The ten biggest tropes in rap music
Rap is not the homogeneous radio-whoring genre that people make it out to be...most of the time. But the rest of the time, you have to admit that rap can be just as formulaic and predictable as its detractors claim. If you're looking to find a new appreciation for one of America's greatest musical creations, stop reading. Otherwise, continue on for the ten biggest tropes in rap music.
See also: The ten biggest tropes in country music
Ah, yes, the streets. The vast and nameless streets. Which streets? Doesn't matter, as long as they're unforgiving. Most of us were born on a street, but that doesn't mean we're from the streets. Beverly Hills, Cherry Hills, pretty much any hills -- technically, these places all have streets. But South Central, Compton, Harlem, Detroit -- those are the streets we're talking about. Why are we talking about them? Because that's where the shit happens.
Whether they're slangin', inhalin' or drankin' them, drugs are on the tip of most every rapper's tongue, literally and figuratively. Rap stars may not be hurling TVs out their hotel windows, but the rap lifestyle is at least as entwined with drugs as the rock lifestyle. The best rap songs about drugs don't simply glorify them, though; they detail a much more realistic love/hate relationship with them: "I Feel Like Dying," by Lil Wayne, or "Drug Ballad," by Eminem, for example.
Why, oh, why do "chrome" and "dome" have to rhyme? If guns were all lined with, I don't know, manganese instead, rappers and their admirers might be shooting tangerines instead of each other. Such senseless violence.
We're not going to argue semantics about the difference between women and bitches in rap because it doesn't matter for the sake of this point. A large percentage of rap songs have something to do with bitches. Even songs that portend to not be about bitches -- "99 Problems," for example -- are actually about bitches. If Sigmund Freud was a rapper, you know he would be talking about bitches. That's the nature of the game, for now, at least. If the ubiquity of this trope offends you, it should. But that doesn't make it any less true.