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  • Charlie Taylor

Rapping Is Officially Becoming "The Wave"

I have a feeling that in 5 to 10 years, there will be this continuous conversation where a mainstream artist, that has no prior experience to rapping, will drop a Rap record and the Hip-Hop/Rap Community will be up in arms.

I say 5 to 10 years... But it's always been a thing. Where a pop star suddenly feels like dropping some bars and everybody slurps it up. No need to give examples, I'm sure you can remember some.

So let's swiftly move along and cue the reason why I am talking about this subject. A recent article in The Guardian by Ms Issy Sampson, talking about singers, with a prior career in the vocal arts, rapping. She writes this using Beyonce's recent performance in her, Jay-Z & Future's track "Top Off" (Featuring DJ Khaled) as a backdrop to provide a little history on pop musicians rapping. Specifically, pop musicians that have already built a legacy of being pop musicians.

Most of the time, it is terrible and sometimes it's a classic case of cultural appropriation. But people like Rihanna and to a lesser extent, Beyonce have done it to an acceptable level. (in my opinion) But this Guardian article has given me pause. About all of this. Why? Because of one name. Taylor Swift.

I understand if Beyonce raps, because she's married to one of the best to ever do it and exudes a level of self-confidence in her music that dipping into the rapping pool kind of make sense at this point. Same goes for Rihanna. She has done many collaborations with rappers and feels very comfortable with her recent attempts with Kendrick Lamar on "LOYALTY" & N.E.R.D's "Lemon". Now, to get a little distinctive with these examples. Both Beyonce & Rihanna have rapped recently, but it's not exactly "Dropping bars" is it? They don't stretch themselves, they air on the side of caution and it pays off.

But the reason why I called Rapping "The Wave" in the title instead of "Mainstream" is because its easier to explain to you guys why this article got me angry. With Rap becoming "The Wave", people like Taylor Swift are going to do Rap simply because her counterparts are. But here's my question. When has Taylor Swift done anything Rap or Hip-Hop related other than Kanye embarrassing her on live TV? (and on wax) This is an artist that has gone from Country singer to pop star simply because Country music was not "The Wave".

Unlike Rihanna & Bey, who have been around Rap culture, Swift has already started to Rap just when Hip-Hop becomes the most popular genre in the US. Coincidence? You know damn well it isn't.

Also, minor tangent. Can somebody help me understand this quote?

"But now, with her almost-bars on Look What You Made Me Do and Ready For It, she’s proved she has the potential to be, if not the new Stefflon Don, at least the new Iggy Azalea."

What in hell does Stefflon Don have to do with Iggy Azalea and Taylor Swift? Is this code for something? Does Ms Sampson know who Stefflon Don is? I don't know Ms Sampson personally, which is why I don't want to assume anything, but I have serious concerns about this sentence.

Back to the main subject. Rap is "The Wave" and that means artists that have no clout in rapping, are going to do it simply because that is what people want these days. I don't want to hear about the "Evolving vs Stay-in-your-lane" argument. Singers like Swift are not rapping in the effort of evolving as an artist, they're doing it because they're wave riders.

Finally, with all this, comes Rap songwriters getting PAID. And if you consider Rappers willingly writing rhymes for singers that have no place to be rapping a bad thing. Just remember that Pharrell and Mike-Will Made It were direct proponents of Miley Cyrus going off on her cultural appropriation ting a few years ago. And I didn't see anybody castrating them. So whether you agree with me about all this or not. It just goes to show that this is all about money and never about the art-form. Just like "Sex Sells", it seems that "Rap Sells" now.


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