Remember back in the day, you and your people would be banging around on fences of lunch tables, stomping your feet, clapping your hands or just doing the most basic of human beatboxing to get a beat down for people to spit over? You know, that really raw, anyone can have a go, see what you’ve got kind of flow – where you could clown a mate, or use words people hadn’t heard before or just see if you had skills. Well, some of the modern hip hop albums of late have me wondering – how the hell would I do that now? I mean, it’s not just Jay Electronica who went with more soundscapes and silent spaces than actual drum beats, it’s everywhere. All the laid back, minimalist kind of stuff that has made Daringer among others, sought after. Would lunch room battles be more of a spoken word?

Who hasn’t seen this clip before. Suga Free just going HAM with a coin, a table and a pen and it’s better and harder than a LOT of the stuff that’s coming out of STUDIOS! I mean I could understand if it was just amateur producers using simple smartphone apps to create this stuff, but man – some of the best and hardest producers have fallen into the lo-fi trap and it’s troubling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people aren’t talented, or that all minimal, lo-fi, stripped back production is wack, but FOR ME, drums are as much of a part of hip hop as graf, breakdancing, actually saying something and not just rhyming….. So it has me perplexed.

Luckily, we have had a steady diet of boom bap, hardcore rap through the likes of Vinnie Paz, Ruste Juxx, Dueling Experts, Grafh, Stu Bangas, Ty Farris and more – but I’ve also been let down by a number of guys who have gone with this ‘trend’ instead of staying true to who they are and what their music represents. Listening to guys like Alchemist and DJ Muggs, guys who were responsible for some real ANTHEMS of hip hop, strip everything back and go simple – astounds and upsets me! I know there are ‘only so many drum patterns you can make’ but there are only so many chords you can thrash out on a guitar to – doesn’t mean you stop playing it.

As a consumer, I also know that these cats who are going ‘bare bones’ are doing what THEY want to do as they should be able to do, but as a hip hop head I just don’t like the direction and I think the more it sells, the more people are going to do it and part of the art of beatmaking will be lost over time. I’ve waited SO LONG for the return of the underground and it is coming with two (and so far three) of the best years of hip hop in recent memory having hit my headphones – we are right in another golden era – I don’t want to lose it now by everyone going slow and melodic. We still need to hear emcees flow over a BEAT, not just talk over an atmospheric album of sounds and strings.

This is just my opinion, and I make no excuses for the fact I’m a boom bap head, but I’m also not one of those ‘music was better in my day’ kind of cats. I see some SUPER TALENTED emcees and producers in the game right now, making some of the most unique, authentic and honest music we’ve seen since the likes of Pac, Big, Pun etc. I just want to make sure that for every minimalist, trap song, we have 10 good kick in the door, hit you in the face, make your car boot rattle jams that make you want to wild out like ‘Ante Up’ always does.

So, share in the comments or via our Facebook page your thoughts. And please share with me some of the hardest tracks you’ve come across over the past year or so. As Busta would say – Break Yo Neck!

About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!