Hip-hop has shifted in the new era, but Dave East, Joey Bada$$ and Don Mykel are a glimpse of the past.
Back in the day, in the early 1990s and 2000s, the focus in hip-hop was on the lyrics and rappers were more in tune with what was going on around them. Songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” by Tupac, “I Gave You Power” by Nas, and even “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West were powerful songs that talked about the trials and tribulations of life in the African American community.
Just like anything music has to change with the times. This “social media era” hip-hop has become over-saturated with songs about how many drugs they take and the music doesn’t have that much substance.
Songs like “Gucci Gang” by Lil Pump and “Bad and Boujee” by Migos are songs that are known for their hooks that any lyrics and they don’t really have any substance to them.
J.Cole came out with a song that dissed Lil Pump called “1985 (Intro to the Falloff)”. The song warned Pump that if he didn’t change his style that he would eventually be gone from hip-hop in the future and it was a primary example of the discourse between rappers now and the more established artists.
It is true that if you want any longevity you have to stick to the old template of hip hop which is telling stories and having lyrical ability. Late 2000s rappers like Cole and Kendrick Lamar have stayed true to this template and have seen major success from this.
Before rappers were telling stories that were vivid and that you could picture. The music had more of a meaning. There are still some rappers doing this today and here are three of the newest rappers that have that old school feel to them.
Dave East is a new rapper that stepped on the scene in recent years. He has the bars that most rappers from the past feel are missing from the game today. He has worked with some heavyweights from the past like Cam’Ron, Jim Jones and The Game. He is also signed by Nas, which gives him more credibility with rappers from the past.
Joey Bada$$ is another rapper from New York. He has what you’re looking for when you want to talk about a rapper that translates to the past. He has a soulful sound, he has bars and he can tell stories. But, he does not have that one hit that most people know him for. He is an all-around solid rapper that doesn’t use beats and repetitive lyrics to carry him through songs.
Don Mykel wraps up this list. He is also from New York. Mykel is a Tupac fan and an all-around fan of old school music and you can tell that from his music. He has the darkness of Mobb Deep with the introspective lyrics of a Nas that is refreshing to listen to. He is in tune with what is going on in the world while he still has the street smarts. It is reinvigorating to hear somebody that young be in touch with what went on in the history of black people in the world and still be able to maintain that street swagger.