As the rap and the music industry as a whole are starting to become more vocal on issues of cultural appropriation and ignorance, listeners are finally understanding the problem with artists such as Lil Xan and Tekashi69, just to name a few.
This past week, during an interview w/ Desus & Mero, Lil Xan was quoted stating, ‘Pac’s music is boring’. While the statement without any deep analysis is cause enough to spark eye-rolls from dedicated hip-hop heads, a deeper understanding of the roots of issues of disrespect, ignorance and culture appropriation is very necessary.
During the interview, Xan seemed pressed for an answer. To be fair, he is not the only rapper making controversial headlines when it comes to the legacy of Tupac. Another rapper on the come up, 03 Greedo, spewed an explicit description on his idea’s on Pac’s legacy. He stated plainly that he deeply considers Pac a ‘b**** a** n***a.’
The question now that needs to be raised is the whether or not these rappers at least have respect for rap’s biggest legend. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the legacy that Pac laid out on tracks like ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ + ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ have had an everlasting impact on hip-hop fans around the globe. It appears that even though these individuals have made a career off of rap, the audacity that they have to disrespect Tupac comes w/ its fair share of heat.
For instance, rapper IDK, who we interviewed a few months back tweeted on the issue. IDK tweeted out to his mass following, ‘”Look I love the new rap I love the old rap, please nobody disrespect Big on his death date for clout. Keep opinions to yourself at the very least for today… #RIPBIG.” This statement is deeply felt and identifies the opinion of many listeners besides the cult following of Xan. IDK isn’t the only one, Rich Homie Quan stated similar beliefs in an interview w/ Big Boy.
Arguably the biggest issue at hand is the cultural appropriation aspect that ties into Xan’s statement. While 03 Greedo comes from LA and is a certified gang-banger, Lil’ Xan is anything but that. While his story and come-up should not be discredited, him being a Caucasian/Mexican American has its privileges it seems that he is not aware of.
Within the industry today, amongst the plants, rappers, especially white ones are held to a higher standard with regards to their understanding and knowledge of the game. While this might seem asinine, it is for good reason. Coming into a culture that you do not belong to, one that your race + ancestors did not originate, there must be a level of dignity and respect given to those who have accepted you into that community.
While artists like Mac Miller, Slim Shady and Macklemore have spoken heavily on political and divisive issues, Xan’ does just the opposite. Up until recently, the only issue he has seemingly spoken on would be his usage and the issues regarding substance abuse, specifically Xanax. While many point out that his hit single, ‘Betrayed,’ very plainly states his opposition to the grips of the narcotic, it is important to note the dangerous connotation behind his name as an artist. Many people see it as a way to glorify abuse, like many rappers such as Uzi and Lil’ Pump, have done for a while now.
Regardless of his ability to make music, it is clear that ‘SoundCloud’ rappers, such as Xan, have a while to go until they gain credibility within the industry.