Dumbing Down: Music That Is (As It Pertains To Hiphop)

Webster’s online dictionary defines the word ‘dumb’ as:

: lacking some usual attribute or accompaniment; especially: having no means of self-propulsion dumb barge>
: lacking intelligence: STUPID b : showing a lack of intelligence dumb questions>
: not having the capability to process data dumb terminal> -- compare

With that said, I have a question…

When your favorite rappers say, they’ve been ‘dumbing down’ their lyrics over the years; What does that relay to you the listener that may be sophisticated enough to not have someone have to speak to you like you're dumb? What is he/she really saying?

As a person that enjoys an artist because of the integrity of their work on record how do you feel knowing that the person you like will change for these 'not so keen' people of the population, depriving you of his/her full artistic potential?

I thought about it…

Ultimately, I don't think it's about ‘dumbing down’ anything. I think it's about making music that is universal for the most part and perhaps having varying levels of complexity within it. But never making, ‘dumb’ music. The term 'dumbing down' in my opinion is alternative to saying I'm releasing assembly line music that I really put in no effort to make. Countless artists have created simple songs that were not, ‘dumb’ and were extremely successful. I don’t have to run down the names. Seems to me though that the term ‘dumbing down’ in many cases, suspiciously rears it’s ugly mug when an artist is on the defensive, being challenged and or has his/her card pulled for deviating from what fans know is their original style or the sudden lack potency in their music. At times artists resort to jumping on a short lived or well established trend hoping to garner more support or so called broaden their audience. All in all, the artist is making a very huge statement about the masses that are listening to their music. He/she is saying that the majority of you all are lacking intelligence. Those of you that are capable of comprehending what he/she is saying are the minority and aren’t important enough to continue creating music for because they need to do what it takes to reach the majority (sell albums). Lastly, he or she is not intelligent enough to create music in a manner in which the populous can be reached, resulting in a jaded attitude towards making music (and the notorious, ‘industry’) and spewing forth, blanketed negative statements about those that actually support their paychecks. Yes, I do think calling your audience dumb is in fact negative and displays your not so ‘high’ level of thinking.

Next time you see your favorite artist that’s admitted to ‘dumbing down’ their music, ask him/her if they think you’re dumb, stupid or both.


Writers, how about you lay off of the Young Jeezies, Joc's and others that you feel so strongly about, in how horrible you think their music is. Consider using that energy to illuminate a path for some of those artists that you feel are up to par and are either underrated or just plain unknown. The best way to elevate the standard is not by trying to force the lesser skilled to make music beyond their capability, but to support the efforts of those who are outstanding in their field and tell the world about them so that listeners may hear for themselves and be able to compare, contrast and make an assessment of their very own.

Don't complain, affect change beeshes!

Download - 'Dumb It Down' by Lupe Fiasco


Anonymous said...

agreed... by complaining about there wackness we simply bring more attention to them... when we should be bringing more praise to the people who deserve the attention

Adam said...

It was Mahatma Gandhi who once said "we must become the change we wish to see in the world." This applies to all things, Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop journalism included. Complaining does nothing but breed more contempt. If you're an artist just make good music, and if you're a writer use more of your energy to talk about the good things going on in the culture. I understand as a critic myself sometimes we must talk about the bad things that need changing, but there needs to be a healthy balance between the negative articles and the positive ones.