w unsurprising things happened on Logic’s and Eminem’s “Homicide.” If you’re unfamiliar, the song from Logic’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind recently dropped to the unbridled joy of both purists and basement dwellers who use rappity-rap to assert faux superiority over others in society.
For one, Logic and Em rapped their asses off. On second thought, the song was next up in a long line of ho-hum joints that do little more than lambast the current rap scene, albeit in a technically impressive way.
But by committing lyrical murders on wax, Logic and Em are part of the backpacker crowd Hip Hop’s bar by making it about inferior music.
They’re not wrong; a sizable chunk of today’s Hip Hop sucks. Mumble rap remains largely subpar. The ire of studious lyricists like Bobby Tarantino and Slim Shady at the current crop of rappers getting shine is understandable. And, it’s not simply a generational gap, as Justin Bieber would have people believe.
And yet, we’ve heard all this before. Eminem spent much of Kamikaze going after underwhelming MCs, most notably on “Not Alike” featuring red-blooded lyricist Royce Da 5’9”. It was already played out then (Nas declared Hip Hop “dead” for a lack of creativity and lyricism way back in 2006) and Logic and Marshall are beating a dead horse by bemoaning the state of rap. “And I dare you to test me/’Cause not a single one of you motherfuckers impress me/And maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration/But I’m full of innovation,” Logic spits.
Ironically, there’s nothing innovative about this track. It wouldn’t be fair to single out Logic and Eminem, because there are a host of “I’m so lyrical” MCs who seem to think that being better than wack MCs, or rather, rapping about being better than wack MCs, makes for great music. In reality, all this flexing and complaining does is lower Hip Hop’s bar, because great lyricism used to only be half the battle. Once upon a time, Eminem was lauded for his storytelling, biting social commentary and unapologetic wit delivered through mind-bending bars. If the focus has shifted to dwelling on inferior rap, we’re missing out on components that helped make Hip Hop the No. 1 genre in the world.
To be fair, Logic is still well known for his honesty and integrity on the mic. Still, he’s detracting from his artistry with “Homicide.” Bars spent crying about the state of rap are a waste of breath. Don’t like the state of Hip Hop? Do what Kendrick Lamar does, and raise the bar with brilliant storytelling and outstanding concepts. And no matter how one feels about J. Cole’s production, one can’t deny how thought-provoking his floetry is.
The old adage of “be the change you want to see in the world” applies here. If rappers are tired of the status quo, they should raise up Hip Hop rather than spend so much time putting it down.
Because as much as purists want this approach to be effective, it still didn’t prevent Haiti Babii from going viral.