Hashtag trend robs artists' powerful lyricism: Hip-Hop Weekly

Posted by Jenna Postler

Do you ever struggle to make comparisons in your speech and accidentally leave the ‘like,' or ‘as' out of your metaphors and similes?

Let's say you're trying to explain that something is expensive. Would you say, "prices steep…stairs?" You probably wouldn't. It just doesn't sound right.

Although in colloquial English, this might sound strange, as of late, it has become quite common in hip-hop.

This phenomenon of leaving out the crucial "like" or "as" from a simile or metaphor has a term within the hip-hop community: hashtag rap.

During a Nov. 2 interview with Funkmaster Flex on the radio station Hot 97, rapper Kanye West claimed to have started the fad.

West proposed that hashtag rap spawned from his 2007 song, "Barry Bonds."

On the chorus of the track, West raps, "Here's another hit…Barry Bonds," leaving out a connecting word between the noun and the baseball player.

While West claims to have started this style, examples of hashtag rap can be traced as far back as 2002.

Whether its true conception came from West's "Barry Bonds" or a previous song, hashtag rap has really taken off with the rise of popular rappers like Drake and Nicki Minaj.

Examples of hashtag rap in popular music include, "Swimmin' in the money, come and find me…Nemo," and "Hang it up…Flatscreen," rapped by Drake and Minaj, respectively.

Despite the varying opinions on these immensely popular artists, many agree that this style of rapping does nothing to further the genre.

Instead of becoming progressively more complex and talent-filled, the fad of hashtag rap robs artists' lyrics of their potential. By removing words from metaphors, hip-hop artists are making themselves look and sound ridiculous.

Essentially, hashtag rap serves only to dumb down the genre, discrediting rap as a form of expression.

The hashtag trend is quickly turning a genre once known for its powerful lyricism into a simple stream of words.

One can only hope that the fad of hashtag rap is only that - a fad – and not a permanently disfiguring presence within hip-hop that will leave ‘em scarred…leprosy.

Jenna Postler is a sophomore from rural Vt. who knows what's hip (hop) and can be heard from 2- 4 a.m. every Friday mornng on WSPN.

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