What real Hip-Hop really is

This post is not about Benzes or Cuban links or Gucci Bandanas or Icey Rolex watches. This is about representing a culture authentically to the max.  It has been asked over and over again, argued and fought about all over the internet: “What is real Hip-hop and how can it be identified?”

Hip-hop has a very specific history and evolution with its own desperados, champions, legends, achievements and defeats. Like the culture of any native people, Hip-Hop deserves to be represented accurately by people who love the culture or have taken the time to study it thoroughly.

Before getting down to what real is let me define Hip-Hop.

Hip-Hop is diverse, like every other culture in existence, it is cyphering to a beat box or with no beats, speaking in slangs listeners can decipher, break dancers breaking it down into body steps, making music with records and putting together songs without any real equipment or formal musical education, dirty hoods and street colloquialism, and most of all Hip-hop is about fashion.


– Emceeing

– Breakdancing

– Graffiti Art

– Fashion

Hip Hop is a cultural expression.

What is considered real Hip-Hop?

As far as Hip-Hop is concerned one person cannot be “more real” than another. The answer most people give in their attempt to sound sophisticated is that Hip-hop is different to each person’s personal taste. Diverse people call the music they listen to “real hip-hop” so they can say music other people listen to isn’t as “real” just so they can reinforce egotistical “elitist listener of real Hip-hop” and what not. But to me, anything that is Hip-Hop is Hip-Hop. The only time an artist who considers him/herself Hip-Hop shouldn’t be taken seriously is when they’re more pop-sounding, like Pitbull or Nicki Minaj and even at that, Nicki comes through with the bars on days she decides to go hard.

It’s a vicious cycle of subjective elitism that really has no end and changes with each person’s poorly thought out opinion on what real Hip-hop is, mostly by men who have never felt the warmth of a woman. Other genres music is either called trash and it is called a day but with Hip-Hop there seems to be bad blood. Real Hip-Hop isn’t simply just a genre, it’s a way of life; taking in all the ideas you can and being aware of your surroundings and trying to better yourself as an artist, its vivid storytelling based on a true story,  or untrue, but severed as Rick Ross serves his pseudo drug dealer life after being a CO(People believe him haha).

Hip-Hop is showing the world Life isn’t as easy as it seems, it is putting the struggle on a map.

Real Hip-Hop has to do with respecting the culture and respecting the craft. The content can vary because some of the best records of all time were gangster records, some were conscious, etc. But the foundation is a love of the culture, respect for lyricism and songwriting. When you look at some of the main culprits of “whack Hip-Hop,” they usually lack that respect for the culture and don’t even care about putting effort into their lyricism.

Five greatest artists of their category that represent what Hip-hop is (In my own opinion)

(the 2000s)

1) Immortal Technique

2) Common

3) Mos Def

4) Eyedea

5) Talib Kweli

(Others include: Canibus, Cage, and Brother Ali …


1) Big L

2) Nas

3) Tupac

4) Biggie

5) Eminem

(Others include: Ice Cube, Chino XL, Jadakiss, Big Pun, Busta Rhymes, and Aceyalone)

(Old School Hip-Hop)

1) Rakim

2) KRS-One

3) Guru

4) Big Daddy Kane

5) Kool G Rap

Others include LL Cool J, Masta Ace, Slick Rick, and Ras Kass…

Rap Duos

-Wu-Tang Clan

– N.W.A

– BlackStar

– Blackalicious

– Pete Rock & CL Smooth

– Mobb Deep.

– Eric B. & Rakim



(Beastie Boys, Run D.M.C, Outerspace, the Roots, Gang Starr, Cypress Hill, Little Brother)

What is Real Hip-hop in Nigeria?

Real Hip-Hop in Nigeria is still determined by the aforementioned culture since it was found based on its study. Not caring much about the language any Nigerian rap artist chooses as long as it remains about the skill, the mentality, the love for the game and the fashion. Some people tend to say rap act isn’t real enough due to the content not being deep enough but there is also beauty in simplicity. Of course, there are levels to everything but at the end, it all boils down to it being solely about Hip-Hop as an individual brand and characterization.

There is no basis for real rap in Nigeria, I don’t hear it being argued about due to the fact that there are not so many people really rapping in Nigeria, or making music anyone might consider rap music, except for a select few individuals who really go hard for the culture. Not naming any names. What most people might consider Rap music in Nigeria will end up being a blend of Afro-beat or some other thing; I never know how to explain it. Hip-Hop has always been a competitive sport where every rapper claims to be.

Hip-Hop isn’t solely ours; it came from somewhere already defined, so no matter how we try to localise it the elements that make up Hip-Hop remains the same world over.


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