On “Hot Nigga”, New York teen Bobby Shmurda name drops his friends as murderers and drug dealers. Most would consider this to be dry snitching, but it seems to have slipped past many people’s radar of what’s acceptable in a rap song. When listening to the song, there’s no remorse in Bobby’s voice. There’s no “but this ain’t the life you want to live” moment. There’s no “but this is all I know”. There’s only gratification. The song has already hit the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, fueled by it’s accompanying dance (a la Soulja Boy), even performed recently by the entire USA Basketball Team. The lyrics of the song raise a serious question about desensitization, what’s real life and what’s entertainment, and whether that matters at all.
Since he achieved mainstream success, Chief Keef’s enemies (Lil JoJo), cousin and step-brother have been killed. He’s been to jail and was featured on a Grammy nominated album (despite being derided by listeners and “Real Hip-Hop” supporters). Keef is in the middle between artists like Bobby Shmurda and Vince Staples, because the implications of his former street life and current lifestyle are very real and all throughout his music, he doesn’t have a remorse factor in what he claims to do or has actually done. This is somewhat disheartening because it shows not only what living in poverty and violence stricken neighborhoods can do to children, but the fact that after all that he’s been through, Keef has yet to wise up, and until he does, many fans won’t either.
Gangsta Rap is back although Gangsta life never left. All music is art and we can’t get upset with rappers rapping about what they have gone through, but what does it mean for the genre of rap (the new rock and pop of the last decade) when these lifestyles are sometimes glorified?