MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

All Gold Everything: The Age of the Swag Rapper

Old-school rap heads must be throwing their Timberland boots and FUBU coats at their computers in anger. The golden era of rap/hip-hop, in their minds, has officially come to an end. Radio stations no longer feature the type of boom bap rap and hard-edged performers that they’re used to hearing. Nowadays, you’re more likely to hear the latest Southern rapper spit game about how pretty his candy paint ride is when it glistens. YouTube features dozens of rappers who’d rather wax poetic about their bank account and how many diamond chains they can rock at one time.

It’s time to face facts, my G’s: the age of the swag rapper is in full swing. Case in point: Lil’ B. Wait, it doesn’t stop there! Soulja Boy. Trinidad James. Chief Keef. Tyga. Young, fresh, and fly dudes like these brothers flow a bit differently from their peers. They operate on a slow, sing-songy flow that the young folks gravitate to these days. Instead of going hard in the booth and tugging the mic as if it were a 9 MM, these “swag” rappers calmly bop their heads in nod to the beat as they recite simple rhymes off their smartphone.

Some say these rappers are lucky they even have a record deal. Those same folks say they’re flashes in the pan. One hit wonders. Products of an industry that seems to rely on producing hit records instead of producing genuine artists with genuine talent. These facts may (or may not) ring true with some, but these opinions seem to be more widespread at the moment.

The fans who actually back these swag rappers would beg to differ, though. These loyal backers defend their favorite rappers with a passion. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and try this: hop on Twitter and throw some negative Tweets in the direction of Lil’ B. Wait 5 minutes…Now take a look at your mentions section. Chances are some Tweeter with a screen name like “BasedGod #1” didn’t take to kindly to your snide comments. It kind of bugs me out when I see this type of trend myself.

Hey, it’s like this: different strokes for different folks. Some people love to bop to beats that sport trunk rattling 808’s that make you do your “I’m Rich, Bitch!” wrist dance. I’m just as guilty of this, too. Whenever “All Gold Everything” or “Rack City” comes on in the club, I lose all inhibitions and embarrass myself on the dance floor. These rappers and their content serve a worthy purpose if you think about it: folks love to go dumb in the club to songs with simple lyrics backed by catchy soundscapes.

Lyrics about how big one’s mansion is or how many haters one seemingly believes he/she has is now commonplace. Sure, there are plenty of lyrical daredevils who still exist. You want bars, son? Check for Kendrick Lamar. Pac Div. Rapsody. Lupe Fiasco. Joey Bada$$. They rap about anything and everything, plus they make it sound good. Thought provoking music still exists, it’s just harder to find.

For now, I’ve come to grips with these flashy rappers. At the end of the day, they make the type of music that some may be embarrassed to say they enjoy. Plenty of youngsters hop on the Internet and mimic the flows of their favorite swag rappers. Don’t grimace your face at the sight of a music video starring a shirtless Lil’ Reese. He might not be rapping about anything at all, but his material is probably keeping a club popping.

Swag rap is running rampant. Don’t be embarrassed to admit it, people. You actually enjoy some of this shit. I’m sure you’ll be reciting the lyrics to “Cash Out” the next time you’re in the shower.

Don’t believe me, just watch…


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About the Author


Elton Jones (no relation to the guy who sings "Bennie and The Jets") is a huge fan of rap, hip-hop and R&B. His favorite artists range from golden era rap crews such as A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, to today's current rap stars like Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar. Elton appreciates every facet of the urban music genre and follows the major developments that are made within the industry. Elton obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Saint Augustine's College in 2010. With his degree in hand, he now looks to make a lasting impact in the world of music journalism. He also hopes to attend a SXSW and Rock The Bells concert someday.

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Posted in: Hip Hop Music


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