It's become trendy to log on to social media and complain aloud about the dearth of lyrical hip-hop currently being recognized by the masses, but according to veteran emcee Royce da 5'9", this behavior is rooted in a follower mentality, not reality.
"[Bars] never stopped mattering, but the conversation has just shifted," Royce told Billboard writer Carl Lamarre. "The uprising of sheeple is in full effect. With Twitter and all of that, the sheeple have a huge voice. We’re listening to the opinions of people who aren’t expressing their own opinions. We may be listening to people who don’t even know what they like. Imagine how many people go online to check out what they’re supposed to like."
Royce, who is fresh off the release of his latest solo album, Book of Ryan, believes many hip-hop fans, as well as artists, would rather complain than dole out co-signs.
"Think about how many people want to say how much they don’t like something without making sure at first that it’s cool to say that," Royce added. "You know how many artists said behind the scenes that I’m the best rapper alive right now but won’t say it publicly? They’re waiting for somebody else to say it. ... The need to fit in is just bigger than anything else in the world right now."
Actions, of course, speak louder than words, which is why Royce, despite calling on A-list guests features from Eminem, J. Cole and Logic, crafted an album in Book of Ryan that was about substance over flash.
You can read Billboard's full interview with Royce da 5'9" here.