Conscious rap is defined as rap music which challenges the dominant cultural, political, philosophical, and economic consensus. The definition continues to state that conscious rap songs usually contain positive, uplifting messages, often delivered over smooth ear-grabbing beats. The term also has a negative connotation, especially among many young people who feel it’s condescending or pretentious. Both artists and fans of conscious rap are often perceived to be music snobs or music elitists. More often, though, they are an audience which seeks both good music and good lyrics. A beat isn’t enough to earn their respect. Lyrics, at one point, were everything. Now there’s a smart young rapper out called Eli Destroy who understands that conscious rap is not this boring elitist thing. Conscious rap simply means music that has awareness at its core.
So he does what good rappers have always done — make both blatant and subtle observations on the world that surrounds them, and what happens in their lives. Consciousness is what makes rap relatable, captivating, and most importantly, pure. And that’s what Eli Destroy accomplishes on his single “For The Better”, as he deals with his own youthful world.
What is most interesting about this is the brand of rap that Eli is delivering on this track, is a far cry from the violent, materialistic, bling-infused, cookie-cutter stuff we’ve been bombarded with. Yet at the same time it stays trendy and fun sounding. All done in his sing-song style.
So Eli Destroy disproves the theory that conscious means being totally intellectual, awkwardly proper, or unrelatably spiritual. Conscious is being aware of what’s happening in your life – with your girl, your hood.
Over the period of the last two decades, ignorance became cool and there was only room for the biggest, braggadocious, alpha male rappers, some who would bully their way in whether the talent was there or not. Hence many shared the feeling that hip-hop as they once knew it was indeed dead. It’s not. It’s only somewhat wounded.
But the upcoming next generation of rappers like Eli Destroy, are bringing in a breath of fresh air. Their music doesn’t blatantly try to be anything specific, they’re unpretentious, and just do what they do, and have fun doing it. In the process they share the awareness of their personal lives as well as their environments.
In the same way rappers did in the early nineties, only with a different sound, driven by the new technology. This could undeniably mark the beginnings of another turning point for hip-hop music. It’s called awareness!