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What Makes Good Rap Music?

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Over the past couple of year, there have been many critics of mumble rap, citing artists like Logic and Eminem as a holy grails in an industry where rappers like Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage are bigger parts of the stream. With the new Logic and Eminem collab, however, we are given a chance to analyze what is actually makes hip hop interesting.

The Faults of “Homicide”

“Fast rappers” Eminem and Logic just released their new collaboration track, “Homicide.” With the two being held in high esteem by (in my opinion) more pretentious hip hop heads, this track was highly anticipated. The result, however, was a lackluster song that had little to say.

Logic, Courtesy of Def Jam

The track actually starts off pretty well — the introduction of the drums and bass over the lo-fi intro is simply striking. Then Logic starts rapping and the whole track goes down hill. Sure, his flow is impressive. He spits rhymes seamlessly without even a slight hesitation or a stutter. But does that matter when the whole verse is just to say “I’m better at rapping than mumble rappers?”

It just feels like an insignificant message. Logic, we don’t care if you can rap faster than Uzi, he at least has things to say, even if it is often just about love and drugs.

Eminem falls into the same trap as Logic, saying nothing that Logic didn’t cover in the first verse. The only difference is that his flows are worse and his lyrics fall far from interesting. Where Logic at least provides us with clever word play, Eminem just sounds corny. If so many critics point to these two as the standard of talent in the rap world, then how come their collab fell flat?

What Actually Makes Good Rap

The reason Eminem and Logic flopped so hard is because they lacked any sort of connection with their listeners. Nobody listening to “Homicide” can relate to rapping faster than mumble rappers. As a result, nobody cares about what they are saying.

21 Savage, Courtesy of 21Savage.com

Meanwhile, artists like 21 Savage rap about money, drugs, and struggle, things that a huge array of people can sympathize with. Sure, his flows might not be as articulate as those of Logic, but people can relate to what he is saying, which makes them care that much more about what he has to say.

The trick to making not just good rap, but good music in general, is staying authentic. People want to listen to others’ experience. They want to be able to level with artists and understand that whatever they have experienced, somebody else has gone through a similar, if not the same, thing. Rapping about how good you are at rapping lacks any sort of substance and leaves nothing for listeners to come back to.

Instead of bragging over a microphone for 4 minutes, maybe Logic and Eminem should return to the stories that made them into who they are today. Nobody wants to watch two grown men get into a pissing contest with rising SoundCloud rappers. It’s sad. Logic, Eminem, take my advice: make music about things people care about.

Stream “Homicide” Below

Daniel Friedland

Journalism Intern at Red Roll
I am a sophomore English student at DePaul University. Previously, I studied Music Business and Recording Technology at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. My love for music goes beyond just journalism, as I have played the violin since I was 3. When I'm not involved with writing or music, I can be found playing on the DePaul Ultimate frisbee team.
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