Young Thug is not Tupac: Stop Comparing Artists

“I miss old hip hop.”

“Why can’t music be like how it was back then?”

I’m a little fed up with statements such as these, and I’ll explain why. But first we have to understand that everyone comes from different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. As we age, we are constantly changing our preferences and growing as individuals should. Music culture works the same way—and hip hop is no exception to this evolution of production. Yes, we all miss Nas, Tupac, Biggie, Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, Eric B. & Rakim, the list goes on. These artists were and are great, and they will continue to be great. In fact, we wouldn’t have much of the music industry today if it weren't for their prominent influence on music and mainstream culture in general. But does that mean we should hold every current artist to their standard, or even worse… compare them to people in music today?

Absolutely not.

Music is constantly developing right before our eyes. How can we say Kendrick Lamar is “better” than Lil Uzi, or that Kid Cud is more talented than Future? Cardi B and Lauryn Hill? All of these artists are so wonderfully different from one another, each with their own brand and their own image.

Hip-hop in and of itself constitutes of several sub-genres that serve as just another reason as to why we should stop comparing artists. The purpose of each sub-genre is completely different to the next. A lot of the rap that was popular in the 2000s had a different message than the rap that is played today. Some music in particular isn’t meant to have a deep underlying message, and that’s okay. Some listeners won’t like that kind of style, but others will. Hip-hop is riding a new wave, and once that crashes, it will ride a new wave after that one.

Why would we want every hip hop artist to sound like Tupac anyway? Instead, we should be applauding the artists that are constantly pushing themselves to stand out and produce different sounds. Just as we encourage individuality within ourselves, we should do the same with art.

Photo credits: cover, 1, 2, 3