This is one of those who came first between the chicken and the egg conversations but it's very necessary. The truth is, success in hip hop has moved from strong lyrical ability to catchy hooks and random phrases that sound cool to recite. This is not only a local phenomenon but a plight that affects hip hop across the globe. A prime example is the joint Panda, it was literally the hip hop soundtrack for a good two months, yet nobody could actually decipher the contents of the joint.
Cassper Nyovest touched on the issue, saying that emcees were chilling, lyrically, prior to Nasty C coming onto the scene. He's quoted as saying,"not that the songs we were putting out were whack but nobody was trying to prove that they could rap." Basically admitting that actual lyrical skill was not the prime focus for a while, yet he is arguably the most popular artist in the country with hits that are still celebrated to this day.
This begs the question: who is to blame for the death of lyricism? Is it the artists or the hip hop audience? The "obvious" answer is the artists, right? Because it's their craft and they have the responsibility of directing the sound of hip hop. But if the audience vibes to mumble rap more than it does to more lyrically-geared joints then the former will flourish at the expense of the latter, it's simple demand and supply.
So I guess the question to ask here is, does the audience actually care that lyricism is on the decline? Do you want to see more skill in how the bars are written and delivered? Or should we just keep embracing the direction that hip hop is taking?
Get in the comments section, let me know what you think.