It’s widely regarded that the two greatest rappers of all time are Tupac and Biggie, they are praised for not only their skill, but how they changed the rap game and inspired an entire generation of rappers. Those rappers include Kendrick Lamar, J Cole and Lil Wayne. So is there an argument that those inspired by the 90’s have actually surpassed the rappers that inspired them in the first place? Here’s a very well thought out argument as to why that’s the case.
In the 1990’s, rap was relatively new to a mass audience, and while LL Cool J, Nas and Snoop Dogg had massive success along with the previously mentioned Tupac and Biggie, none of them had more success than The Spice Girls or Oasis. Yes they inspired the youth with amazing, unique music, but regardless of what people say they were never the pinnacle of music to most people, they were just the pinnacle of their own genre.
Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and even Nicki Minaj can say they’ve been at the pinnacle of music, whether you want to admit it or not, and while you might think I’m shooting myself in the foot mentioning Minaj I’m just trying to let you know that commercially rap has never been bigger than it is right now. More people are listening to rap now than people were listening in the 90’s, and that’s not people listening to the old hits, that’s people listening to current artists. Those artists who I feel are better at rapping. I’m not all about commercial success, I’m about the art.
The 90’s never had a Danny Brown or Death Grips, the 90’s never had the level of production that we have now. Rappers have expanded the genre, pushed the genre into endless sub genres and changed the game that Tupac and Biggie helped build. Sure there’s some bad rappers around the scene now, but that’s because so many people are trying their hand at it. There was bad rappers in the 90’s too, people just choose to ignore that.
Lyrically rap has changed, conscious rap is it a very high standard, on top of this we have the likes of Kevin Abstract and Matt Champion discussing topics that seem to be ignored in rap. The skill of Kendrick, Kanye, Tyler, Cole, Chance all possess, is too superior to the 90’s for me, and that’s just a handful of names. If you list every world class rapper in current day music, it has to at least double that of the 90’s. In this instance the sheer quantity has to equal quality.
I’m not here to bad mouth the 90’s, I respect that music, the artists, their culture, and how they’ve inspired the next generation. But simply put, the genre has evolved, so long as we don’t forget where the genre came from, I have no problem in saying that it’s improved in the last 20 odd years.
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