Don’t Follow Trends, Create Them

Let’s go back to 1988. Hip-Hop was still in its infancy stage and the main styles that were being played on the radio that was hip-hop was either from New York, or in a New York style. Hip-Hop had first started in Bronx, New York, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, to be super specific, and as it grew, groups like Run D.M.C would help grow in popularity and solidify its spot in American Music Culture. The main style being played on the radio was strictly New York. Other coasts had not yet come out and put their stamp on the sound just yet.

Most of the time, if you were from the South, or West Coast, you would try to sound like a nigga who was from New York. You’d trade your southern drawl, and West Coast Crip talk, and try your best to sound like you rock Adidas and Jumpsuits, with bucket hats on a regular. Plenty of niggas did this, and some didn’t. Some of the great ones that followed the trend were Nobody 1, Nobody 2, and Nobody 3, and of course we can’t forget the most famous of them all, illustrious Nobody 4. The ones who didn’t follow the trends were some guys named N.W.A.

See, N.W.A unlike all those great nobodies I mentioned above, decided to do their own thing. They were West Coast niggas who actually decided to come and out and sound like…, you guessed it, like West Coast niggas. Instead of sampling Rock and the typical shit New York dudes would sample, N.W.A went down the funky path and sampled a lot of funk. Instead of talking like New York niggas, they talked like Compton niggas. Instead of staying squeaky clean for the radio, they’d say exactly how they felt without any thought of censorship.

People said they were crazy, people said they were insane, but they did it and 20+ years later, they’re remembered as legends, and those that followed the trends aren’t. Instead of following the old and going with the traditional, N.W.A decided to be themselves and follow their own way, and they did it extremely well, and that’s why they’re remembered. They didn’t follow a trend, they set it. Ask anybody who knows Hip-Hop, and they’ll tell you that after Straight Outta Compton came out, everybody in Hip-Hop tried to sound Gangsta like them. The Fugees first album, “Blunted on Reality” tried its best to simulate that sound, and failed, thankfully they learned their lesson and blessed us with The Score. It wasn’t until Biggie, Nas, and Wu-tang came out that they were able to end the West Coast reign. And the only way they were able to end the trend and set a new one was, you guessed it, by being themselves and setting their own trends.

See the point I’m making is a lot of niggas come in the game and think that sounding like everybody else is the way to make it. Sure you may see some success for a while, but you won’t last. Now you may be saying, well, “I don’t wanna be no legend, I’m just trying to make some paper dawg.” That’s fine, but guess what, if you following a trend, once it ends, so does your career, and so does your paper…dawg. So remember, always be yourself, and be it well. Don’t follow trends, set them, and by doing these things, you’ll not only be remembered well, but you’ll gain respect and your paper will be endless, unless you spend it all on hookers and blow, than you’re fucked.

Written by: Jean-Bernard Lauture

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