Charles Hamilton is no stranger to controversy. To-a-fault honesty has been his main weapon in his battle against adversity and mental illness, and Hamilton is well aware of this. Hell, the opening line of his latest blog entry, “Used To,” reminds us that he used to be "aggressively blunt."
After addressing that truth, Charles went on to be...well, himself. He not-so-subtly labeled trap artists as “unsophisticated and ignorant,” and after proclaiming J Dilla to be the father of trap, he went on to write that the genre doesn't require much talent or wisdom.
I feel like trap doesn't require too much talent. Or wisdom.
Is this another case of “back in my day” mentality, or does Hamilton have a point? The short answer is: both.
At the risk of sounding like every other bitter Golden Age head clinging to the 90s, it’s not a coincidence that as the trap subgenre has gained popularity, we’ve seen countless artists reach success with less than a year of experience under their belt. When “All Gold Everything” was released, Trinidad James admitted that he only started rapping six months prior. The same can be said of Lil Yachty (even though he insists he’s not a rapper, which I agree with wholeheartedly), and countless others who have championed the, “I just recently started fuckin’ around with this whole rapping thing” approach. Understandably, this declaration of nonchalance has rappers like Charles Hamilton, who've spent years working on their music, justifiably salty.
On the flip side, many rap artists have taken the limited expectations of trap and stretched them into something impactful and engaging. Just a few short years ago, we were collectively losing our shit over Young Thug’s perceived blatant Lil Wayne impersonation. Today he’s putting out what some consider to be some of the most exciting and innovative music in the game. Metro Boomin has evolved from simplistic trap beatsmith into one of the most exciting producers of recent memory. Even Trinidad James has proven to be more than a one-hit wonder with a new album in the works and a new hit in “Thick.”
What has changed the most since the inception of trap - and what is often mistaken as a step backwards for the culture - is the timeline of artist development. In the past, most artists were only recognized by the masses after years of paying dues, honing skills, and learning valuable lessons about the industry. Now, social media has almost completely cut out the middle man, and seemingly anyone can get famous at any time simply for being entertaining. As I wrote previously, it’s not uncommon for a young artist to be catapulted into mainstream fame without so much as a single year of game experience in their back pocket.
So yes, Charles Hamilton is right. But he’s also wrong. If youngsters have the foresight and acumen to use the tools that are so abruptly placed at their disposal, even if their approach doesn't jive with the old head way of thinking, then dammit they deserve our respect.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.