Ah. Been awhile here.
So Chance the Rapper performed a new untitled song at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on September 26 with Daniel Caesar. The downbeat introspective song, which is later titled “First World Problems”, has everyone talking at the moment but Joe Budden is particularly not waxing lyrical about it and I do have a problem with that.
The Everyday Struggle co-host Joey seems to be amused by the music before he goes nut “What’s that voice…what the f**k is he talking about”? Never have I heard a rapper demean another rapper’s song because it’s “too positive”.
I consider this an unfortunate retort spewed at a time when hip-hop is facing a maligning perception crisis (let’s pretend perception wasn’t a problem at hip hop’s inception, till now). Since when does sounding slushy make a song too positive to be taken seriously? I bet if “The World Is Yours” was rapped in similar tone Joey will devilishly laugh at Nas and must have asked if it is a “polk music”.
Elements in the industry like Joey are the ones that arm the Geraldo Riveras of this world who are insufferable persecutors of rap culture- the rap culture I defend. The rap culture that is the political art-form that is inherently subversive, that highlights the socio-economic realities of Black America and the unbending resistance to the multifarious oppressive super structural system. Not the corpus of misogynoir, violence, gang banging, drugs, and materialism. Men like Budden will have us believe hope is incompatible with the art-form of hip-hop and would rather artistes embrace pop-culture products such as mainstream fashion labels. A totally dubious appearance of rap itself.
I do understand that roasting and lyrical battles are intrinsic to hip hop. Kendrick Lamar, as the media note, is alluded the savior of the genre owing to a number of reasons part of which is the deftness in presenting early rap nostalgia. His verse on “Control”; “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and the remix; verse on Jay Rock’s “Pay for It” are among his solipsistic plethora- the I’m-the-best-and-no-one-comes-close rap orientation. However, “cocking a gun” to “kill someone in a verse” as Joey advises Chance isn’t necessary to make good music. At this point, we shouldn’t be bickering on reviving a purportedly dead genre just by “killing niggas on verses”.
This subject is an expression of a state of mind, Lil Chano’s joint with Daniel Caesar is laced with melancholy themes and it’s pretty much in shape with the downbeat like an enhanced spoken words rhythm. I love Chance and I believe Coloring Book delivered the promises that Kanye made before releasing TLOP. The Chicago emcee is evolving as seen in his last project maybe Joe is concerned that mainstream’s capitalist tendencies are finally getting a grip on his soul just like the guys at What Went Wrong With… will have us believe.
However, rap’s problem of perception is what Budden peddles and we shouldn’t accept the dark sides of the game- rating detrimental pieces of hip hop- merely because of appearing hardcore or for not “sounding too positive”.