An Obituary For ‘Conscious Rap’ by Omar Burgess

Check out this dope piece written by Omar Burgess about ‘the death of conscious rap.’ I love his assessment and think you guys should read this.

via Hip Hop DX

I was listening to Til The Casket Drops—not necessarily mad at it, but definitely wishing it was more like Hell Hath No Fury—when I found Malice quoting scriptures and talking about watching Madagascar with his kids in a way that didn’t sound preachy or forced. I started wondering if Malice and Pusha T had stumbled upon some bastardized form of “Conscious Rap.” The Clipse have voiced their distaste for rhymes with heavy-handed messages over the years. But if this is the new standard for what’s conscious, I’m either glad Conscious Rap, as my generation knew it, is dead or interested to see who else will toss a few more shovels full of dirt on the casket [no pun intended].

Nearly everyone was familiar with Conscious Rap back in the ’90s. For those in the suburbs, or those of us in the hoods across America who were bussed to schools in the suburbs, it was a nice alternative to the N.W.A. cassettes that we had to hide from suspecting parents. I can remember beefing with my camp counselor—a bearded white guy who played acoustic guitar—for nearly a whole summer, until we discovered a mutual love of A Tribe Called Quest. Now this shared appreciation of “Verses From The Abstract” didn’t produce some deep moment where we both suddenly understood each other’s cultures. But it pretty much ran the gamut of what Conscious Rap was good for. At best, a song like “New World Water” is a talking point and semi-educational because it comes from a familiar source, as opposed to watching An Inconvenient Truth.


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