The war between hip-hop purists and the new generation of trap artists has been in full swing over the past couple years. The last major clash was 21 Savage and Waka Flocka vs. Pete Rock. The legendary producer condemned the drug culture in hip-hop in an Instagram post which targeted Waka Flocka – who clapped back. 21 Savage and TI eventually entered the discussion, which has settled since then. Now Chicago rapper Famous Dex, a veritable rogue soldier, tossed a molotov into his own trenches by implying that the genre-bending trap that he and peers like Lil Uzi Vert create is not “real music.”
In a recent Montreality interview, Dex gushed about Jay-Z’s lyrical gifts, echoing sentiments he aired the night that 4:44 was released. He said Jay-Z’s lyrically-dense catalog makes you want to “get your grown man on,” while his energetic brand of trap compels listeners to “shake dreads” and turn up. He then says, “if you want to listen to real music, go listen to 4:44, go listen to DAMN., go listen to Mary J. Blige, go listen to Nas” and adds “what we do is just entertainment, we’re just havin’ fun.” I’ve heard of backhanded compliments, but somehow Dex performed the inverse by biggin’ up vets while shading himself and other peers.
While I’m sure Jay, Kendrick and Mary would appreciate the kudos, it does no good to imply that what he and other young artists are doing isn’t “real music,” whatever that arbitrary term means. It sounds like he was stating a corollary of the legitimate talking point that music like his, Lil Pump’s and Uzi’s is best enjoyed in a more “fun” setting than most of 4:44 or Mary J. Blige’s catalog. That’s true, and many agree that the veterans Dex mentioned are more skilled in their craftthann many trap rappers, but that doesn’t mean Dex’s sound isn’t “real music.”
In fact, the sound that young rappers are gravitating to is an impressive blend of hip-hop, R&B, electronic, and even rock that legitimizes hip-hop’s musicality and evolutionary capabilities – when done right. Hopefully someone gets with the youngin’ to unpack his take further – and tell him to keep his hands to himself.