Saturday, June 6, 2009

Street Cred May Not Be Necessary

My 23-year old brother is visiting for the next few days and I sat down with him the other night and listened to Rick Ross's "Deeper Than Rap". As we got deeper into the album I found myself truly enjoying the album to which my brother says "Man, that nigga a cop". After I explained to him that many correctional officers are no longer considered law enforcement because most jails in America are now privately owned and operated by outside government agencies, he still was like"I still don't believe him".

Street credibility used to be the end all, be all in Hip-Hop. If you were discovered to be a fraud, your career was over. We've seen thousands of rappers fall victim to inflated egos and phony stories about their pasts. From Vanilla Ice to Boss to Ross (wow the irony), one inconsistency in your life story or piss off a writer doing a piece about you and your next album is dead on arrival in stores.

Over the past few years, thanks to the net, even my 10 year old son can access SouljahBoyTellem's grades in elementary school. There's also the fact that so many more rappers are coming from a pool of a much larger middle class background into receiving more respect from the street that this question may no longer be needed to be asked:

"Is Street Credibility even needed anymore?"
Now for the sake of full disclosure, I will say that I think Ross's latest album is damn near classic by southern standards. The production is great on nearly every track and at times Ross shows some flashes of good lyricism. Now with that said, can any self respecting Hip Hop fan honestly believe anything he's saying? I mean if you listened to 70% of the stuff out there now could you really believe it? Maybe the movie "CB4" has made me cynical towards alot of these rappers but there's always some truth in jest.
"Only live once and I got 2 kids/ If I need to feed them then I'll get 2 gigs
I'll shovel shit, I'll C.O. / so we can bow our heads and pray over the meatloaf"
-Rick Ross "Valley of Death"
No body's (except Eminem) has ever dissed Will Smith for his style and nonexistence of street cred because he never fronted like he moved kilos or shot anyone. So why after all these years are we getting so wrapped up into whether or not a rapper is real? Remember Wayne didn't get shot, he mistakenly shot himself, but we hold him in high regard as a street credible artist. Don't let lack of credibility hold you back from enjoying dope music.
By the way this is in no way a defense of Rick Ross because I don't believe him for a Wall Street second. I don't see nothing wrong with having a job before rap but if it comes out, man up and admit it. I'll respect you more than if you just deny it when the proof has been shown.
You gotta remember that the streets are watching more than ever. Keep ya nose clean, and keep ya rhymes honest. Hip-Hop is more open minded than ever so there's no need to front. The late MC Breed once said "There ain't no future in ya fronting" and more than a decade later it still rings true.
Well to a certain extent.....

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