Fabolous doesn't have a problem with the current wave of new generation rappers who sport colorful dreads. He has a problem with new generation rappers who believe that, in order to be seen and heard by the masses, they must hop on the colorful dread bandwagon.
"People are just trying to be successful so they're copying the last success. But when everybody gotta look like this, everybody gotta have colorful dreads, that's where it goes wrong," Fabolous told Mass Appeal. "This is not against colorful dreads, it's about everybody trying to have colorful dreads so they can fit in so that you could look at them so they can be accepted."
Unlike in 2001, when Fabolous broke into hip-hop with his debut album, Ghetto Fabolous, the actual music made by rappers today has taken a backseat to the portrayal of their lifestyle on social media.
In 2001, artists could still be considered successful if they were heard and not seen. In 2017, an artist needs "cultural relevancy," a term that encompasses a large following across multiple social media platforms and the ability to constantly be a part of the conversation—even if that conversation has next to nothing to with the music.
In fairness to today's rising rap stars, imitation—which is the most sincere form of flattery—has always been part and parcel of hip-hop success. Rappers from the '90s bit rappers from the '80s, rappers from the '00s bit rappers from the '90s and so on. Furthermore, while there was no Instagram or Twitter during hip-hop's golden age, rappers have always put an emphasis on image and style, even if it meant riding a popular wave. Did we ever point a finger at all the rappers who rocked Chicago White Sox fitteds after Dr. Dre popularized the cap by wearing it in the video for "Deep Cover' in 1992?
Historically, dying one's hair has been the go-to move to literally stand out from the crowd. Now? It's positioned as the go-to move to fit in, which is why youngsters like Lil Uzi Vert, Rich The Kid, Lil Pump, Famous Dex and Trippie Redd continue to be lumped in as one group of largely interchangeable artists. What they don't realize, though, is the best way to fit in—and to stay in—is to stand out from the rest of crowd.