Can R&B Artists get Hip?: Why singers are trying to rap

Maybe I’m just old school or something, but since when did it become okay for R&B artists to start rapping?

It’s a simple question, but yet complex, and one that I still have not completely figured out.

I guess I’ve just always been partial to people sticking within their boundaries when it comes to music, especially when it comes to rapping, which is something that requires much dedication, and might I add, skill.

But singers turned rappers, much like singers turned actors, or vice versa is something that has been going on for ages, and will continue to play out, whether we like it or not.

The R&B/hip hop dichotomy first intermingled when Teddy Riley came up with New Jack Swing, a form of music which combined elements of rhythm and blues, pop, and hip-hop.

And more recently, it has almost become a standard rule that R&B artists have to have some kind of hip hop presence in their music, whether it be through working with hip hop producers or featuring rap artists on their songs.

Now, some R&B artists have become so convinced that rapping is so similar to singing that they feel it necessary to showcase their rhyming skills.

I started thinking more about this singer turned rapper case when Chris Brown came out with his Fan of a Fan mixtape. Chris Breezy really surprised some people, who thought he was only a cute face and had a nice voice.

Chris even took his rhyming skills to the mainstream on his latest album, Fame, which boasted the very popular tune, “Look At me Now,” where Chris shares the mic with hip hop heavyweights Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne.

I guess you could say that Chris does have a bit of talent when it comes to rapping, but that does not mean that every R&B artist that incorporates hip hop into their music can rap.

Hip-hop is an art form that should be left to people who are truly dedicated to upholding its legacy and elevating the status of the culture.

It became a bit irritating when I heard that Brandy was going to be rapping under her alter ego Bran’ NU and Tyrese even fell victim to the rap craze by putting out a double album where he is both rapping and singing.

And now Trey Songz is another artist in particular who has added the title rapper to his musical resume. His most recent mixtape, LemmeHoldDatBeat2, which is a follow-up to his 2010 mixtape of the same name, features the young singer with his MC hat on.

While spitting verses over hip hop tunes like Drake’s “Headlines” and Lil Wayne’s “She Will” Trey made one thing clear:  he had something to prove.

Trey has been rapping since he was a teenager, but since he is primarily known in the music industry as an R&B artist, it makes sense that he would have to do a better job of convincing others that he’s really a go hard or go home MC.

Beyond the explicit sexual lyricism and braggadocish rhymes, I just was not convinced of Trey’s ability to rap on the level of his hip-hop counterparts.

I think it would just be easier to blame Drake for making everyone think that rapping and singing is something that comes naturally.

But, even Drake has not mastered the double-edged craft.

It would be best if R&B artists just stuck within their mode of expertise, but every artist has the right to explore various forms of creativity within their music.

Chris discovered that he is not half bad when it comes to rhyming, but,please remember, there are very  few artists who have mastered both art forms.

In terms of the few, Lauryn Hill is at the top of my list.

Let’s just hope that she make a comeback soon so we don’t have to rely on anymore amateur hip hop mixtapes.

Take a listen: Trey Songz  LemmeHoldDatBeat2


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