If you saw the latest preview for the next episode of Beats 1 radio show OTHERtone, hosted by Pharrell and Scott Vener, you would have seen them discussing the state of hip hop today with Flying Lotus. The conversation stemmed from the question asked by Vener; “I don’t mean this as a provocative question, but do you think hip-hop is in a good place right now, like lyricist-wise?”
He also drops in the shady notion that it “might be dominated by artists who aren’t as skilled.”
“Every generation says that, it’s just, the art form changes,” Pharrell began to explain before Vener interrupts him with a follow-up question. “Do you think it’s driven by the lyricist that are changing it or the music that people are responding to?”
To answer his question, Pharrell used the example of old comedies to demonstrate the idea that music needs to evolve in order to survive and appeal to the changing tastes of audiences. “It’s rare that things are timeless,” he said.
He ended his point on the idea that hip-hop is always evolving, regardless of whether we like it or not. It need to happen, just as society does in terms of what is seen as normal or right.”It’s evolution and we just have to be happy about it and actually participate, participate in the leading,” he says.
Lotus agreed. “Here’s the good part—there’s room for everybody now,” he said. “You can be super lyrical…you can just ride the beat barely rhymin’, and it’s all good.”
When Vener brought up the idea that artist’s don’t tell stories in hip-hop anymore, Lotus was surprised. Pharrell disagreed, saying they are being told, but they’re not popular. Vener changed his point, saying people now would rather feel good than hear stories.
“But I’m not mad at that because there just needs to be, has to be change,” Pharrell maintains his stance.
Pharrell and FlyLo’s openminded explanations eventually won over Vener’s negativity and provided listeners with more insights into the genre and where it’s heading. It will really open up your mind to some ideas you probably hadn’t given much thought about until now.
Watch the preview below to see Pharrell’s epic shut down.