These Are The Ten Rap Commandments For Hip-Hop’s New Generation
We wouldn’t say that these ten Rap Commandments are akin to the word of God, but this list is a roadmap for anyone looking to avoid the pitfalls of the game.
While hip-hop is ever evolving by definition, certain goal posts remain the same. There are rules to this ish that apply whether you were a gun-toting 90’s MC with a chip on your shoulder or a pill-popping rapper from the 2000’s now all in your feelings.
What these aforementioned rules exactly consist of are fiercely debated by default. Christianity and Judaism were on to something with the 10 Commandments, a handy set of rules for living an ethically on point life. Whether you’re a God-fearing person, an atheist or even a straight up heathen, the 10 Commandments offer worthy wisdom for success. Not coveting a man’s wife will surely avoid the delivery of a proper fade and not killing is pretty obvious.
For the sake of clarity, and for the benefit of its future rap stars, hip-hop could use its own 10 Rap Commandments. We wouldn’t dare say these are akin to the word of God—who is surely a hip-hop head. However, by incorporating common sense, experience, and streets smarts, this list is a feasible roadmap to stardom for a would-be MC that avoids pitfalls like selling out or getting ejected from the paint.
Abiding by these simple but wide-ranging tenets to hip-hop success will keep new age rappers from achieving milk carton status.
1. Thou shalt represent for and respect Hip-Hop culture.
Hip-hop has gone from what many dismissed as a fad to the dominant culture of the world. Treat it with respect. This goes out to all you tools worrying about being “rock stars” or “going into acting” instead of rocking the mic.
2. Thou shalt respect the architects.
Hip-hop founders like Kool DJ Herc and Grandmaster Flash literally put their lives on the line in order to throw parties, play the freshest beats and inadvertently make hip-hop a global phenomenon. The least you can do is be familiar with the legends. We suggest checking out Wild Style and Style Wars for starters.
3. Thou shalt accept the fact that the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac are to be protected at all costs.
Don’t be that troll who comes out and says some nonsense about being better than Tupac (we’re looking at you, Xxxtentacion) or that Biggie Smalls was just a-ight. There’s a reason why rappers speaking such lunacy find their mentions in shambles.
4. Thou shalt stay alive.
Jadakiss famously rapped that “dead rappers get better promotion,” and it’s true. However, it’s worth it to stick around and enjoy your fame. Pill popping, smoking and drinking yourself to an early grave isn’t fair to your impressionable fans on multiple levels. Even Lil Pump gave up the Xanax.
5. Thou shalt stay woke.
We’re not asking you to debate the nuances of the Illuminati with Jay Electronica, but at least be aware of important current events. For example, the culture is not here for Donald Trump and Kendrick Lamar or Jay-Z should always get the Grammy.
6. Thou best diversify your revenue streams.
While we love a healthy dedication to the culture, we don’t expect you to be a pauper. Flipping your rap talents into money-making endeavors like merchandising, touring or a plush creative director gig is essential because that streaming money is even tighter than record label dividends.
7. Thou shalt not steal another rapper’s rhymes.
Biting is never allowed. We’re not talking about collaborating with a ghostwriter—welp, there goes that GOAT bid, though. Stealing a rapper’s style wholesale and trying to make it your own is a no-no. Some cats flourish for 15-minutes doing so, but you already forgot who they were.
8. Thou shalt socialize, up to a certain point.
Nowadays rappers not being on social media is a big deal, but they always pop up when an album is on deck. That Twitter feed is just faster at getting news out than any publicist, and any rapper with a private social media account is the epitome of hustling backward. Just don’t OD with the TMI. The goal is to engage with your fans and make them buy into you, not learn to hate your guts.
9. Thou shalt avoid reality TV like the plague.
Name a rapper who dropped music via a reality TV show who in turn popped off and onto the Billboard charts? We’ll wait. Now consider that Cardi B became a successful rapper after she bounced from Love & Hip Hop: New York. Any questions?
10. Thou shalt not covet the next rapper’s lifestyle.
Ever notice how Tyga is always getting put on blast by TMZ for owing someone money followed by a judge inevitably ordering him to pay a vendor back? It’s just not a good look. Not everyone can come into the game like Jay-Z, but c’mon son.
Alvin “Aqua” Blanco is a Brooklyn, New York based writer who hopes his favorite team—the New York Knicks—really wins the Paul George sweepstakes.