After reading this weeks reading, “Collaborations and Congratulations: Navigating the Grammy Crossover”, I immediately agreed with the underlying theme Ann Powers was telling. Kendrick Lamar is by far one of my favorite artists of all time. Watching him lose to Macklemore was definitely a huge let down, considering the biggest reason he won from my opinion was because of his racial identity and how his big hits blew up at the right time for his career (Same Love, during the R74 Washington campaign). Nonetheless however, I understand that each rapper goes through tremendous trials and difficulties to get to where they’re at, especially rappers being recognized at the Grammys. Macklemore is also a hometown hero in my opinion. He may not be able to speak on behalf of all hip-hop in Seattle but getting a grammy definitely puts Seattle on the map. I used to listen to a lot of his old music and I really like how he doesn’t try to be somebody he’s not in his music. In this case I can’t hate on Macklemore and his success. But it does hurt knowing that Kendrick produced one of the greatest hip-hop albums out there and didn’t receive the proper recognition it got from America. It was just bad timing I guess. The song I am posting to go with this is the song “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar. I’m choosing to add this in because the song brings in so much raw emotion and vivid imagery. The fact that it is about an ordinary day for Kendrick Lamar simply makes it that much more incredible that he is alive to present it in the manner. Macklemore could never do it like this.
Continuing from the “Collaborations and Congratulations: Navigating the Grammy Crossover” article, the Grammys also left out one of the biggest Emcees of the east coast, Nas. In my opinion, his latest album “Life is Good” was overlooked and not given enough credit. The thing about Nas is that he sort of resembles Kendrick Lamar, rather, Kendrick Lamar resembles Nas as in, Kendrick Lamar is the west coast version of Nas. Every rapper presents their own creative touch to how they rap. Kendrick and Nas both adapt a very story like telling version of rap and both relate their music to the struggles they have dealt with growing up as well as just life in general as a black man who grew up raised in poverty and around gangs. These two could talk about topics Macklemore could never relate to. While Macklemore didn’t necessarily grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth, he didn’t grow up in deep poverty levels like Nas and Kendrick. Growing up in the streets and getting away from it to present a story and turn those sad dark times into a work of art are what create a true masterpiece. They keep it real and respect their past, accepting it’s difficulties and admitting to mistakes. The great thing about the story telling is that they don’t upfront say what they mean either. Most of the time the listener must dissolve a bar and filter it through a different sort of mindset. Who they are and where they come from gives them a bigger platform to express difficult times that maybe ordinary people can never relate to, or even have the chance to speak on behalf of. Again going back on privilege, its not Macklemore’s fault that he didn’t grow up that way. But for the sake of the genre, if artist like Nas and Kendrick keep getting pushed back by the critics, then the deep sounding storytelling aspect of hip-hop will never get the attention it deserves, and the media will continuing putting out the catchy, degrading genre America just seems to enjoy. This song is similar to Money Trees. Nas goes through a series of events Macklemore wouldn’t be able to relate to. Incredible Hip-Hop that went totally unappreciated.