What constitutes a rapper being labeled "pop"?

HMN's photo

23,978

I’m going to use two rappers as examples here:

Now I’ve seen plenty of people on this site claim Macklemore (and Drake) aren’t rappers but rather “pop” artists. But why is this? Does Macklemore have some poppy tracks? Absolutely. But I don’t see how that diminishes his status as an MC. If I remember correctly, he rapped on every single track on The Heist. So why do people call him pop instead of Hip Hop?

I also don’t buy the logic that making either a hit single or some pop-influenced tracks makes you less of a rapper. People also use this train of thought to say Drake isn’t a rapper because he sings. I could just as easily say he isn’t a singer because he raps. He does both. By that same standard:

Kanye isn’t a rapper because he made this:

Andre 3000 isn’t a rapper because he made this:

Even Ghostface made this:

All of these albums have R&B/Pop tendencies about them and that’s what they were striving for. Ghostdini had plenty of rapping as well as some poppy hooks on it, so it’s fair to call it a rap album AND a Pop/R&B album. The same should apply to any one of Drake’s albums. And as for making songs that are clearly meant for radioplay, you guys know rappers have been doing this for ages?

^ That was clearly a track that aimed for broader appeal and had a far more commercial sound to it. I’ve never seen anybody claim that Biggie “went pop” or that he “sold out”. Yet when someone like Macklemore comes out with a song like Thrift Shop which clearly aimed for a broader appeal and had a commercial sound to it, people blast him for being corny or not embracing Hip Hop.

To me, it sounds like people use this as a scapegoat to rag on artists they simply don’t like. If you dislike someone’s music, that’s fine. But there’s no need to apply these double standards to certain rappers just because they’re newer or more popular at the moment.

November 10th, 2013
Bviley's photo

2,821

November 10th, 2013

Poppy production + meaningless lyrics = Hip pop

November 10th, 2013

Drake is not pop, but Macklemore is pop, for sure. Drake never had a single like “Can’t hold us”. Drake makes alt hip hop, but I never heard him make a pop single. Macklemore makes music for people who don’t like hip hop.

November 10th, 2013

Poppy production + meaningless lyrics = Hip pop

Because every song has to have a message.

November 10th, 2013
RTJII's photo

8,338

this thread looks rly familiar

November 10th, 2013

Anytime you vary from your original sound then you’ve gone pop in most peoples eyes.

November 10th, 2013
Skizza306's photo

6,428

95% of the time the phrase “He’s not a rapper / emcee he’s pop” can be roughly translated to “I’m 15 years old and desperate to prove how cool I am with my alt music taste”

November 10th, 2013
HMN's photo

23,978

@chanceischildish Again, explain why you think that. What exactly make Macklemore pop? Why is his music for “people who don’t like hip hop”?

November 10th, 2013
lilhook27's photo

3,877

Damn son you biting RTJ thread hard.

November 10th, 2013

Ok, maybe I’m biased because I don’t like Macklemore, but I find him to be corny.

November 10th, 2013
HMN's photo

23,978

@lilhook27 True. @RTJII GOAT user tho

November 10th, 2013

@ABCDER I’ll be blamed for that so you good. So post some more and get it flipped on me.

November 10th, 2013
Izuna's photo

8,959

When they become popular in Middle America and get Top 40 radio play.

November 10th, 2013

implying that pop rap isnt gr8 music

making pop and rap at the same time is not a bad thing at all.

November 10th, 2013