fortune, fame, and unlimited groupie love. Almost every hip hopper wants just that, and that’s fine. But if you suspect someone is doing this just for the money, I won’t tell on you if you kidnap them and ship them to Iran.
My final point is: lets all just enjoy this thing called hip hop and stop hating on each other. But if could make one plea, it is that you should take this craft you enjoy very seriously. Put everything you’ve got into every bit of work you put out. Just because basic hip hop can make you rich, and sometimes even be very good art, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aspire to be great. The best hip hop is usually done by somebody with tons of skill, and skill is developed through hard work. We have our Mozarts, Coltranes, and Rembrandts in this genre. You should aspire to be like them, instead of Lil B and Soulja Boy. But if that’s the type of hip hop you like, then try to be even better than them at what they do.