Talking Hip Hop with B’More Ravens Cornerback Chris Carr
How do you think Hip Hop evolved:
Initially it was all about lyricism where you had to know how to rap. It wasn’t about dancing, my Dougie, or none of that stuff at all. If you look at people in the 90’s who came out that are still relevant today, Wu Tang, Common, Talib Kwali, Mos Def, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Outkast, Tu Pac, Nas… These are the best people who have ever done it and today these individuals are still making albums. We got into the 2000’s where we left off where the 90’s were, but it started changing a little bit. You had certain folks like J’Kwon, and Chingy, and Nelly, who were starting to do different things like on a pop hop kind of deal. More dance oriented. Than Lil Jon came in, with the crunk music and you have to admit that he did make it fun with his unique style. Then we came to the mid 2000’s where things got stagnant… But even with that you still get people like T.I. and Lil Wayne, who came from the south where at the time the south didn’t have a great reputation for having skilled rappers. But now, you listen to the two that I previously mentioned album’s, you find that they can really rap. Now you got people coming out like Lupe Fiasco, J.Cole who are more lyrically driven. It’s still not as lyrical as it was in the 90’s because now you see more dance, pop and R&B mixed into rap but you still have a lot of real artist out there doing their thing with talent, which is the key ingredient to having longevity as an artist. But let’s not forget in that in this day and age where the internet rules it’s easier to produce a pop hit and make your money through the internet or by selling your hit as a ringtone for download purchase as well. Like Jay-Z said you can’t knock the hustle, but for my own personal preference, I would rather see more lyricism and skill on the radio today.
When did you first fall in love with Hip Hop:
Probably 8th grade or 9th grade… and you know that it’s debatable because there’s rap and then there is Hip Hop. As a kid I used to listen to rap where it was just all about the beat which at the time was a theme of the west coast. Don’t get me wrong, there are real lyricists on the west coast like Ice Cube and Kurrupt who are two of the best rappers of all time in my opinion. It wasn’t until my friend let me listen to some Outkast, Roots and Nas towards the end of my 8th grade and 9th grade years where I started thinking that hey, “This music is an art form”. You got a lot of guys out here talking about something and to me that is exactly what Hip Hop is all about. So that’s when I fell in love with the culture of Hip Hop.
Currently who is your favorite artist?
Lupe Fiasco is my favorite artist. I think that he’s everything that I feel that an MC is. He’s’ got good lyricism, flow, delivery , content, knowledge, wisdom, creativity and all of his concepts behind his songs and two albums that he has put out makes him the best above everyone that is new and has recently come out. Skills wise, Eminem and Andre 3000 are the best as far as skilled rappers so to me there number 2 or number 3… But with Lupe and everything that he does, if I had rap skills, that’s exactly how I would like to be. He’s definitely my favorite rapper.
What do you listen to before a game:
When I was younger, yes, I got pumped up for a game. Now for me football games are so cerebral because I have to remember a lot of stuff so I try to stay as calm as possible in an attempt to waste no energy. So no I don’t listen to any music before a game, so I stay focused on the task of paying attention to field formations, and making reads, and overall everything that’s taking place during the game.
Hip Hop imagery is the most powerful and frequently used imagery in our country, do you think that it being exploited:
Yes definitely! That’s one of the reasons why Hip Hop has become diluted a little bit, because once music becomes mainstream and the corporate world gets a hold of it, music becomes un-cool sometimes. They do exploit it for their favor; they will criticize it and exploit certain things about it just like the whole auto tune craze… You’ll see commercials now and you’ll hear auto tune where certain companies will use it to sell different things. I think a lot of times people try to criticize Hip Hop without taking the time to learn and understand it. You’ve got people/intellectuals out there like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, who have taken the time to really understand Hip Hop, and who has criticize it but also educates you about it. This is one of those conversations that you can talk about for days.