Ignorance, or ig’nance, in the rap game is something frowned upon by many elitists who see it as a watering down of the culture they love. While socio-political commentary has always been one of rap music’s most valuable contributions to the world, there is nothing wrong with a little politically incorrect ignorance to balance things out. When done well ignorant rap can prove to be more authentic and honest than any other form.
Before Public Enemy and even before the rudimentary social commentary of Melle Mel and the Furious Five on The Message, hip-hop began as less a refined artform and more just about pure expression and ultimately having fun. As production quality and subject matter have grown by leaps so has the way hip-hop is viewed. It is now the subject of debates and even school curriculums.
It’s understandable that listeners, particularly when they get older, look for more substance in their music and culture. To hold everything up to the same standards however is unrealistic. Let’s not forget that a majority of fans didn’t come out of the womb listening to KRS-One preach. Most stories of hip-hop fandom begin with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Eminem, not exactly bastions of good taste and high morals. The ironic part is that ignorant lyrics from the likes of Gucci Mane are being enjoyed and dissected by scenesters/hipsters who generally scrutinise the other genres of music they listen to over their substance and quality. The voyeurism and blatantly explicit content is obviously very attractive to those unaccustomed to hearing it regularly. This demonstrates that ignorant rap can be just as artistic as ‘intelligent’ rap. The delivery and lyrics still need to be compelling. The delivery method may be too unrefined and unappealing to some eardrums but for many artists it’s their means of communicating their pain.
There’s a fine line between knowingly ignorant rappers who are doing it for entertainment purposes and those that don’t even realise they’re doing it. It’s safe to assume that Waka Flocka Flame doesn’t realise his place as a king of ignorant rap, while artists like 2 Chainz are clearly taking advantage of the hunger for drug and misogyny laden content. Here we look at those that have succeeded and failed in painting a picture of reality as they see it, no matter how politically incorrect it may be. Miss anybody? Let us know!