The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper: cARTer
This Week's Subject(s): Houston's next to blow up; do rappers ever make a bad song; what's good vs. what's popular.
Ask A Rapper: So you're from the new, new school of Houston rappers. Geto Boys and UGK were the originals; Slim, Paul, Mike, Flip, Cham, etc were round two. Do you think anybody from Houston is ever really going to break big again?
cARTer: Yes. I feel I'm the next new artist to have major crossover success that could "break big" coming out of the Houston music scene (even though I'm based out of LA, not to sound cliché). With my experience and cultural background, I have created a project that best represents me, where I'm from and where I am now. In my own way, [I'm] evolving the Houston sound and making something based from that of my own with a twist of my L.A. lifestyle.
Carter, "Stay Down Forever"
C (cont'd): Before I went to creating Legal Trappin', I knew that our city was suffering from lack of commercial success, which is needed to bring in revenue that can support our local scene. In my eyes, I feel Houston has the second biggest local hip-hop scene after NYC. Watching that scene die is something I can't do, that's why I made Legal Trappin'.
I feel I have created a classic project that brings back that Houston feeling we had in the days of SUC & Swishahouse (late 90s/early 2000s). I'm not saying my music sounds like that, but I made it with the intent to have the same effect; music so compelling to the Houston sound and culture that by word of mouth it will spread and become something that Houston uses to represent itself through TV, radio, print, movies, etc. Houston is back!
AAR: Rappers are quick to qualify someone's negative attitude towards their music with a "he's just being a hater" tag. Are rappers aware that sometimes they do actually make shitty music?
C: Well yeah, in the particular case of only speaking for me. If someone doesn't agree with my music being great, that's their opinion. Just agree with my opinion of not caring about your opinion. I don't put music out to be critiqued. Fans have become critics off top. People support more shit they don't like by even speaking on it, and for the most part niggas do be haters. They either do music, are in the industry, want to do music, want to be in the industry or have a family or friend that does.
Carter feat. Bun B, "Houston Summer"
So my answer is yes, there are people who make shitty music, but if the people hating put more time and effort into supporting the good music that they enjoy as mush as they hate on the shitty music they don't we would have a better industry right now. Something to live by "everything aint for everyone."
AAR: To be a little more philosophical about it, do you think there actually is a "shitty music versus good music" argument, or is it more of a "more generally popular vs. less generally popular" type of thing?
C: Well, both of these are valid arguments discussed with a certain class of people; the hip hop culture, the "in the know" and the "not in the know." People who are in the industry and its tastemakers and trendsetters as well as the people who follow the industry heavily for the most part are the people "in the know."
Consumers and followers of trendy pop culture and all things mainstream that you see on TV radio & movies would be the ones "not in the know." They know everything the people "in the know" know, but a few months later. Both arguments are needed to keep the industry hot as a whole. I believe it's all personal preference. At the end of the day, who's to really say what's good or bad; it's all opinion. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Keep tabs on Carter on his MySpace page.