Original publish date: 12/31/2014
Over the past decade we’ve seen the “reality” of hip hop delivered to our homes. We’ve seen Diddy make bands, Rev. Run raise his kids and extreme relationship drama on Love & Hip Hop. Some say it’s all staged while others sit on the edge of their seats believing every word, but the question is: Is it good for hip hop?
Hip hop stars are allowing us into their world. They’re letting us go on dates with them, listen in on their studio sessions and sometimes watch them cry. Viewers are now watching the vulnerability of these stars but does this vulnerability tarnish their “hip hop image”? Well the most accurate answer to that would be “it depends.”
Honesty is the best policy… right? Well… sometimes. Everyone should be comfortable in their own skin and live each day how they please but if you’re a reality star know that doing so will lead to people having a stronger opinion about you. For instance, Diddy. Diddy proved to the world on Making the Band and I Want to Work for Diddy that he handles his business but how he goes about his business isn’t always in the nicest way. So after watching Diddy’s demanding management style and braggadocious attitude most are left with a negative view on the man. But sometimes there are positive views…
There once was a rapper with countless guns charges. These gun charges led to jail time, then after completed jail time came a failed comeback. Now fading into darkness usually follows after failed comebacks but this rapper took another route. Reality TV. This rapper, who goes by the name T.I, brought us into his home on the show The Family Hustle and showed us that he’s a family man. He reinvented his image by displaying his fatherly duties, wit and charm. And now, not only is T.I. back on the music scene and getting another check, he’s also viewed as a genuine guy. Win, win.
So it depends. Reality TV can be helpful as well as harmful but to be honest most is harmful. Reality TV seeks drama. Producers of reality shows will plot and scheme to put their cast members in sticky situations which could only lead to making a fool out of their selves. Yes, these hip hop reality stars could be gaining popularity as they act a fool but they’re now being considered fools to many.
This style of entertainment is unfortunately tarnishing many hip hop stars and the culture as a whole. Talented producer Stevie J. is no longer taken seriously, battle rappers who were on the road to slaughter don’t seem as invincible and Flavor Flav’s craziness has made many forget that he was apart of one of the best hip hop activist songs ever. And even with all that and more being known, reality TV continues to grow in the culture.
Reality TV is putting many blemishes on the face of hip hop and changing that fact will never be a main concern. Bad press is still considered good press and being entertaining overshadows damage.