There seems to be a prevailing idea amongst fans of rap and some industry insiders that despite rap and hip hop’s origins, the game needs to be all kisses, hugs and beautiful words. This and more was discussed during this morning's panel discussion on Eminem's latest album, Revival, hosted by Universal Music Group South Africa.
The evolution of the game and popular culture’s increasing influence on the sounds means that a lot of the cypher culture and battle rap we grew up on has faded in to borderline oblivion and has been replaced by flex culture, catchy hooks and what many have come to term mumble rap.
What a lot of the fans aren’t privy to is how the key players conduct themselves behind the scenes and how honest they are with each other about the quality of work that gets put out. They also are not privy to the role that many of the “stalwarts” have played in the come up of their faves…
And that is why the current situation between Cassper ‘Abuti Fill Up’ Nyovest and Tumi ‘Stogie T’ Molekane has dominated water cooler conversations, social media timelines and general conversations among hip hop heads across SA for three days and counting.
What is the problem? Allow me to break it down…
During the 2017 South African Hip Hop Awards, (#SAHHA2017), Molekane mentioned how a lot of the game’s biggest names right now worked on his studio in their early days - among which include Cassper Nyovest.
Nyovest then misunderstood what Molekane meant by the comment and retaliated with a comment saying that Molekane had done nothing for him in terms of his career.
And now everyone assumes there is beef.... But, if that is the case, I have a question; what was so wrong with what Molekane said?
According to Riky, Molekane seems to have a penchant for “claiming niggaz success” but that is not what he did. All he did was mention one of his many contributions to the game. Granted, Riky feels differently because he had a different, first-hand experience with him but that is not grounds for us to conflate the issue.
The underlying theme in all the aforementioned is honesty. Honesty has long been a cornerstone for hip hop and music in general so why is it that fans and rappers alike get “in their feelings” whenever it’s time to face the truth?
And that is the problem with the game.
If it isn’t a glowing review topped by a heap of compliments, people aren’t trying to hear it. The problem is so serious that the default language used by the people who suffer from this problem has become a useful dismissal tool whenever they are not trying to engage.
Anyone one who has ever had a dissenting opinion from the status quo has had to contend with being called a hater, jealous or a choice of other colourful words and insults preferred by stans.
Molekane also mentioned how he believes the sensational nature of beef gives people who aren’t familiar with the game a chance to partake in the conversation without having to be a die-hard fan of the genre. There are even people who heard of him for the first time in their lives as a result of the furore surrounding the #SAHHA2017 drama.
“When you get on social media, you have to be aware of the fact that you’re not talking with your friends, the conversation you have with your peers is different to the discussion you will have if someone said take the exact same thing you were talking about here and discuss it with these with these school children...”
Criticism and opposition is a necessary part of the game and it’s time people understood that in order for us to move forward. Imagine what we could achieve if we channelled all the time we waste arguing without an end goal in sight?
Main image credit: © Zalebs