You decide to look up a popular song that you like to listen to or watch a documentary on a popular artist. You read a few negative comments stating that the artist was a negative influence. You feel frustrated because you know the commenter didn’t thoroughly do their research before making his statement. Comments like these are often directed towards modern music artists. These comments are more likely to come from the older generation, but that isn’t always the case.
Modern music has a poor reputation because of the selection of music that is chosen to be pushed into the mainstream. One cannot deny that a good portion of modern mainstream music lacks substance. A good amount of it consists of topics that aren’t considered moral, such as illegal activity, drugs, and bragging about money. The music industry often pushes music with these topics, and there are many theories why. A simple YouTube search will show theories ranging from the illuminati, artists selling their souls, etc. Some say that the reason is that the industry pushes this type of music is because it sells, and music that has lyrical substance doesn’t sell well. Critics claim that excuse isn’t valid because whatever the industry pushes will sell, so they get to choose what type of music is popular.
Complaints against modern mainstream music is nothing new and has been going on for decades. Jazz music was controversial in the 1920s and was called the devil’s music. Rock-and-roll was controversial in the 1950s. Hip hop and Pop music is controversial today. Because of the association of negativity with modern music, there are music artists that get labeled as another negative pop star or mumble rapper with no substance. Here is a list of misunderstood modern music artists.
Nle Choppa was born as Bryson Potts in Memphis, Tennessee. Nle Choppa has been making rap songs since he was at least 16 years old. Nle Choppa is known for his aggressive beats and energetic rapping style. He received multiple offers from record labels and turned them down so that he could own his music. He eventually signed a deal with Warner Records. Nle Choppa’s songs are often criticized for promoting violence and other negative actions, however, his positive songs are often ignored.
In an interview, Nle Choppa stated he was going through depression because of problems in his life. He claimed he cured himself through meditative practices. Nle Choppa put out an album that consists of conscious rap songs. For those of you that don’t know what conscious rap is here is the definition. Conscious rap is rap music that has a message about issues in society. The album is called From Dark to Light. Many of the songs on his album are about his personal struggles, how he grew, and how he uses meditation to solve his problem. He has a YouTube channel called Awakened Choppa, where he shares the information that he learned.
Nle Choppa credited a youtuber called soLLUMINATI as his source of information. Unfortunately, Nle Choppa’s From Dark to Light album only sold 6,000 units during its first week, which is a low number for an artist of his caliber. Since his album didn’t do well, Nle Choppa still has the image of a mumble rapper without substance to many people. Perhaps in the future more people will know about this side of Nle Choppa. If you want to support his album, you can download his songs off of iTunes or order the cd online.
Even if you don’t listen to hip hop, there is a good chance that you heard of XXXTentacion. He was born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy in Plantation, Florida on January 23, 1998. In an interview he stated he released his first song to SoundCloud in 2014. He made music for about six years before he was unfortunately murdered. XXXTentacion was a controversial artist that made many mistakes in his life, but was killed before he could fully grow.
XXXTentacion states in an interview that he was in multiple violent altercations in his childhood. He informed the interviewer that when he was 6 years old, he almost stabbed a man for trying to hurt his mother. He was expelled from middle school for fighting, and he eventually dropped out of high school in tenth grade to focus on establishing his music career. In 2015 XXXTentacion was charged with committing home invasion, robbery, and aggravated battery. XXXTentacion posted his song “Look at Me” on SoundCloud. This song slowly, but steadily became more popular until the song peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 2017. XXXTentacion was no longer an underground artist and reached mainstream status. Even after this success, XXXTentacion knew he could accomplish more, so he released several more songs that would appear on the Billboard Hot 100.
Because of XXXTentacion’s history of violence and some of his most famous songs not being categorized as conscious rap, but made for clubs leads some people to believe that he was just another no substance mumble rapper. Anyone that does research on the life journey of XXXTentacion will see that many of his songs had a message and consisted of him expressing his emotions. A good amount of his songs are based on life experiences such as “Jocelyn Flores” and “the remedy for a broken heart”. These songs have a message, and many of his fans say that some of his songs help with their depression because they can relate to the songs. XXXTentacion posts videos on YouTube telling his fans to do good in society. He let people know he was on a path of growth and changing his ways. Unfortunately, XXXTentacion was murdered on June 18, 2018, by being shot in the neck multiple times.
Despite how long and how many times Kodak Black has been in jail, he is still popular in the hip hop community. Kodak Black is regarded as a controversial figure because of statements that he made leading to him deleting his Instagram and Twitter accounts. Even with these issues, his music continues to sell, and he didn’t lose popularity. Kodak Black was born Dieuson Octave in Florida in 1997. Kodak Black stated he was rapping since his childhood. Kodak Black recorded music while he was attending elementary school, however, his music was never released to the public until later.
Beginning in fifth grade, Kodak Black went through a series of legal troubles. When he was in fifth grade, he got expelled for getting into a fight on school premises. Kodak Black later found himself in trouble again in middle school when he was arrested for auto theft. Kodak Black joined various local rap groups such as Kolyons and Brutal Youngnz. It wasn’t until 2013 when Kodak Black went public with his music. Within 2 years, Kodak Black’s music would grow in popularity to the point that Drake shared his music online. Eventually Kodak Black was featuring songs with Future and Jeezy. Kodak Black has secured a spot in mainstream hip hop.
In parallel with his success, he was going through a series of legal battles. To name a few of the criminal charges brought against him was marijuana possession, violating house arrest, weapon possession in 2016, and weapon possession again in 2019. The constant criminal charges along with some of his songs lacking a message make many people think of him as a mumble rapper. Kodak Black’s music has the sound that many southern rappers have such as Future and young thug. Many of his more popular songs fall in the category of mumble rap, however, he has songs that aren’t as known that have a message. One example of a song that Kodak Black has with a message is “Malcolm X.X.X”. In the song, he touches on many problems with society. Another example of a song that he has with a message is “Too Many Years”. This song is based on his life experience.
Even though Kodak Black hasn’t done good things in the past, it seems like he is learning from his mistakes as he goes. Some positive things that he has done include paying for the funeral of Kendrick Castillo, who died saving people during the 2019 stem shooting. He even has a scholarship of 10,000 dollars for a student that is attending college. Hopefully Kodak Black continues going down a positive path. We will see what he does in the future.
Rod Wave is a relatively new rapper that recently made it into the mainstream. If you aren’t into the hip hop world, you might not know who he is, but as time goes on, he seems to get more popular. Rod Wave was born Rodarius Marcell Green in St. Petersburg, Florida on August 27, 1999. Rod Wave started releasing music in 2018. In 2019 he released his song “Heart On Ice” which was his first song to go viral. His song went viral on TikTok and gained millions of views on YouTube. Eventually the song peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following this release, he released multiple other songs that would be successful, such as “Rags2Riches”. Rod Wave was on the XXL’s 2020 Freshman Class. He stated he was inspired by Kanye West and Chingy. He recently released an album called “SoulFly”. Polo G is featured on the album.
The first time listening to his music he might sound like a mumble rapper, or he might sound like an R&B singer rather than a rapper. It is true that his music has singing in it, however, his songs also include hip hop elements. Rod Wave rarely features other artists on his songs because he says that his songs are based on his life experiences. This shows that he isn’t a mumble rapper because his songs have meaning, and the lyrics are about his trials and tribulations in life. For example, Rod Wave was in a car crash and almost died. He wrote about the experience in his song “Through the Wire”. It is interesting to see what songs Rod Wave’s next album will comprise.
These are just a few rappers that are often labeled as mumble rappers, but aren’t. Some critics claim mumble rap has no meaning and is a negative influence. There are some mumble rappers that say that they aren’t attempting to promote illegal activity. For example, in one interview 21 Savage stated he isn’t trying to promote illegal activity and violence he is just rapping about his life growing up. Another angle that you could look at mumble rap is that the illegal activity and violence in the content is just an expression of how these rappers grew up rather than promoting it. What do you think about this new generation of mainstream rap often called “mumble rap”? Do you think it is a negative influence? Do you think lyrical rap should replace mumble rap? What are your thoughts on this topic? Let me know in the comments below.
Caldwell, Brandon. “How Meditation Changed NLE Choppa’s Life.” HipHopDX, HipHopDX, 10 Sept. 2020, hiphopdx.com/news/id.57588/title.how-meditation-changed-nle-choppas-life#.
Cole, Alexander. “NLE Choppa Reacts To Selling 6K First Week.” HotNewHipHop, HotNewHipHop, 14 Nov. 2020, www.hotnewhiphop.com/nle-choppa-reacts-to-selling-6k-first-week-news.121264.html.
“Awakened Choppa.” YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/channel/UCso1a1_F6V-1AF5VwHW9XGQ/videos.
Burford, Corinna. “The Complete History of XXXTentacion’s Controversial Career.” Vulture, Vulture, 19 June 2018, www.vulture.com/2018/06/a-complete-timeline-xxxtentacions-controversial-career.html.
Hopkins, Anna. “A Timeline of Kodak Black’s Legal Troubles.” Miami New Times, 4, 8 Oct. 2020, www.miaminewtimes.com/music/a-timeline-of-kodak-blacks-arrests-alleged-crimes-and-other-legal-troubles-11178496.
“Kodak Black: Biography & History.” AllMusic, www.allmusic.com/artist/kodak-black-mn0003450213/biography.
“Rod Wave Biography, Age, Height, Weight, Girlfriend, Family, Wiki & More.” Today’s Famous Celebrity Birthdays, www.celebrityborn.com/biography/rod-wave/17269.