You want to know what really grinds my gears? Wack rappers with inflated egos brought on by a crew of ‘yes’ men who think their product is dope. Let me be very clear about this – it’s not.
In the last five or so years the Australian hip hop scene has grown in leaps and bounds; unfortunately for the most part the quality of music has not. It’s become far too easy for any kid in the ‘hood to record something from home over a beat they bought on soundclick or that their computer savvy mate with Fruity Loops produced – then all they have to do is put it up on MySpace to instantly share it with the world. What’s even worse is when they spend money to press this stuff to CD expecting people to buy it. However the most atrocious crime of all is when some poor kid spends their hard earned cash on this CD. Don’t these kids have standards? Do they really think that this music (and I use that term loosely) sounds good? Have they not heard anything better that they would rather buy?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for supporting local artists but not just for the sake of supporting local artists. Support them because they’re good, not because they’re local, otherwise your support is just going to breed mediocrity and that’s the last thing we need. I think the problem lies in the fact that a lot of the people buying this stuff only listen to Australian hip hop so their point of reference for what is actually world-class is already going to be skewed. Take note kids – the best hip hop comes from New York and if you ain’t hearing it, then you ain’t HEARING it.
There’s also the case of these guys being nowhere near ready to release their music to the masses. Kids these days (ha, I dreaded the day I’d use that phrase) are in such a rush to put something out and show off what they’ve got, they end up with an unprofessional and amateur sounding product. Take your time guys; your first tracks aren’t going to be your best!
There was once a time when you could guarantee that if an Australian release hit the shelves, you knew it was the ill shit and I’m talking pre-millennium here. Nowadays a browse through your local music store’s hip hop selection is like trying to find that $2 coin you swallowed when you were a kid (think about it). It’s not just the local bedroom rappers that get the gasface either, some of the better known and more successful local rappers are really painful to listen to as well. Take Drapht for example, great choice of production and awesome flow and subject matter but even my whiny bitch thinks he sounds like a whiny bitch!
I know a lot of people are going to be thinking, “Well you’ve gotta start somewhere right?”, and this couldn’t be more true. I don’t expect anyone to be able to make a mind-blowing album with their first recordings; I just expect them to wait a few years before actually releasing something. Practice that shit – record, listen, re-record and repeat. Most importantly make sure your beats are as good as they can be – this is probably what lets down a lot of potentially great rappers.
It’s not all bad though. There are a handful of incredible local artists that do make world-class music and a lot more on the brink of taking that next step up. It’s just that pool of talentless hacks that need to shape up or ship out.
Oh and in the words of Lyrical Commission, “If you feel like this is about you – it probably fucking is”.