The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday April 15th

OPINION: Too many rappers, not enough MCs

<p><em>Rappers produce songs with lyrics lacking substance, whereas MCs such as Kendrick Lamar produce more complex content. (Photo courtesy of </em><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jon_elbaz/7373615588/in/photolist-cezH2f-bXdkHi-cezGYE-bXdkPn-cz8CB9-czmEwh-czmJ2q-czn2U3-9YnTEL-oMGqjn-ft6Eet-ft6ExK-2ayMsCM-ftm2RS-ftkZJo-ftm1om-2ayMsJD-ft6F4r-ftm2g5-ft6GfB-ftm2xQ-ftm1UW-czn2JJ-ftm38Q-ft6Fon-bCA4Dq-9YmpXP-9YpkiS-9YpjLQ-bzij3h-cz8Axo-dcpjzy-ALsoBR-dcpkGn-9Ymqoa-9YmpSZ-9Ypkd5-dcpmtB-bXdkvD-dcpkmm-9YmpPz-dcpowN-dcpjZT-dcpo2D-dcpmEz-dcpkWZ-dcpkKh-dcpnia-dcpjb1-9YpkA9" target=""><em>Flickr</em></a><em> / Jon Elbaz, June 7, 2012)</em></p>

Rappers produce songs with lyrics lacking substance, whereas MCs such as Kendrick Lamar produce more complex content. (Photo courtesy of Flickr / Jon Elbaz, June 7, 2012)

By Madeline Weir
Staff Writer

Recently, I was scrolling through TikTok when I came across a video of a street interview in New York City by the creator @subwayoracle. In the video, the interviewer asks a man walking through the subway, “What’s one thing that’s wrong with hip-hop today?” to which the man replies, “Too many rappers, not enough MCs.”

When asked the difference between an MC and a rapper, the interviewee said, “A rapper speaks for the money. An MC speaks for the culture.” Whether an artist is a rapper or an MC is determined by the content of their songs. Rappers produce songs with lyrics lacking substance, whereas MCs produce more complex content.

Examples of popular modern rappers include Ice Spice, Drake and NLE Choppa. While these artists make amazing music, their lyrics do not promote thought among listeners. 

@subwayoracle Tag an underrated artist we should have on ?️? #SubwayOracle #Rappers #NYC ♬ original sound - Subway Oracle

Examples of MCs include Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and Childish Gambino. These artists' songs speak to current issues and promote thought beyond superficial subjects like women, drugs and alcohol.

MCs are more important now than ever. In a world plagued with war, terrorism and social injustice, we need people with a platform to speak out. While celebrities speak on important issues, there is no better way to convey a message than through art.

Speaking through songs reaches countless people. After all, everyone listens to music. Songs promote ideas, and ideas promote change. Gen-Z cares more about change than any other living generation, and famous artists miss the opportunity to communicate relative and valuable information.

In the past, music reflected the times. Artists spoke freely about current events and expressed important stances. Songs like “Where Is the Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and “Children’s Story” by Slick Rick spoke about current events and issues. These songs were all popular when they came out and made an impact on the people who listened to them.

Young, impressionable kids are also listening to current music. The mindset of many contemporary rappers can damage young minds, making them think that it is acceptable to participate in the activities being rapped about. As adults, we can listen to music and know that what we listen to is separate from who we are and our actions.

I know that not all of these artists' songs contain important messages and vice versa, and don’t get me wrong, my favorite genre is rap, and I love all of the artists who have been mentioned. And hip-hop is not the only genre of music facing this issue; we need more outspoken artists in all genres. 

I am not saying you should not listen to rappers or that their songs are bad. What I am saying, however, is that in addition to these contemporary rap artists, we need artists that speak for the people.




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