I know lots of people get confused when someone says “real rap” or uses word “real” in hip-hop, because, I think, a lot of fans don’t quite understand what those words mean. Whenever someone says “real” about anything, they actually mean what’s real for them. Something may sound real for you, but it may not be real for me. So what I’m going to do is break down what it means for me to be “real” in rap music. For this, I’ll quote one of my favorite songs and use it as a guideline throughout the article.
“I don’t hate players, I don’t love the game!” this is quite a statement in the beginning of a song “sunshine” by Yasiin bey (formerly known as Mos def). Bear in mind that this song isn’t about some underground rapper hating on mainstream dudes. Yasiin just made it clear, that he has no hate towards any rapper, it’s the mainstream culture (which actively supports ignorant rap) he can’t respect. His statement clearly expresses ones view about the sad situation where hip-hop found itself these last ten years. He does this without being angry, jealous or hateful – to me, that’s the real talk.
he continues the song with next great line: “Put your hands down youngin’ this is not for you” – end of discussion. Mos just told you, that if you don’t understand where he’s coming from (morally) than you’re just a young kid and this joint isn’t for you, so put your hands down and move on. With ignorant rap supporters out of the way, Mos proceeds some serious jewel delivering, after all, he’s the “Slim nigga that casts a big shadow” meaning, he never gained major popularity, but many big names in hip-hop today admire him and say they gained much inspiration from Yasiin, those would be Lupe Fiasco, Jay Electronica, Kid Cudi, Saigon, Kendrick Lamar and etc. So, with ignorant rap supporters out of the way and after second verse of bragging in such a cool and joyful style, Yasiin proceeds to deliver some serious jewel-dropping in the last verse.
I walk a thousand paces of light ahead of the game,
By the time that you get where I’m standing, I’ll be gone
Y’all make moves, but y’all just move wrong
I move in, and y’all must move on
Cause I’m oh too strong
And I know what my feet move for
Made it go without a brand new car
I was fresh without a brand new song
Don’t give a f**k about what brand you are
I’m concerned what type of man you are
What your principles and standards are
You understand me y’all?
Be good to your family y’all
No matter where your families are
Real talk – this verse right here is the bar. If other rappers don’t come close to this perimeter somehow, I can’t call them real. The New York MC calls every rapper out, to be themselves and tell us about their stories, their principles in life and hardships they’ve gone through, fading out with brilliant message in the end, to be good with your family, because “everyone needs a family yo”. Maybe this would even sound corny if someone else performed it, but Yasiin does it with such a light, clear and constant flow, it’s almost like you already knew what he was talking about and just forgot about it for a moment. Song is produced by Kanye in old days, lyrics are full, rhymes classic, style Brooklyn and flow untouchable which makes this song so cheerful to anyone to listen.
Check it out and let us know what you think about “realness in rap music”.