Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of VILLA as a whole.
As the state of rap transforms into something new, music lovers have been somewhat forced to choose a side; do I continue to appreciate lyricism or just enjoy the new sounds of trendy pop-up artists?
Artists like Tekashi 6ix9ine, 21 Savage, Lil Pump, and the late XXX Tentacion are among the many to release a sound that lacks the lyrical artistry in which rap has traditionally been based on.This past weekend Tekashi 6ix9ine sat down with Angie Martinez to flaunt his arrogance and discuss topics ranging from his past legal issues, getting robbed, and even his relationship with God.
The interview is heartwarming, in its beginning, to see a softer side of Tekashi that is normally withdrawn due to his constant antics. Aside from those constant antics, seeing his more intimate and vulnerable side showed viewers his charming personality, but it is not a frequent behavior that Tekashi is famous for and certainly not why his younger fan base follows him so closely.
It is unfortunate that many of his fans, especially the easily influenced youth, will not see and/or connect with him in this sense; for example his relationship with God, stating in the interview that he would constantly pray for God to “change his life” when he was growing up with nothing. Relying, believing, and having faith gave him the strength to power through some of his more difficult times.
Being blessed with the opportunity to have money, fame, and influence now, Tekashi uses his spotlight quite negatively; constantly bragging about record sales and his self-acclaimed titled of “number one artist in the world”. He also enjoys the dramatics of social media, using “trolling” as a tactful marketing scheme that has skyrocketed him to superstardom.
Trolling: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them – via google dictionary
His mindset is to disrupt the industry and while many were used to be against him he is starting to get co-signed from larger artists. Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, and 50 Cent have all seen the benefits that social media can bring through this mastermind and have linked up with him to find new ways of stirring the pot with Tekashi being the perfect ingredient to help.
Although the interview began on a high note, it doesn’t stay on the brighter side for long as Takashi begins to attack Chicago based artist Vic Mensa, making it a point to single out studio members by asking them this question; “Name one song you know by Vic Mensa?” When his mission to embarrass the artist ended Tekashi then began to say that Vic would be praising him soon than later for giving him a few seconds of fame.
For many music lovers, the issue and certainly most shocking part of the interview comes at the end when Tekashi admits to not putting any hard work, let alone work at all, into his music. He uses his verse on Nicki Minaj’s “FEFE” as an example, telling Angie Martinez “I didn’t put any effort into that, I know J. Cole sits back Kendrick Lamar sits back and says this kid…they hate me” while shaking their head.
The thought is hurtful to people who have taken great pride in their craft in order to have longevity in their careers, but also to all the artists on the rise who are grinding daily to grasp the attention of anyone who can help them succeed. The new artists on the ground floor are burdened with the idea of dumbing down their work in hopes that it may bring them the attention they need. Rap has the potential to become morally compromised for people who are fighting hard to put money in their pockets and food on the table.
Tekashi makes a full-blown mockery out of an industry that feeds him and his family every day, the industry that is supposed to be based on legitimate talent. Major hip-hop heads and people who just enjoy the thoughtfulness in wordplay are in a startling time. The future of rap is unsure, maybe a new genre needs to be created for artists like Tekahi who do not fit into tradition, or maybe artists like himself will fade out into (hopefully sooner than later, if you ask me), but for now, they will stay at the top as long as their young fan base continues to support them.