Suppose rap died some time ago. I would say it died because the art of it made the person matter more than the art itself. A better way of putting it is this. If I’m a painter then what I paint on the canvas must come before me. I’m merely a vessel for its existence. If it didn’t, in terms of value, then the art form would be subject to standards under popular culture, personalities and things of that nature. It would mean no one loves the art anymore than they love the appearance, personality and what the camera shows them. A façade.

The art is no more like a canvas unequal to its creator, but a sacrifice for that creator and the next popular face and personality after, waiting to be bought, sold and consumed. You can tell because we now venture into their lives in ways where the music is a non-factor. Rap is purely a commodity at this point and the rapper is an extension of that product.

Movies are a perfect example of the point I’m speaking. That is where the art comes before the creator. However, it’s a hybrid in the sense that those who play the characters can, at most times, become idolized beyond the movie itself. This stretches into the concept of celebrities and celebrity worship. Now that I think of it, the creator of movies is much like the producer (assuming we’re talking about the beat) and other entities behind the scenes.

But to back up a bit, you watch a movie not knowing the faces or caring much about them because the work is largely separate from its creator(s). So we’re able to appreciate the movie and its worth without the attachment unlike music. I’m not so sure how other genres foot this bill, but with rap, it’s difficult to meet that because the art and the creator are one. You can’t get one without the other, which is a vulnerable spot. A flaw in its design when one consider things related to popular culture and its exploitative ways. It’s ultimately why conscious rap for example hits a hard spot because popular culture dictates that people aren’t listening to rap for sermons or feel they should care about something because “said rapper” made a song about it.

As a result, the personality behind the content has a higher price, bringing us back into the false idols-celebrity paradigm. Those who view the art form as a standard to meet affords them to create powerful, unrestrained works, and due to what I’d say is a lack of interest with consumers’ view of them as a person more than their work itself. I think of the maxim “the customer is always right,” but in art, I’d think it destroys the value we place on the art in comparison to the creator.


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