Keep It Real: Hip Hop's Changing Views On Authenticity

Though many Hip Hop listeners hate to hear this, rappers have a right to write fictional songs. The great part about it is that you also have a right to decide if that's what you'll listen to.

In 2012, as part of an effort to open dialogue on issues many of the most popular and commercially successful emcees are afraid to touch, HipHopDX is launched the “The Taboo Series.” We ran editorials on Hip Hop’s obsession with the Illuminati, race relations and Hip Hop and Christianity. Thanks to an overwhelming response from our readers, the series is returning this year.

As rappers and their handlers continue to limit press access, it will undoubtedly become increasingly difficult to get emcees to talk about some subjects without fear of fan backlash or diminishing endorsement opportunities. We’ve already seen Rick Ross’ Reebok money threatened by his date rape-related comments on “U.O.E.N.O.” Meanwhile, the YMCMB camp can’t positively spin their own conflicting reports fast enough to cover Lil Wayne’s near-death experience in what most of us think was a seizure induced by a codeine bender.

Luckily, some rappers are still talking. And they’re happy to offer more than just politically correct sound bytes. The 2013 edition of The Taboo Series features more direct quotes from artists as well as the usual statistics to back up our sometimes-controversial opinions. Whether we’re talking about rappers in dresses (excuse us…kilts), Hip Hop’s seemingly phony CB4 mentality or emcees’ mental health issues, there are no shortage of controversial topics in Hip Hop. DX’s readers have never needed prompting, but if there’s a topic you’d like to see in future editions of The Taboo Series, feel free to sound off in the comment section, via Twitter (@HipHopDX) or on our Facebook page. With that said, let’s get to the 2013 edition, which will run every Friday through April 26.

Keep It Real: Hip Hop’s Changing Views On Authenticity

“Speaking in tongues / About what you did, but you never done it / Admit it, you bit it / ‘Cause the next man came platinum behind it / I find it ironic / So I researched and analyzed / Most write about stuff they fantasize…” –O.C. “Time’s Up”

Does it even matter if your favorite rapper’s real? At one point in Hip Hop’s lifetime, an emcee’s authenticity was vital. Chris Rock’s 1993 film, CB4, made a mockery out of Gangsta Rap artists who rhymed about a life they’d never lived. Nobody in Hip Hop wanted to be associated with “MC Gusto,” Chris Rock’s character in the film, who pretended to be a locally known criminal to get respect for his raps. Nas condemned the industry’s “Gusto” rappers on 1996’s “The Message.” Jay-Z later did the same in 2003’s “La-La-La (Excuse Me Miss Again),” noting, “You can’t see me, dog. Nigga, you CB4.” There’s a contingent of Hip Hop listeners who were raised on KRS-One’s “My Philosophy,” where “The Teacha” clearly stated that, “It’s not about a salary. It’s all about reality.” But it seems that is not the case anymore. What does this mean for Hip Hop?
Jay-Z has acknowledged that reality can be scarce in Hip Hop. “I'm aware that I'm rare,” he said on 2009’s “Real As It Gets.” “I rap and I’m real / I’m one of the few here.” Looking at success in Hip Hop, it’s tough not to argue that he’s right, assuming everything he’s ever said has been real. Rick Ross haters will relish this, but the conversation has to lead to “The Bawse’s” history, one that has been criticized as fraudulent by many. Ross’ musical presence cannot be denied. Ross, real name William Leonard Roberts II, has amassed many accolades. His albums have topped the Billboard charts, most recently with last year’s God Forgives, I Don’t, which debuted at number one and was certified gold by the RIAA. But many have questioned his history. In 2008, The Smoking Gun revealed information that matched the rapper with a past as a correctional officer. Ross originally denied and refuted the claims, saying someone had Photoshopped his face on another person’s body in a correctional officer’s uniform. However, once more details were unveiled, he admitted that he worked as a C.O. in the ‘90s. This would have crushed a rapper’s respectability in the past, but as proven with accolades since, the news did little to damage his career. Some believe this is horrible for Hip Hop.

Rick Ross, 50 Cent And Co-Opted Identities

“Wait, let me tell you what your baby told me / You ain’t got a street bone in your whole body / You’re not who you think you are / With your gun and your badge, you think you’re hard / Acting like you’re moving blow in the streets / Nigga where I’m from we got to hustle to eat / And you the police…” –50 Cent, “Tia Told Me.”

One of Ross’ more recent rivals, 50 Cent, has been outspoken about this. In 2009, Fif compared Ross to “Gusto.” When the C.O. news was revealed, 50 believed it would end Ross’ career, joking that he would soon be working at a pizzeria.
“It never gets worse than this,” 50 told MTV later that year. “You get a guy that was a correctional officer come out and base his entire career on writing material from a drug dealer's perspective. When he loses this [battle], he can’t even go back to his day job because the correctional officers are upset that you wanted to portray that message. He’s gonna work at the pizza shop when I’m done with him.”

Interestingly enough, 50 also borrowed his Rap name from someone else. In his autobiography, From Pieces To Weight, he freely admits as much:

“The real 50 Cent was a stickup kid from Brooklyn who used to rob rappers. He had passed, but he was respected on the streets, so I wanted to keep his name alive. Other rappers were running around calling themselves Al Capone, John Gotti and Pablo Escobar. If I was going to take a gangster’s name, then I wanted it at least to be that of someone who would say, ‘What’s up’ to me on the street if we ever crossed paths.”

Where do we draw the line? It seems 50 may have been imagining what Hip Hop would have done in the past when he assumed Ross would be condemned to a career in the pizza shop. But times seem to have changed. It’s 2013, and Ross is working on his next album, not serving up pepperoni slices.
The knock on Ross goes beyond his work as a correctional officer. It also deals with his stage name. As mentioned earlier, his real name is as far from Rick Ross as Shawn Carter is from Jay-Z. Where Jay’s name can be somewhat derived from being jazzy or directly from his former mentor, Jaz-O, as Nas broke down on “Ether.” Ross’ name is a direct nod at “Freeway” Ricky Ross. It’s so close that it begs for a change in this article. At least for now, we’ll refer to the rapper Rick Ross as Roberts and “Freeway” Ricky Ross as Freeway. An ongoing legal battle has ensued over the issue. Freeway Ricky feels Roberts stole his name (Rick Ross), his past (Freeway Ricky was a well known drug kingpin) and likeness (Freeway Ricky is bald and has a beard). With that information, many have compared Roberts with “Gusto” for taking another person’s identity and gaining success in the process. Even the hint of this would have once been laughable. But, things done changed.

Does Art Have To Be Real?

“Half of my niggas got time / We done real things, by ‘94 became the subject of half of y’all niggas rhymes / Public apologies to the families of those caught up in my shit / But that’s the life for us lost souls brought up in this shit / The life and times of a nigga mind excited with crime / And the lavish luxuries that just excited my mind / I figured shit why risk myself, I just write it in rhymes / And let you feel me and if you don’t like it then fine…” –Jay-Z, “Streets Is Watchin.”

If Roberts had explained that he once worked as a C.O. in a rhyme or interview, The Smoking Gun would not have had a story to run. It would not have been controversial. And judging by how many of his fans have reacted since the news broke, few would have really cared. But he would have accomplished something else. Others wouldn’t see him as a fraud.
We, as a culture, have seemingly always held rappers to a different standard. Rappers had to be real. Authenticity was number one. If you didn’t have that, you had to leave the mic alone. That was it. End of story. Not anymore.

Hip Hop wasn’t always obsessed with the real. When the culture began, emcees weren’t necessarily front and center. Deejays and B-Boys had the spotlight much of the time and when emcees spoke. It was okay if they boasted about having the most chains, rings and automobiles, even if they were broke and without a ride. Of course, when broken glass shattered everywhere, with songs like “The Message,” reality became the topic of choice. As time went on, “realism of life” became the only way for many emcees and fans alike. But alas, that has changed.

Evolving Opinions On Real Versus Fake

“I ain’t hardcore, I don’t pack a 9 millimeter / Most of y’all gangsta rappers ain’t hardcore neither / Whoever get mad then I’m talkin’ ‘bout you / Claim you fear no man but never walk without crew / Where I’m from, your reputation don’t mean jack / So what you pack gats and your sell fiends crack / You ain’t big time / My man, you ain’t no different from the next cat in my neighborhood who did time / Rhyme after rhyme it’s the same topic / What make you think you hardcore cause you was raised in the projects…” –One Be Lo, “Honest Expression.”

Have things really changed? Some would argue nothing’s changed much. Maybe emcees have been honest in their rhymes for years, but a lot of emcees surely had to be lying to us the whole time. Right? I mean, why snitch on yourself if you’re selling so many drugs or hurting so many people? Why snitch on your friends if you say you only hang with brutal soldiers of the streets? It wouldn’t make much sense to commit crimes and then write about it in vivid detail in every verse. So while some may have written about their life experiences, surely others have been falsifying information.

What do other emcees think? P.A.P.I. (a.k.a N.O.R.E.) has often been seen as an emcee who has “kept it real.” He’s also recorded with Ross multiple times. Most would agree the prison stories from Capone-N-Noreaga’s The War Report were authentic. Can N.O.R.E. coexist with an emcee whose past is at least partially fabricated like Ross?

“At first I used to be like, ‘Yo, B, if you’re not living that lifestyle, you shouldn’t speak about it,’” N.O.R.E. told HipHopDX during an exclusive interview. “Now, the way I feel like it, I really respect entertainment. I really respect the artistry. Right now, I really don’t care if an artist is talking about he’s killing people and he’s going home to potpourri in his bathroom. I don’t really care. That’s your business. Now, I really appreciate the art form, and I’m really now looking at it as if it were entertainment. So I really don’t have a problem with it. But back then, I was living out those lyrics to 157.9%, so back then, I really had a problem with anybody talking about that.”

Hip Hop today seems to be more about entertainment than authenticity in some ways, but those who love the real can still have their fix. We still value the real, of course, treating Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, for example, as a true-to-life view into Compton, California. The album was critically adored for its storytelling, flow and commentary. Lamar has been celebrated for his realness. He uses his government name as his Rap name. His mother and father were featured prominently on his major label debut with Aftermath/Interscope. He never claimed to be a gangster and instead acknowledged that he was a good kid, living in a m.A.A.d city or an “Average Joe” on his Overly Dedicated EP in 2010. That’s only one example. Several rappers carry on tradition, revealing their reality in raps in ways predecessors can smile upon.
This realism is still celebrated and available in Hip Hop. It can be heard when Nas writes about his daughter’s decisions (2012’s “Daughters”) or when Jay-Z celebrates the birth of his first child (2012’s “Glory”). This can be felt when Brother Ali raps about being a Muslim who is Albino (2003’s “Forest Whitaker”) and when he shares his plight as a loving father (2007’s “Faheem”). This can be found when Ab-Soul describes his love for Alori Joh (2012’s “Book of Soul”) and when Evidence raps about the loss of his mother (2007’s “I Still Love You”). Real Rap is still powerful, and it’s still present even though it may not always seem to be the case. If the true, honest and heartfelt work is what you seek, Hip Hop is still filled with this. It may be hard to ignore the other side of the coin but if this is all you yearn for, it’s within Hip Hop and it will likely, hopefully never fade completely.

Some artists, like Crooked I, say they would be uncomfortable rapping about someone else’s life. According to an interview he did with HipHopDX in 2012, being truthful is the only way he knows how to rap.

“I can’t write about somebody else’s life even though sometimes I think that I’d be a more successful rapper if I wrote about a fictitious life,” Crooked explained. “A lot of rappers rap about fake lives. I just do the best I could do with my life.” However, he also shared that he has no problem with hearing others rap about a life they never lived. “Personally, I don’t have a big ol’ problem with fiction raps. That’s just me as a fan. If you didn’t go out and rob a bank but you made a damn good song about robbing banks, I’ll bump that shit. [Laughs] I don’t have a big problem with that. But as an artist, I can’t write a song about that and have no knowledge of that type of shit. I’d rather be me and if you accept me, you accept me and if you don’t, you don’t. I think it’s good to have somebody that’s totally honest just like it’s good to have somebody who makes up all these imaginary stories but makes good songs with those imaginary stories. There’s good on both sides.”

The Question And The Answer

So does it even matter if your favorite rapper’s real? It’s truly never actually mattered. We just wanted to believe that our favorite emcees lived their every word. Some did. Some didn’t. Native Bay Area emcee, Clyde Carson, says he’s been on both sides of the fence.

“I’ve made music before about shit that I’m not about, and it don’t feel the same,” Carson explained. “I ain’t kill 17 niggas. I don’t know what that feels like. I keep it player. When I’m rapping about the shit I’m living, it feels good. It’s like, ‘This is me. This is all authentic.’ I think you can do that shit though. There’s nothing wrong with using your imagination…I’ve always considered Biggie number one right next to ‘Pac. And that nigga had an imagination. I know with ‘Warning,’ even though that dealt with some stuff he was probably going through, meaning you can talk about living in a mansion, having a dog, Rottweiler’s with bitches in the bed—on some gangster shit if you’re really a gangster in the street.”

In 2013, we have to face reality. The truth is, art doesn’t have to be real. An author has the right to write a fictional novel. He just has to say it’s a work of fiction. An actor can make a film, playing a role far from their real selves. We just have to know they’re acting. And though many Hip Hop listeners hate to hear this, rappers have a right to write fictional songs. The great part about it is that you also have a right to decide if that’s what you’ll listen to. What do you choose? 

Andres Vasquez has been contributing to HipHopDX as a staff writer for over a decade. He is also an educator and youth-leader. He is based in Los Angeles, California. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndresWrites.


  • Anonymous

    It's ok when it's obvious like ab souls song about robbing but I think the reason Ross gets so much flack is because he came into the game trying to portray this mafioso type person so we would think its real. Then when questioned went to complete denial

  • Anonymous

    i know what authentic rap is so fuck all yall and fuck this site

  • Anonymous

    tech n9ne - rock and roll nigga

  • Bram Gesink

    95% of hip hop fans think 95% of hip hop artists are whack, fake, homosexual, or garbage. How about we all pack up our shit and go listen to some good 'ol Rock n Roll huh?

  • Anonymous

    CB4 pt 2 coming soon starring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, French Montana, DJ Khaled

  • Anonymous

    Jay-z wouldn't have a career if Tupac lived. Tupac was calling out Jay-z for being one of the original Rick Ross'.

    • blaklex

      Jay Z had a career when Pac was alive you idiot. What the hell are you talking about? So many idiots making comments on such and such wouldn't be relevant if so and so was alive. How the hell do you know?

  • daddy

    we are in bizarro world police are the gangstas. gangstas are the snitches, pimps are broke and hoes got money. ????????????????????????????

  • its gotta be the shoes

    Lords of the Undergrounf - Chief Rocka

  • Anonymous

    Lords of the Underground - The Clinic

  • yup yup i do this

    Lords of the Underground - I Love Hip Hop

  • Anonymous

    if proof never died hip hop be alive and we have king mathers r.i.p Big Proof

  • Anonymous

    Rashad and Confidence - days of my youth

  • Anonymous

    rappers have to stick to there roots and remain lyrical lyrics are everything the messages and the shit u relate to are personal but rap is fact and it whack right now

  • Anonymous

    did the drake era replace the south where paul wall where mike jones

  • Anonymous

    and then there the drake party any one who works with drake is automatically whack

  • Anonymous

    joey badass like a respectable lil b

  • Anonymous

    and then theres the fake party rappers just trying to eat

  • Anonymous

    what is real its all about dope metaphores and sick beats if your lyrics suck ur song sucks and for production rza apollo brown premo kno dr.dre berfore i need a doctor


    and i love when a rapper write some ones elses veiw as long as its a dope record and the lryics right i dont give a fuck


    fuck the fakeness Spectac - Look Like Another Job for Spectac Spectac - your eyes

  • Anonymous

    Who cares who Ross has worked with, only lames need reassurance through affiliations and cosigns to pick and choose sides. Leaders listen to what they like, and some don't like the message Ross is sending, and some just don't care because he ain't that serious to their lives. And this argument is lame ass hell too. It's about BEING YOURSELF, not about stretching the truth or telling creative stories on wax. We knew Kool G Rap wasn't running with the mafia or LL wasn't shooting anybody in the dome or EPMD weren't going to pistol whip you, but the female Boss was a nurse who they dressed up as a female Eazy E and spit utter lies. She had to go. If she would have been HERSELF displaying her rap skills, it wouldn't have turned out that way. But y'all go on ahead and let these media nutbags tell you nothing matters,

    • Testy

      Anonymous: The only authentic rapper in the industry is Emenim because his serial-killer raps come from his experience as a rapist & murderer. Dr Dre & Ice Cube were never "Gangsters" but they helped pioneer so-called Gangsta Rap and nobody ever questioned their authenticity. Too Short & Ice T helped pioneer so-called Pimp Rap but they readily admit that they have never pimped hoes. Public Enemy helped pioneer so-called Militant Rap and one of their most vocal members was a former Corrections Officer named Professor Griff. Tupac was no Thug/Rider Biggie was no Big-Poppa/Frank White Do people honestly believe that Nas's "Escobar" persona was real and that he sold kilo's of coke or are you intelligent enough to know that his rap lyrics were fictional street poems? Rozay is not some white-skinned Suburban geek who just picked up a microphone and started rapping about drugs, he's from a community were drug activity is a major problem and based on his affiliations, associations and mentors he's qualified to rap about what he saw growing up in Carol City just like Nas is qualified to rap about what he saw growing up in Queensbridge. I listen to street-poetry-rap to enjoy the slick poetry and the beat/music, I'm not a geek looking for a sociology lesson on street life so I could care less if the story's are true or embellished as long as I enjoy my listening experience. Emenim is the only real rapper alive who actually lives his rape/murder lyrics, I like how Emenim can rap about murdering women and still get an endorsement from Chrysler, Emenim is friggin awesome.

  • Osagie Alonge

    What can I say? This article is spot on. I'll use Rick Ross as an example. Everything about Ross' identity is a fraud. Denying being a C.O only to admit later, fighting off a name and look which he apparently stole from another person... Still, Rick Ross since his emergence in 2006 has dropped some of the most graphic-tale songs. I won't deny his music making and depiction of gangster/drug tales. Even the likes of Jay Z, Nas have worked with Ross. Conclusively, the idea of keeping it real should be simple. State you are doing this for the music and it's not your real life

  • Anonymous

    "No one is talking about Biggie or Pun. and everyone calls them fat. Difference is they could rap" Ross can rap. If you listen to his songs, he's got some decent wordplay. I think people just get tired of the redundant beats. Biggie could rap. No question there, but people forget he had alot of filler on his albums. Pun was lyrical, but his story telling wasn't very good when compared to Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, etc.

  • Anonymous

    "Then why'd he lie like a little punk when questioned about it originally?" Cause he doesn't owe an explanation to a broke fool who steals music.

  • Anonymous

    "ross was never on top though" Having albums chart at #1, touring, and working with other A listers doesn't qualify as being on top? You're a sad, sad little hater.

  • hardcore

    its cool to invent stuff but atleast keep it real dont go around saying youre a thug when you are not , rap about the stuff you know will smith rapped about girls and parties NWA rapped gangs and streets , both keep it real because thats how they lived , BE AUTHENTIC thats why i got mad respect for LUPE FIASCO

  • Deadboy90

    I listen to songs I like from people who everyone knows ain't real: Weezy's stuff from before 2009 when he started sucking, couple of Diddy joints, like one Rick Ross song. But the artists I TRUELY respect are the one who are authentic, guys like Kendrick, Game and T.I. These guys have the albums that I pay money to listen to and dont hit up bittorrent for. Being authentic gets my money.

  • Anonymous

    Most of these rappers ain't real. Drake a child actor, Weezy ain't about that life. French Montana filmed DJ Khaled's mom for 50 Cent and Ross and Khaled act like it never happened. Like it or not Rick Ross is the closest thing we have to MC Gusto Bawse!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous


  • the big one incher

    its funny how Rick Ross was saved back when the C.O. thing came out by other rappers. people like wayne puffy and other industry heavyweights pulled the fat fuck from the hole. motherfucker was featured in every other song. now this whole ordeal with his rape lyrics and his lyrics being fictitious we have media saving him with the likes of RA the rugged man dick riding ross back to the top and this dude writing this article. the thing is that Rick Ross doesn't want to admit he isn't about that life. slim thug the original boss hog

  • Nick T

    i aint even a ross fan, but Teflon don was a GREAT album and a MUST HAVE for everyone. all his other stuff is average at best

  • as

    Is just like gangsta or mob movies is gangsta is interesting but is not real same thing with rap enjoy it for the entertainment value nothing more nothing less

  • NeggZ

    Rap without reality isn't rap,it's like watching commercials...MC's you gotta take it personal again

  • kayandgee

    seems its like 'feel free to hate on ross season'. i dont like it

  • ga

    Some of you are acting like all the hate on Ross is because he was a CO. People hate him because they think he makes horrible music. The fact that he was a CO and lies about it makes it a bit worse.

  • buuda

    word up andres,an excellent read.maybe for a future article you could write about the extremely sexual lyrics surfacing in mainstream hiphop nowadays as well as drug use.I know this has been happening for a long time but I feel its become even more prominent lately.thanks and keep up the great work!

  • Gucci Mane

    Fuck all you niggas im wack as rapper but im real: - a throw your bitch out the car after sucking my dick - i shoot your homie dead - i beat yo called fans up. yeah fuck that fake; 50 cent who hustled as a kid and things he is gangsta, fuck game the stripper, fuck rick ross the cop, fuck Nas escobar nigga you only sold albums in your whole life. GUCCI THE REALEST

  • MC Hammer

    KEEP IT REAL IS: making good music and not switch from hardcore to weak poprap like: - 50 cent making bublegumrap and doing songs with justin timberlake - eminem dissing britney spears and now doing songs with rihanna and pink - snoop dogg from rapper to country singer to raggae singer - jay-z the poprapper doing songs with rihanna and coldplay

  • J-Smooth

    Fucc MMG and that bitch in the BASEMENT GGG GGG G-Unit

  • J-Smooth

    I dont have a problem with rap embellishment but I do have a problem with rappers lying and thatz the whole reason why I dont fucc wit Ross. I feel like if you will lie about that what else will you lie about. A shit load of rappers lie itz hip hop. But niggaz like him and even T.I who blatently lied on Lil Flip who to this day never released any tape showing Flip dissin him in some night club even though he said he had a tape. I cant fucc with that. I would never suggest rappers tell the truth about dirt they have done since we all know now that the Police listen to rsp in order to prosecute niggaz. Imagination is what make Hip-Hop great(Eminem anyone) and without it Hip-Hop would be dull as fucc. I just dont like niggaz who lie to come up or steal to come up. Also no rappers who kiss niggaz and wear womens jeggings will ever get play in my ride(faggot azz wayne).

  • Art Brooks

    Rap now a days: a known rat and a known ex-CO, and they get a pass.

  • So Icy Boi - Yung Icy Boi!

    what a wack article. only Ricky Ross and Lil Weezy F Baby aka Lil Tunechi are da realest MCs out dere. hip hop wud be dead without dem. swag

  • cbrown

    its cool if you telling a story to make a point or give some game on certain situations that's cool and respectable but if you just rapping a bunch of gangsta shit just to sell records then i cant respect it because then you just glorifying violence

    • Kizman

      i respect ur opinion, but i feel a large % of rap fans nowadays are hypocritical (not saying you are)

    • cbrown

      i got game from snoop he taught me not to trick with these hoes which is a priceless lesson cube taught me to take notice of how society treats young niggas ugk taught me about loyalty and staying true to yourself, i consider all of that to be game which i can use in my everyday life

    • Kizman

      then u must hate nwa, cube, snoop, biggie, big l, tyler and ugk



    • Anonymous

      Neither of those MMG compiliations have sold over 300k you liar. Unless you're counting worldwide numbers. MMG fans and Ross defenders have to constantly make up shit and lie to defend Ross just like William Roberts himself does

    • mark

      We can sit here all day and argue about why this album sold whatever much, but at the end WHAT DOES IT MATTER TO YOU? DO RECORD SALES HELP JUSTIFY WHY YOU LIKE WACK ARTIST? for me i'll listen to good music.

  • GAME

    G-Unot has been buried for years. Game killed them and none of them (especially this bitch 50) have been the same since. Now, while 50 starts giving away albums for free and they still flop, Game is on the West coast kickin the shit out of 50's friend 40 Glocc,LOL! #JESUSPIECE

    • Anonymous

      Game fans wanna talk about albums flopping? LOL how ironic is that? 25 features and that nicca could barely sell 225 in 4 months

  • Eye Control

    Rick Ross haters are by far the worst They like to bring up the fact that hes fat (which means nothing), and the fact that he was a CO when he was NINETEEN while conveniently overlooking the fact that he blew up in 06 (when he was 30), so while they like to say he is the fakest rapper ever, and he never sold dope, they themselves have to no proof for that claim. Really? You were alongside him for 11 years, and you know for a FACT that he didnt slang? Doubt that, specially when real niggaz from Miami vouch for him. Theres so many real niggaz that have vouched for Ross over the years, outside the rap game Not to mention, Ross is from Carol City, the meanest part of Miami. He ran with the Boobie Boys (the gang that ran Miamis drug scene) and Ross was KENNETH BOOBIE WILLIAMS' FUCKING PROTEGE for godsakes Also, Meek Mill is BY FAR the realest nigga in rap (this is not up for a debate). Do you think hed not only work with Ross, but be Ross' right hand man if he thought for one second Ross was a fake? Also, Chief Keef is a real nigga (how long is his rap sheet, specially for a 17 y/o), and hes worked with Ross

    • Anonymous

      I swear you got a notepad with all these comments saved. I thought Gunplay was the realest nigga in the game BY FAR (not up for debate) now you're saying its meek? Meek been rapping since he was a teenager he wasnt no real gangster. Sure hes from the streets but he knew he wasnt built for that life why do you think he started rapping?

  • Rozay

    Ricky worked as a CO for ONE year. Youve never seen thug niggas who hold down day-jobs? He has many real Miami thugs that he still runs around with to vouch for him Sure, some of his rhymes are fabricated, but who the fucks arent? Rap is full of hyperboles and bragging. Tell me a rapper that hasnt made up shit in his rhymes, and Ill call you a liar Bawse!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      It was a year and a half and those thugs only vouch for him because he gives them money. Bunch of bums from the street will vouch for anyone if you're feeding them

    • Art Brooks

      Then why'd he lie like a little punk when questioned about it originally?

  • Kizman

    can never understand hiphop fans infatuation with rappers that are real and about that lifewho the fuck cares if he was really a thug or not? Ur not hangin out with himthe real question is CAN HE RAP?? HOW IS HIS MUSIC?? U dont get a pass cuz your REALLY a criminal. Fuck that. I could careless about what you do in your personal time. I just want to get to some good music when I buy your album thats it. Only in hip hop do we say yea, his music sucks but hes REAL so I like him

  • Ricky Rozay

    most of these rappers aint real niggas. Word, Nas bankrupt never was a drug runner, Lil Wayne aint no blood, Jeezy aint no BMF, 50 a snitch, Game a stripper, 2pac a ballerina. None of these niggas real you guys. If they was all real they all be dead now. Like it or not ROSS IS THE NEW BIGGIE! BAWSE!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      No one is talking about Biggie or Pun. and everyone calls them fat. Difference is they could rap.

    • Ricky Rozay

      ur really gonna diss Rossb/c of his weight? is that even legit? biggie and big pun were fat, yet u dont say shit bout them, do u? Bawse!!!!!!!!!

    • Normal

      Rick ross is a fat cunt who ate his mates when he grew up, You and your Two Headeed daugther shoulds be ashamed that you listen that crap.

  • Brandon

    I still don't get it. How do y'all know what Rick Ross didn't do over his years before during or after being a CO???? Ross is always going to paint the picture and it doesn't mean that he never hustled at no time in his life. Y'all saying it's not possible because he was a CO is a dumb argument!


    Gucci is the realest rapper and heres why. 1) all other rappers rap about being gangster shooting and killing but they havent done it. 2) Eminem raps about killing he hasnt. 3)Jay z raps in open letter about sending shots he hasnt. 4)Nas raps about how he is a queens thug but he wasn't. 5)Most of the rappers rap about stuff they havent done yet you all support them and say its real rap. 6)When rick ross does it you all claim he is fake and say its fake rap. This shows that hiphop fans are hypocritical and all these real hiphop fan wanna be's are just some unjustified haters whose opinions are just as irrelevent as the swag fag rapper fans. GUCCI KILLED A MAN HE WAS A DRUG DEALER BEFORE RAPPER HE HAS STREET CREDENTIALS HE IS THE ONLY RAPPER THAT RAPS ABOUT FACTS THERE FORE GUCCI IS THE REALEST RAPPER IN THE RAP GAME AND THATS A FACT!!

  • Nick T

    Suburban whites who don't have the street IQ to know the difference between a C.O. and a policeman are still heartbroken that Ross doesnt know Pablo Escobar and that JayZ didn't lose 92 Bricks. The Streets and people who listen to music for entertainment don't concern themselves with weather or not Dr Dre was ever a "Gangsta" or if Pusha T ever sold kilograms or if Snoop ever lived off the earnings of a prostitute....we listen to rap-music for the sound of the instruments and the slickness of the poetry. Suburban whites listen to our music so they can live out a "Ghetto" fantasy through the lives of our rappers which is why they focus so much on what they perceive as real/fake or fabricated/authenticated...our music is their only means of getting a street education so they actually attempt to believe song lyrics are supposed to be biographical criminal confessions. I think they should stick to listening to Emenim rap about serial killing or discuss how "fraudulent" it was for Emenim to make racist rap songs and then try to sue the Source Magazine o keep them away from the public.

    • Anonymous

      Suburban whites are the only reason Rick Ross has a career you moron. Who do you think buys his albums and go to his concerts? Newsflash its not street niggas. and FYI C.O.'s are worse than cops. They search inmates for drugs including their assholes. They steal from inmates. They assault inmates. They RAPE inmates. Generally C.O. make life hell for inmates in prison.

  • Burkett

    Listen to the song "Fakin" by Lecrae ft. Thi'sl.

  • D. From Q.U.

    "Fake thug no love you get the slug CB4, gusto your luck low"

  • Mark

    My problem with most fiction rappers is that they try to stay in character 24/7, most true hiphop fans can see through it. Its very corny and fake; I blame the fans for being so gullible. At least when Denzel steps of the set and does interviews hes not still acting like a crooked cop or that hes Ray Allens Dad. lol

  • Da Boss

    LOLOOL That jayz quote is from Streets is Watching.. Get your shit DX!!

  • Anonymous

    White-skinned people are weird, they go online and call Rick Ross a "Corrections Officer" as if it's some kind of insult and then in the same breath give praise to other rappers who they view as being authentic criminals....the shit is sad. I'm proud that a Black man had a legitimate legal job even if it was only for a year, I'd rather see my people working as C.O.s instead of selling poison to our people in our own communities. I have no problem with rappers who use personas because I know that Too Short was never a pimp, Dr Dre was never a Gangsta, Tupac was never a thug and Biggie was never a Big Poppa. If Ross wants to use a "Boss" persona and a "Hustler" persona then he needs to be an actual C.E.O and have a couple million in his bank account to make it believable.

    • Anonymous

      We all seen proof that Ross was a C.O. and a liar but no proof 50 snitched on anyone. Thats why he hasnt been touched in 10 years even though everyone knows where he live at

    • Rozay

      who cares if Ricky was a cop? 50 was a SNITCH ! i'd trust a cop over a snitch!!!!! Bawse!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      white-skinned people made rick ross a millionaire. do you really think the black community were the ones buying his records and going to his concerts

    • Anonymous

      unlike you ross wasnt proud to have a legit legal job because he denied that shit

  • Truth

    top 3 CB4's of alltime(no order): lil weezy 50 cent rick ross

  • Chill thrills

    Telling stories is one thing,,,,,saying you this and you that,on that street level and you never lived that life is straight fronting,,,fuck that ,,,there are real heads that are going to jail fucking up there hoods,,,,and there lives and that's supposed to be fly,,,,if you lived it and and you spit it,,and you send a message to not do those things,,,that's cool,,,,,but.if a fake nigga start rapping and acting like all that shit is the move and he getting money off it.....that shit is the the main reason,,hip-hop is corny right now Where I'm from your word is your bond and or being born,,,real heads don't lie to kick it,,,,,shit we've been lied to so much by the powers that be niggas don't know what to believe,,,,,,do the knowledge y'all peace

  • inthegrae

    I think this article makes one major mistake; it equates fictional tracks with fictional personas. Art itself can of course be inauthentic as far as its content is an expression of the artist, but when an artist pretends to be someone other than who they are in their personal life in an attempt to gain respect so people will be interested in their art, then they are participating in a con; a fraud. Deniro can play a gangster in a work of fiction, but when the cameras are off he's Robert Deniro, not Al Capone or Jimmy from Goodfellas. But when James Gandolfini seemed to have trouble separating himself from Tony Soprano, we all had a snicker. Because he's not a mobster. He's fooling himself, and trying to fool other people. And you can not respect that. Nobody likes the dude trying to act like somebody they're not. But we all love the dude that can tell a story the long as we know he's not making it up

  • Anonymous

    Hip-hop today is such a joke i dont know how people defend it. The only reason i can understand is that the people who defend it just dont know any better. If you missed out on the golden era i feel sorry for you cuz you will never understand what you missed out on and what us old school fans fight for. So pretty much in order to be a successful rapper today you: - Dont need to be lyrical (Soulja Boy, Baby, Waka Flocka, Gucci Mane) - Dont need to talk about anything relevant (most rappers today) - Can lie your ass off to all the fans (Rick Ross and most of todays rappers) - Dont even need to know how to rhyme (Lil B) - Can get away with telling the fans you care more about the money then the music you make for "the fans" (Baby, Waka Flocka) - Can act like a barbie doll and still have adults listening to you (Nicki Minaj) - Can use the same rhyme patterns and same beats as everyone else (everyone) - Can make and album full of talking about your dick and eating pussy and have men listen to it (Lil wayne) - Can be 35 years old and still talking about swag and bitches (2 chainz)

    • Anonymous

      the commons, roots, mos def, krs-one, nas, and many of the other 90's rappers were too intelligent to allow the labels to abuse them. The labels want people they can control and will follow what they say so they went out a got them some of those people.

    • So sad

      It really is just so sad, every point you made is so true, I honestly do not know what has happened to mainstream Rap, these bums and retards have been allowed in and got major promotion, it's just so shady these days, R.I.P mainstream Rap and Hip-Hop, back to the undergound we go..

  • Assassin221

    I never really believed hip-hop was 100% real anyway. I haven't done the research, but when I listened to Mobb Deep "The Infamous" I never took that as being shit they personally went through. I never really believed Cypress Hill was blasting cops on the regular or any of that. I always interpreted it as fictional bravado, although not totally fake in the sense that these dudes were rapping about shit they were surrounded by, maybe they knew cats who did it, etc. So even though maybe all these gangsta rappers didn't do all that personally, they're still rhyming about what they know. Now I do think if a rapper really really presents himself as being real and tries to pass off rhymes as fact, then it should be real shit that actually happened. But if it's a halfway gangster rhyming as if he's a full gangster in the spirit of making good music, I don't see it as being fake or a problem.

  • D-Block Y.O

    Rappers With Street Credibility Styles P Cormega Beanie Sigel B.G Maino 50 Cent Ghostface Killah Inspectah Deck Ransom Scarface Uncle Murda Truthfully i dont care much if they are doin what they say unless they are a complete lying fuck like ross or tyga

    • Anonymous

      Again with the lies. Large Professor, Mary J Blige, Anthony Hamilton, Miguel, Swizz Beatz and Amy Winehouse were all features on Nas' Life is Good album. Ross supporters are liars and frauds just like William Roberts. They have to lie and make things up to try and prove a point

    • Ricky Rozay

      So many people in the rap game acknowledge/respect Ross, validating him. You think an artist would work with Ross if they thought he was a fraud? Ross was the only rapper that was featured on Nas' Life is Good, a testament to how good of an MC he is. The only niggaz that dont fuck with Ross is 50 Cent (whos fallen off so damn hard) & Jeezy (who got mad jealous of Ross). Unless your favorite rapper is one of someone underground, chances are your favorite rapper likes/and has worked with Ross before. I saw so many people yell Please no Ross in that thread about Kanyes 6th album features. But guess what, Kanye LOVES Ross!!!!! Bawse!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      its the fact that he lied about it and denied it. if he would have told the truth no one would really care. like the title of this article, ross didnt KEEP IT REAL

    • Anonymous

      I'm an artist and I have nothing against working with a guy who worked for a year as a C.O. just like I have nothing against working with a guy who sold crack-cocaine to a pregnant woman. Would I work with convicted sex-offenders like Mystikal and Tupac? Woman-beaters like Biggie and Chris Brown? Pedophiles like R-Kelly? Murderers like X-Raided? Is having a legal job really that offensive to you people but you worship and adore criminal sociopaths? What's wrong with you people?

    • Anonymous

      I just heard a new Styles and Jadakiss song where Styles P says something you an MC Gusto i seriously lost a lot of respect for Styles for doing that BMF song, its not like it really helped his career at all anyway he should have KEPT IT REAL and said as a former inmate I`m not working with a former C.O. fuck that nigga

    • Anonymous

      they dont respect his hustle they just know hes hot at the moment and thats good for their own careers. most of these dudes say all kinds of shit about being real that totally contradicts working with a fraud like Officer Ross

    • Mervin

      Get a life you weirdo. The rappers you listed have ZERO respect for you, you act like you know what they did in the streets but you are just a geek who gets info online and gives rappers a street-cred rating like they are Pokemon. Let me shit in your mouth with this: Styles P Beanie Sigel Ghostface Killah Scarface .....all have songs with Rick Ross because at the end of the day they respect his hustle and the fact that he's a hustler while people like you are just worthless wannabees.

  • ola dioss

    realest rappers for me are JET LIFE right now...just my humble opinion

  • Real

    Rick Ross, Jay Z, Baby, Drake, Wayne, and YES Nikki Minaj are making the RIGHT moves to survive in current times. And Jay Z has outlasted all of them because he's the smartest one, not the illest, not the youngest, not the most gangsta, THE SMARTEST!

    • Anonymous

      And i agree with you but in return with them making the "RIGHT" moves we are getting less quality music. Remember, you are a fan so you have to look at it from a fans perspective and stop sticking up for rappers who you have no connection with. As fans the only thing we get from an artist is their music so if the music aint right i dont care how much swag or money or bitches these rappers have, they gotta step it the fuck up or go. You are falling into the trap the music industry is setting up for you to continuing buying into their products/artists. Its called Brand Loyalty.

  • R(ill)istic

    Atmosphere is a great example of an MC who has dabbled on both sides: fiction and non-fiction. His first few albums were all about his own life and his own stories. Now fast-forward and he is telling stories about other people he has met and interacted with. Ross is a fake though no doubt about that. You go from a Correctional Officer to a rapper rhyming about drug dealing. That is just stupidity at its best.

    • Anonymous

      This has nothing to do with skin color you fool. Black people hate Ross just as much if not more than white people Ross wouldnt be where he is today without his white-skinned fan base.

    • Anonymous

      Conversations about Rozay usually expose white-skinned people. Rozay spent a year as a C.O. when he was 19 years old and white-skinned people think that it automatically disqualifies him to rap about the streets. LOL. These squares are so clueless that it makes you laugh, they act like this man had a prolonged career in corrections and then became a rapper overnight. Did these squares forget about Trick Daddy, Tony Draper, E-Class, & Ted Lucas in regard to Rozays rise? Why do E-geeks make themselves seem so clueless?

    • Anonymous

      not exactly. while all of ross's peers have gone platinum he has failed to do so

    • Sigh

      Is it really? Ross seems to have figured out how to make MUSIC that SELLS from my point of view. There is NOTHING dumb about Rick Ross, hate him or not.

  • Anonymous

    To add there are rappers who rap about real events or historical facts but Jay DOES at least for 90% of his material KEEP IT REAL when he speaks on himself.

    • Anonymous

      rick ross states like he really did that shit, he actually uses someone else name as a stage name, Nas' was just a persona he only used for 2-3 albums max

    • Anonymous

      Rozay had no affiliations, associations, or mentors until he became famous! Niggas been exposed. He was a good student. Never sold drugs. Graduated school. His momma lived in a nice neighborhood and had a good job that was far from ghetto. He went to school and studied CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

    • Anonymous

      The only authentic rapper in the industry is Emenim because his serial-killer raps come from his experience as a rapist & murderer. Dr Dre & Ice Cube were never "Gangsters" but they helped pioneer so-called Gangsta Rap and nobody ever questioned their authenticity. Too Short & Ice T helped pioneer so-called Pimp Rap but they readily admit that they have never pimped hoes. Public Enemy helped pioneer so-called Militant Rap and one of their most vocal members was a former Corrections Officer named Professor Griff. Tupac was no Thug/Rider Biggie was no Big-Poppa/Frank White Do people honestly believe that Nas's "Escobar" persona was real and that he sold kilo's of coke or are you intelligent enough to know that his rap lyrics were fictional street poems? Rozay is not some white-skinned Suburban geek who just picked up a microphone and started rapping about drugs, he's from a community were drug activity is a major problem and based on his affiliations, associations and mentors he's qualified to rap about what he saw growing up in Carol City just like Nas is qualified to rap about what he saw growing up in Queensbridge. I listen to street-poetry-rap to enjoy the slick poetry and the beat/music, I'm not a geek looking for a sociology lesson on street life so I could care less if the story's are true or embellished as long as I enjoy my listening experience. Emenim is the only real rapper alive who actually lives his rape/murder lyrics, I like how Emenim can rap about murdering women and still get an endorsement from Chrysler, Emenim is friggin awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Jay Z is the only rapper that raps about his REAL LIFE activities.

  • Anonymous

    YEAH Pac and Biggie really did EVERYTHING they wrote about.

  • yeaaahh

    Hip-hop is an art form so I don't see a problem with rappers using their imagination. I actually wish more rappers would do it This whole "keep it real" bullshit is putting a strain on the art. You don't see other genres having this problem. It's funny how my parents didn't want me listening to hip-hop growing up, but had no problem with me having violent movies and video games. It's because rappers made themselves seem like criminals instead of letting you know it's just music and entertainment.

    • Anonymous

      Funny that with all this imagination all Rick Ross music is about the same shit and it all sounds the same. Shit is redundant as fuck

  • Woop

    both rick ross and 50 cent are prime examples of CB4. both stole their name from the original rick ross and 50 cent and like about selling coke and being gangsters when their not even in the hood ahah.. for CB4's are lil weezy, lil jeezy, yeezy, peezy and teezy..

    • Anonymous

      you're a moron

    • woop

      the fake rick ross was a correctional officer not a drug dealing gangsta kingpin you idiot.. and stealing someone's name when their dead and gone doesnt make it better it makes in cowardly, the fake 50 cent been rich and in the rap game for what 9+ years and still talkin bout coke life and killing he's 40 andneeds to grow up and where u with him while he was sellig all this coke u sheep..

    • Anonymous

      You cannot compare 50 Cent to Rick Ross. To this day Rick Ross denies even taking his name from Freeway Rick Ross, he says it came from his high school nickname Big Boss. 50 was always upfront about who he borrowed his name from and why, and at least the man he took it from was already dead. and 50 Cent actually sold coke. not saying he was a kingpin but he was really in the streets. of course he's gonna rap about that stuff having spent the first 25 or so years of his life in the hood

  • The Ol Man Singing Ol Man Rivers Wife the third paragraph of your comment [about Gucci Maine] you describe Gucci Maine a rapper/writer. A more apt description would have been ..a nigga with potential....

  • The Ol Man Singing Ol Man River.

    Really interesting article. the point about 'credibility-keeping it real-individual rappers rapping about their own experiences' is very interesting and may be important in discourses about the evolution of rap as a genre....and it provides insight into how power is used to elevate some rappers over others in the industry. I dont know why RR would be embarrassed being outed as a corrections officer....indicates, to me at least, that the man has a broader more balanced perspective from which to draw from - probably why you dont hear about him cracking fans over the head with bottles and going to prison... ...and thats why Gucci Maine is in prison...because he lacks perspective and balance and professional credibility as a rapper/ increase his street credibility among his peers and stay in the headlines he becomes the simple violent criminal and a fake because as a rapper/writer he became very ordinary over a short period of time....Id go as far as sayin that Gucci Maine is finished as a rapper and should seriously consider stickin with senseless violent crime.

  • TheReal

    The deal is that hip-hop today is strictly for entertainment purposes where back in the day it was the voice of the people. Rappers from the past represented the people, the culture, the art, and the communities they grew up in where todays rappers represent themselves, and the corporations they work for. We expected realness form rapers back in the day because we looked at them as regular people we could relate to. Todays rappers are superstar celebrities that we cant touch. We put them on these pedestals that we cant reach. This allows them to slide with the fake shit. The worse part is that because we cant relate to the majority of these celebrities because they are too rich, too cool, have too much swag, the fans try so hard to relate to something they cant and they follow a misguided path that ends in disappointment.

  • level

    I have a problem with Jay-Z or any rapper rapping about the streets if you are not about that life and it's been 10 to 15 years since you were even in the hood. If you are rapping about things that occurred to other or what you saw from your window, then don't say that you lived it when you didn't. I call that fake

    • ola dioss

      well if you listen to Jay-z lyrics his lyrics talk more so now about what he's making, what he's spending, his unborn / born kids, what business he's doing, and also talking about how he's a boss and can handle you...BOSSES NEVER PULL THE TRIGGER WHEN THEY MAKE IT TO BOSS STATUS lol.

    • Anonymous

      how do you know what he lived though? dudes like 50 cent only been out the hood for a little over 10 years, that means more than 2/3's of his life was spent in the hood and he will probably always have that mentality

  • Ricky Rozay

    Most of these rappers ain't real. Drake a child actor, Weezy ain't about that life. French Montana never sold no coke. Like it or not Rick Ross is the closest thing we have to Mc Gusto Bawese!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      French did not sell coke. He been exposed. He did credit card scams and then got into the dvd game and thats how he got his money before rap how he got into the industry by dickriding every clique in rap until someone was finally dumb enough to give him a deal.

    • Anonymous

      french montana did sell coke, ross is a fraud, weezy was living rich style since he was 8 or something, adopted by Baby and drake was a child actor, so only french is from the hood but he's still an average rapper

  • kennyis22

    I think for hip-hop to be an art, rappers must have the option to write stories. It doesn't just have to be an autobiographical story; it can be a story from a perspective of a character. The problem comes when you tell a story that you imply is your story and is obviously fictional. This is Rick Ross' problem. I think this is also what separates Eminem from Rick Ross in the problem of rape in songs. Eminem clearly does not imply that he rapes women in real life, but Rick Ross implies (or at least doesn't do anything to try to differentiate) that his raps are his life, which is why Ross' rape lyric is worse. Though, this is not to say that Eminem did not get criticism from his lyrics; he clearly did at his peak, even though I disagree with criticism of Eminem. Eminem gets the artistic license to portray different things like rape because its part of his artistry, much like how violence and rape are part of movies. In either case, rape and violence are not condoned. Some may disagree, but I think most believe that Rick Ross is not concerned with artistry, but rather than perpetuating his fiction as "real."

  • Anonymous

    Most rappers will fantasize but when they do keep it real it just makes for a better song. You can actually feel the emotion thats coming from them. When you get a guy like rick ross where every song he makes is fiction, it gets old and annoying. I dont think hes come out with a song without a car reference in the title. Im sorry but i cant call that shit art. Thats just lazy music.

  • nope

    Stupidasses still asking 'so what if it aint real', read last paragraph again. The 4th sentence...

  • Anonymous

    Since day one rappers told fictional stories and created personas for themselves but something about rick ross just rubs me the wrong way. I not saying hes a terrible rapper but put yourself in the real rick ross's shoes for a minute. Imagine if some guy form your neighborhood stole your nickname and persona and started marketing it like it was his and making mad money off of you. You would be tight as hell especially if that guy wasnt even living the life he was talking about.

  • Anonymous

    ja rule "i'm real" is all I'm a say

  • Anonymous

    if you wanna be real, talk to ja rule

  • Anonymous

    ja rule invented the realness in rap game

  • Anonymous

    Ja rule is the realest rapper in the world, he should write this shit

  • Jonathan

    Firstly, I hate nitpicking, but the Jay-Z verse you quoted was from the song, "Streets is Watching" not "Where I'm from." Secondly, while I did find the editorial stirring in its scrutinizing of fiction/real rap, I found it odd how you failed to shed light on songs like "The moment I feared" or "Kill Nigguz" by Slick Rick, songs that are clearly fictional from an artist who confidently declared himself "The Storyteller." I think not enough attention was paid to the difference between the songs and the artists themselves; fictional songs are great in that they aren't limited by reality, while fictional artists can be viewed in an opposite light as they are difficult to relate to due to their lack of realistic limitations. Overall a great article, but one the writer could have dug much deeper into.

    • blaqonlinedotcom

      I dont think there has ever been a problem with artists creating fictional rhymes. Actually those artists, like Slick Rick have be revered because they are story tellers and use their imagination to entertain. I think the problem enters when artists create fictional characters, stories, etc. Then pass it off as truth about themselves. WWE once claimed it was real and because they claimed it was real they had to keep their storytelling within the bounds of reality. Once they admitted that it was entertainment, they were able to take it where ever they felt imaginable. So if an artist wants to take it to knew heights, just be real with who you are, admit that you have your real personality and your entertainment personality and you can remove the pressure and take things to new levels.

  • rape ross

    Lost my Reebok deal "she ain't even know it"

  • Nicklas

    People write books telling someone else's story. People make movies telling someone else's story. People make music telling someone else's story. What's the problem here?

    • Anonymous

      the problem is niggas like ross want to deny that they are telling fictional stories and claim to be a boss who really moved 100's of kilos and that he can put 1000 gangsters in any hood

    • yes

      Exactly, thank you. Music, including hip hop, is an art form which enables an artist to tell stories from the most various perspectives. It's entertainment. Same as movies, books, paintings, video games. It's made to entertain and teach people. Of course, Rick Ross's whole musical existence being based on SOMEONE else's name, life and appearance, is very much on the margin of being a legitimate "different perspective", especially with him denying reports about his original life. But on the other hand - how could you enter the scene in the first place as a popular Rap star if you admit to haveing been a C.O.

    • Anonymous

      they write what ever they want as long the bars are complicated

  • Anonymous

    Busta Rhymes and Eminem - Hurt

  • Hypestyle

    I refuse to support the nonsense of the drug-gamers, super-pimps and so-called "bosses of the street". That's keeping it real.

  • Anonymous

    kanye west - cant tell me nothin young buck - Get Buck young buck - puff puff pass

  • perfect song

    Oddisee - People hear what they see

  • perfect song

    Apollo Brown - Hungry ft. Rapper Big Pooh & Black Milk

  • the essence

    wu-tang clan - bells of war

  • the essence

    the underground radio station on slacker radio . com

  • Anonymous

    binary star - reality check thats what real rrap is

  • tru essence

    for me its about perfect bars elzhi - "thats that one" is and has the tru essence of hip hop or Moka Only - Bridges

  • Anonymous

    drake got no essence

  • Anonymous

    krs one can tell you about the essence of hip hop try and find it on youtube i think its n a documentary called the art of 16 bars elzhi got essence

  • Anonymous

    what is real i think u just need perfect bars over bomb beats the rhymes make the true essence of hip hop a rhyme on time makes the song shine



  • Baby,

    You know what The Rule would say? "I'm real!" (the way you walk, the way you talk)