Competition is embedded in the foundation of hip-hop, but over the past 10 years, rap music has become more friendly and less contentious as countless artists have tried to emulate their peers, riding whatever wave is popular at the moment to fame and fortune.
Why try to outduel and best your fellow rapper when you can simply do whatever it is they are doing and reap the same reward?
During a recent interview with Paris outlet Clique.tv, Mac Miller was asked about competitiveness in hip-hop, and he took the opportunity to explain why following the industry's biggest stars isn't a healthy artistic practice.
"I try and not think about what other people are doing as much as possible," Miller said. "When I'm worrying about what Kendrick is doing or what Drake is doing or what Chance is doing, it stops you from focusing on what you're doing. The 15-year-old hip-hop cypher junkie in me will always be competitive when it comes to rap."
Beyond competing with one another, in 2017, artists are mainly (and critically) competing for consumer free time. It doesn't matter if Miller's fans also listen to any of the aforementioned A-list artists. What does matter, though, is if Miller's fans choose to enjoy on-demand video or social networking or porn instead of listening to his music.
Competition still exists within hip-hop—just not between the artists.