Why Rappers Are the New Rock Stars
What comes to mind when you think of tight skinny jeans, leather pants, studs on denim jackets and open-buttoned shirts?
I think of skinny white guys on drugs — just kidding, but not completely. The answer is rock stars.
The classic staples of a rock star included these items (never washed, of course). It was the look of a rebel. Think Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix and more.
We don’t have artists like that anymore — it seems like all the guitar-driven bands these days are either depressing af or as corny as Maroon 5.
Instead, rappers have adopted the skinny jean look and are the ones setting trends. Rappers are the rock stars of our generation, and they’re the most popular and fun artists of today, reminiscent of the rock star scene’s glory days.
Here’s why rappers are like rock stars now.
1. Change in Style
Remember when hip-hop was associated with baggy pants? I just think of Dem Franchize Boys’ song, “White Tee,” from 2004. Huge shorts and oversized tees were all the rage.
But fashion in hip hop is much more all over the place now. We can find our favorite rappers in tight denim cutoffs, leather vests or even a crop top like what Kid Cudi wore at 2014’s Coachella.
People were shocked at the time because why would a rapper be in a crop top? Kid Cudi is no average rapper, anyway. He also makes rock music, but let’s not talk about that Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven album; WZRD, on the other hand is a conversation I’m willing to have about its underrated beauty.
2. Moshing and “Playing” Instruments
I remember going to New Jersey’s now defunct Bamboozle festival (which had mostly rock) and backing away from mosh pits that formed.
But now there are mosh pits at Kanye West concerts (I saw it with my own eyes at Madison Square Garden for the Saint Pablo Tour)! This used to be the domain of rock, but rappers may find a mosh pit at their concerts now, just like how A$AP Ferg had them when I went to his concert in 2013 too.
Rae Sremmund took advantage of hip-hop’s rock star scene in their music video for “Black Beatles,” which shows them acting as a real rock band, “playing” the guitar, bass and drums at a show with screaming fans. The video culminates with them destroying their instruments, like true rebels without a cause because honestly, who needs ’em?
3. Drug Use (Besides Weed)
It’s no secret that many of our favorite rock stars indulged in drug use — cocaine, pills, LSD, etc.
These days, rappers are often talking about lean, Percocet, and cocaine. Migos loves to mention Percocet, like in “Get Right Witcha,” Travis Scott mentions cocaine in “Biebs in the Trap” and much more of these references show up in other tracks.
Is this the healthiest rock star trait to emulate? Probs not. But the similarity between rappers and old-school rock bands here is undeniable.
4. Dating Models
Pop culture has revealed that models and musicians go hand-in-hand. Not only rock stars like David Bowie and Mick Jagger have dated or married models, rappers and R&B singers love to date them too!
Examples: A$AP Rocky and Kendall Jenner, A$AP Rocky and Chanel Iman formerly (he loves his models), The Weeknd and Bella Hadid and probably more now or later. Hot people and musicians just go together.
5. Almost-Total Musical Dominance
The best turn up music is hip-hop, period.
Before there was hip-hop, we probably would have turned up to funk and soul music or hard rock like Led Zeppelin. But hip hop is growing, as the Nielsen ratings have shown. People party to it in the bars and clubs. Currently, six out of the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 are hip-hop/R&B tracks.
I think that’s foretelling of the genre’s significance in popularity. Where are the major rock stars now? If they were smart, they’d be making hip-hop.