We may never escape the unending battle of old heads versus the new wave.
In a new interview with MONTREALITY, Chicago-born, Miami-raised rapper Smokepurpp, one of the faces of the bass-heavy, distorted new wave of hip-hop, once again stoked the flames of controversy.
“Music is art,” Purpp begins, echoing a universally agreed upon statement. “There’s no specific way to make art. Art is art. You could grab a mic and fart on that shit and go viral. Like, you could really do anything. If that’s what you wanna do, do it. You can’t tell somebody not to do something… Honestly, like, nowadays everything is kind of a troll, so people do know it’s trolling. But, if you don’t, we don’t care.”
How quickly this took a turn for the worst, huh?
Smokepurpp is absolutely right, in some respects, regarding the subjectivity of music. True: a grimy boom bap track might not pique every music fan’s interest. Also true: no one can dictate an artist’s process, aside from the artist themselves. Thirdly true: in the current music climate, every viral moment could spawn or revive an entire music career.
Yet, none of these facts should serve as validation for trying as little as possible.
The incredible success of many younger artists, Smokepurpp included, is sending a clear message to aspiring kids: dreams are possible. But suggesting that you could fart on a microphone and go viral—which sadly isn't out of the realm of possibility—takes the artistry out of the art. There’s no reason for anyone to act as a gatekeeper, but there’s also nothing wrong with expecting an ounce of effort. Anything can be considered a work of art, but does that mean we should let everything slide?
Smokepurpp’s final sentiment—that everything is a troll now—is also worrisome, with the line between having a great time and turning hip-hop’s rich culture into a bit for Instagram clout becoming increasingly thin. Should new school participants begin to walk that line with a bit more poise, however, that’s when these debates will likely start to trend more in their favor.