As a child, I grew up watching Saturday Night Live and In Living Color. These shows helped me understand what parodies, spoofs and satires were. I was also a huge fan of the brilliance behind “Weird Al” Yankovic and his parodies about pop culture and music. However, there was always one rule about parodies…everyone knew it was poking fun at a bigger issue. The irony of satirical videos is that sometimes the viewers can’t distinguish the fact from fiction. In the case of hip hop, I see something similar occurring.
I recently ran across a video called “The Baddest” by an artist named Krispy Kreme. In the video, he boasts about beating people up, grinding harder than Jay-Z, flirting with Beyoncé and bragging about his 400 houses and “mouses”. He does all of this while him and his Mac Miller sidekick is armed with guns while he rocks his trademark snotty nose throughout the video. Surprisingly, this song was featured on Worldstar Hip Hop and has received over 200,000 views. I actually enjoyed the song (yes, I really did) and I commend him for keeping the track clean (even if he didn’t do that for his nose).
After watching the video, I was left with two unanswered questions:
- Is this a true reflection of what hip hop is portraying to its viewers?
- How can a parody video receive more attention than other music videos?
Guns, violence, bragging and “making out with every girl in the world” seem to be a consistent theme in most Billboard charting hip hop videos. Some may say that Krispy’s view is only on mainstream videos, whereas others say that the video doesn’t speak for all of hip hop.
As an artist, I know how much money it costs to produce a project. Purchasing tracks, studio time, gas for road shows and promotions/marketing is a lot of money (if you’re actually working hard…which is another subject). Can you imagine putting all that hard work into a conceptual video and dropping it on YouTube only to receive less than 1,000 views? Imagine how it feels to see someone make a parody of the same video you just did and become a YouTube sensation.
Has society gotten to the point where the satirical aspects of hip hop are more entertaining and respected than hip hop itself? Are artists like Krispy Kreme becoming the standard of what hip hop is? Was the movie “CB4” a prophecy of what was to come in hip hop? I enjoy a good joke, but if this is a future of hip hop, I’m not laughing.