There’s been a lot of chatter lately about the vanishing act pulled on conscious hip-hop, also known as backpack rap. During a recent interview, a veteran artist shared his belief that this subgenre was intentionally suppressed because of its positive impact on the community.

The artist argued that the positive and enlightening messages conveyed by conscious hip-hop were targeted and systematically erased. This genre, he suggested, was raising the community’s frequency and made people more conscious, something that apparently didn’t sit well with certain powers. The absence of current artists who fit the mold of legends like Common and Mos Def was noted. While there are a few playing in this space, the genre seems largely wiped out.

There’s a narrative that today’s hip-hop landscape is dominated by more aggressive and sometimes destructive themes. The drill scene, which glorifies violence and crime, seems to be the new wave, taking over multiple cities. The more positive, thought-provoking hip-hop that made listeners reflect on their lives and the world seems to be a thing of the past.

Reflecting on how older hip-hop provided gateways to deeper messages, there’s a longing for the balance it once provided. Artists like Talib Kweli, early Kanye, and Mos Def offered a blend of charisma and edge while promoting introspection and self-awareness. Even though mainstream hip-hop had its share of negative themes, it also provided messages that could elevate one’s spirit and consciousness.

The current trend, however, paints a different picture. The portrayal of men with sagging pants, flaunting weapons, and emphasizing materialism and violence is dominating the scene. This perception rap is seen by some as dangerous because it promotes a lifestyle that leads to real-world consequences like crime and imprisonment.

There’s also a belief that the music industry, understanding the powerful influence of music, has shifted its focus to promote lower vibrational content. Historically, positive messages in music—from Tupac’s calls for social justice to Bob Marley’s anthems of unity—have had significant impacts, especially on young listeners.

The argument goes that this shift is part of a broader system of oppression aiming to keep marginalized communities at a disadvantage. By promoting negative influences and suppressing empowering music, it’s easier to maintain control and prevent these communities from upliftment.

It’s worth noting that listening to positive, uplifting music can have real benefits, much like speaking kindly to a plant. Music that promotes creativity and intellectualism, like the battle rap scene, can inspire and elevate one’s spirit. On the other hand, the current drill rap trend is criticized for accompanying negative behaviors like drug use and promoting a destructive lifestyle.

While there are still artists like Locksmith who deliver meaningful messages, they are often older and not representative of the youth. There’s a scarcity of young artists taking up the mantle of conscious hip-hop, leaving a void in the music scene. The hope is for a resurgence of this thoughtful and impactful genre to inspire future generations once more.

The decline of conscious hip-hop appears to be more than just a shift in musical tastes; it seems to be a systematic attempt to suppress a genre that promoted positive and empowering messages. As the landscape of hip-hop continues to evolve, the need for balance and thoughtful content becomes more apparent.

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