Flavor Flav Says Drake, Jay-Z & Kendrick Lamar Are Not “Real” Hip Hop

blame it on Shake July 31, 2013

While across seas, Public Enemy sat down with Gigwise to discuss the current state of hip hop. During the talk, Flavor Flav states that rap has lost the “element of hip hop” because of the slower tempos being used.

I think the element of hip hop left when rap music started being created on a slow tempo. It’s just stayed there for years. Right now, a lot of rap music today is being created at very low tempos. There’s no more of that ‘wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care’ – you know, something that makes you wanna get out there and breakdance.

Flav continues by naming names, saying he believes there are great “rap” records but it’s not “hip hop.”

Rap music has lost that element right now, mainly over in America. There’s not to many great hip hop records out there, but there are some great rap records. Lil Wayne is making some great rap records, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamarr, 50 Cent, Snoop – everybody is making great rap records, but it’s not hip hop.

I’ve never understood the need to distinguish one label from the other, but we all know at least one seven label-hungry junkies that will cry foul at the first sign of something being “different.” Everything evolves. And as fans (or artists), we should be doing are best to let it grow, instead of nit-picking every single detail.

  • wat

    I hate that goddamn “real” hip hop topic. Hip hop is hip hop. Stop trying to distinguish “hip hop” and “rap.” They’re synonymous. There’s good hip hop and there’s bad hip hop.

  • Philly bash

    Shake I understand where you are coming from. However rap and hiphop is two different things. For example look at punk,grunge and soft rock they are all under the same umbrella rock and roll. Just like neo-soul is under the R&B umbrella. Flav comments are understandable however people are going to be butt hurt cause of the names he named

  • DynamicShots

    I look at hip-hop as more of a culture and a lifestyle. Of course there are different genres within the genre but everybody’s rapping at the end of the day, which is what you actually do. Rap. I’d break it down into maybe west coast, east coast, southern/trap, electronic, high-tempo, low tempo whatever. But I feel like it’s still all hip-hop at the end of the day. It all stemmed from somewhere.

  • j1

    He has somewhat of a point, I dont think hes saying those people are wack, I would say he needs to listen to Joey Badass.

  • MewLover34

    “hip hop left when rap music started being created on a slow tempo”
    aka the best thing to ever happen to the genre.
    Doris 8/20

  • He’s from a different era so I kinda understand what he’s saying but this “real hip hop” bullshit has to stop. Hip hop seems to be the only genre that shys away from evolution. It can’t stay the same forever. I actually know people who stopped listening to the genre because they said that everyone tells the same story and doesn’t try to push the boundaries. Let hip hop grow!

  • LOL.aint.true

    is this dude just sayin Public Enemy is real hip hop so fuck the rest
    i understand u Flav but cmon dawg hip hop was dead already

  • Woosah

    Every genre evolves and saying that new improvements are not “real” hip hop, is kind of being hypocritical because what Public Enemy was doing was raising the bar of the older generation that preceded it.

  • who cares

    I understand what Flav is trying to say, he just went about it the wrong way.

  • Reality checker

    Flavor Flav is a delusional douchebag, nuff said.

  • MalcolmYates

    I agree with DynamicShots. Its all hip hop.. its a culture.. way of life.. rap is what you do. When I think of the term “real hip hop” I think of hard, gritty, jazzy and soulful music with some boom bap but at the end of the day its hip hop, from west coast to east coast to weed rap to luxury rap to underground to mainstream. Everyone has their own spin on hip hop. We should stop dissing it and just let it be and listen to the shit you find dope.

  • MalcolmYates

    I agree with DynamicShots. Its all hip hop.. its a culture.. way of life.. rap is what you do. When I think of the term “real hip hop” I think of hard, gritty, jazzy and soulful music with some boom bap but at the end of the day its hip hop, from west coast to east coast to weed rap to luxury rap to underground to mainstream. Everyone has their own spin on hip hop. We should stop dissing it and just let it be and listen to the music you find dope.

  • Kenyon

    I always felt like Hip Hop was Hip Hop and Rapping was what you do over a Hip Hop record. Rapping is just words.

  • fred

    that big ass clock around his neck has never been hip-hop

  • i use to be a big kendrick lamar fan(stan) way before he got famous, that was when he was real but now he is some what of a sell out. little before gkmc came thats when he stopped making resl music and started to come out with popish mainstream music and you really can hear the difference in his music from section to gkmc.

  • 3StaxAbandonedRap

    Opinions vs. Opinions. All fueled by a dramatically titled blog post. Go fuck yourself, Shake. These old school cats are entitled to their opinions as you are to yours.

  • Billy


  • scrouge mcfuck

    while i disagree with his comments, i don’t find them nearly as controversial as the title of the post suggest. Don’t think he meant it as a malicious or that he was a better old hip hop head. Just speaking on tempo. We all know mainstream artist go to the same well as their peers to appeal to radio, Flav is just saying (if I understand him right) they are making great records, but hip hop was meant to be upbeat, not on lean. I disagree, but respect his opinion. And I would like some more pace on the radio, too.

  • real talk nig

    Flav is right. the tempos are so slow it’s just not hype, we need that bomb squad type production, tons of layered samples… 106 bpms and raps where the voice, delivery, and cut and dry lyrics that cut through, a lot less word play and cleverness..

    and joey baddass…. nah, that aint it, he’s doing what he thinks is the golden age rap, that shit is sleepy as fuck… when the sound got like that in 96,97,98, hip hop was already in it’s decline… dat early 90’s late 80s rap was the hypest and boldest period of rap… you gotta be about something for real to make music like that… and you need producers that know the history of samples and have the ability to put that shit together..

    nothing like that has resurfaced for about 20 years… we’re just dealing with the mediocrity now.. when j cole has a rap career, you know people are basically living a lethargic life..

  • Fish

    I’ll make this quick. If you’re young (pretty much everyone under like 30) you’re not going to understand the difference between hip-hop & rap music simply because you weren’t exposed to that era – at all. You may have heard a couple hit records from the 80’s & 90’s and watched a documentary or two but at the end of the day you’re really not going to know what you’re talking about because you weren’t there man. Yes music does evolve, I agree, but you have to admit that what’s currently being put out (mainstream wise) isn’t pure in any way shape or form. Most “big” artist don’t even write none of their own records, style themselves or make any music that’s suppose to uplift the community like hip-hop was suppose to made for in the first place. Flavor Flav may be “corny” to some but he was there during the Golden Era & he made classic music w/ Chuck D so it’s not really much to disagree with – he lived it, you didn’t.

  • dun

    yeah but flav isn’t a “fan”, he’s a predecessor to all of the people he named. so if anyone has a right to say things like this, it’s dude like him. not kids like us who grew up listening to it.

  • Pauly D

    Is this nigga stupid? You mad because Drake, Jay and Koondrick have superseded your BS with a few mixtapes and a debut album ALONE?

  • yardman

    Where’s the break dancing, where’s the graffiti, where’s the “real dj’s” ? hip-hop/raps has been in the shithouse.

  • boobie slim

    @bryan shut the fuck up nigga

  • Pauly D

    “i use to be a big kendrick lamar fan(stan) way before he got famous, that was when he was real but now he is some what of a sell out. little before gkmc came thats when he stopped making resl music and started to come out with popish mainstream music and you really can hear the difference in his music from section to gkmc.”

    You are either trolling or you just exposed yourself as a pretentious ass-wipe of a hipster. You liked him before he “got famous”? Are you fucking serious? He doesn’t make “raal” music anymore? Uhh…did you listen to GKMC? Did you hear Swimming Pools, The Art of Peer Pressure, Money Trees, Poetic Justice, Sing About Me? Are you fucking serious bruh? Are you? Nowadays on the internet I can’t damn tell

  • Pauly D


    You’re living based on nostalgia man. Stop it.

    Learn that things change and eventually evolve.

  • MewLover34

    “and cut and dry lyrics that cut through, a lot less word play and cleverness”
    If you can make it past this, what is certainly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard about music, the guy actually manages to say something even dumber later in the post. I couldn’t be happier that nostalgia doesn’t keep me from loving the enormous amount of incredible rap music being created every year.
    Doris 8/20

  • lp

    It’s a shame how the new hip hop fans seem to have little to no respect for the pioneers of the culture. To say kendrick lamar or drake has surpassed public enemy’s legacy is foul. The track Fight the Power alone is beyond their careers. Just because you didn’t live in the era and know anything about it doesn’t mean it’s less worth of praise..

  • lp

    Still disagree with flav though.. Hip Hop is Hip Hop no matter what tempo or style.

  • Pauly D


    We totally respect those who’ve come before (well, I do. Can’t speak for anyone else). But it’s my personal opinion that Drake and Kendrick are doing things that Public Enemy (or in singular, Flavor Flav) have never done in music, production wise and otherwise.

  • marty mcfly

    So Flavor Flav is who ya’ll gonna let decide who’s rap and who’s hip hop and you gonna take his opinion as being the golden rule or something? Id say tell Flav to either get in the studio and make some incredible music or STFU. My opinion is the fans support what they consider to be the real shit. If they buy into the sound of Future and French Montana and Asap Ferg over Action Bronson and Roc Marciano and Rapsody then it is what it is. The musical aspect of the hip hop culture has been so commercialized that its never gonna be the same and thats just a fact. If a artists considers themselves as making “real hip hop”, then they gotta adapt or get out the way. Most dope MCs will not get the same kinda mainstream visibility as Kendrick did so the only option is to be more creative. Imo its all hip hop, it just depends who’s judging it. Most of these rappers out here should’ve never picked up a mic in the first place but hey if people wanna support bullshit well then you get more wack music and dope shit takes a backseat.

  • OverLord!!!

    “Rap is something you do! HipHop is something you live!”
    Rap at its best is Rhythm and Poetry most times in today’s music industry neither are good.
    Major record labels are putting out alot if rehash poetry and beats “Cookie Cutter “formulaic sounds.
    The #1 Song in HipHops history is THE MESSAGE for a reason because that’s what HipHop is all about THE MESSAGE!
    Rap at its best can be an artistic statement, HipHop on the other hand is a cultural movement when the two come together it is a very powerful tool for social change and that’s the purpose of the HipHop MC/Emcee to be the voice of the voiceless when the rapper isn’t filling that need he or she is essentially pointless, just providing ENTERTAIMENT like mindless performers of the past HIPHOP US MORE THAN ENTERTAINMENT !!!
    Any coon can rap there is nothing special about that, to be HIPHOP however is a higher calling.
    No matter how dope a beat is if its not being controlled by an MC, it’s not HIPHOP!!!
    Peace,Love,Unity safely having Fun!!! Health, Wealth, Love and Awareness are the mantras if Authentic HipHop Kulture. It’s soo much bigger than rap music!

  • marty mcfly

    And please dont compare Kendrick to fucking Public Enemy cause thats like comparing a group that was a hip hop nightmare to mainstream america to a artist that fits right in with the other mainstream artists imo. No diss but just saying

  • Riz.anks


  • JHP

    I don’t give a damn if Flavor Flav was in public enemy, that nigga was a glorified hype man, he isn’t a great lyricist worthy of respect. He’s a joke, a grown ass man walking around looking like a fool, wearing a damn giant clock. I respect Public Enemy, but Flavor Flav can’t talk about “fighting the system” after selling out to corporations and doing a sleezy VH1 reality show. I’m not one of those fans who call people sellouts for doing things that make you money, but when you come from a group like Public Enemy, you’re a hypocrite for doing that. As for what he actually said, it’s not as scathing as the article’s title makes it sound. I think he means that Hip-Hop isn’t as “boom bap” as it used to be, but that’s just evolution of the genre. He’s entitled to his opinion, but to say their records “arent’ hip-hop” isn’t really accurate IMO.

  • dealwititkidz

    stop the butthurt, u nerds better deal with it
    Flav is tellin the truth whether u like or shit
    all real hip hop that remains today are those of golden age era


  • SforMusic

    It actually took Flava Flav for niggas here to talk about Hip-Hop vs Rap lol …. Hip-hop is the culture and Rap is the method and everything you see within the culture is Hip-Hop hate it or love it it is all Hip-Hop. This is why sometimes I cant respect some Legends because they can always say shit and have nostalgic fools eat it up like it is the be all and end all and expect the younger generation to bend down n take it instead of tryna put anything new into the culture and progress it … i would love to see him make a hip-hop song and see how that works out lolo

  • Hiphop is mad coz rap went solo !
    Hiphop is a registered religion and cultures that includes 6 elements ! Rap is Rhythem and Blues the same way Rnb is Rubbish and Bullshit! Anyone spitting a poem over a
    Rhythm is Rappin’ – 101 :)

  • WokedUp


    K.DOT is Batman Jay-Z Spiderman and Drake Superman trust me……

  • Bullets

    While i dont agree w/ flav 100% I totally understand! What i think alot of people fail to realize is while things must change and evolve, “Evolution,” in itself doesnt necessarily mean positive change! If rappers have evolved like people love to assume then they have evolved to survive relevance in the pop industry which in turn creates the cycle of non creative, repetitive cookie cutter ignorant music! There are great new artists but that “Things must evolve,” is a bs excuse used to justify horrible music!

  • yooo

    kendrik is whack and thats a fact. he isnt that good and drake is fake and jay z has nothing new that is real hip hop and thats all he said…hes right theres not alot real hip hop.. u guys are dick riding butt hurt motherfuckers that disliked his opinion because he doesnt like kendrick or jay z and drake.. fuck u faggots that disliked this shit hes 100 percent right..he didnt say they suck or they cant rap or they are not lyrical..but the shit they are making is not hip hop ..its more like catchy hooks and pop shit and corny ass punchlines or metaphors ..u niggas be trippin

  • DopeAura

    Capital Steez was REAL Hip Hop…..but Fuck joey…didnt listen to joey until I found out he ws in the same group as steez…just like I aint listen to tyler(nothing before Wolf though) until i was already listening to Casey and Frank

  • I’m with flav. This shit is not hiphop anymore

  • Arnab

    Kendrick Lamar is doing some good job out there. But Jay-Z surely has nothing new to offer. Drake and Nicki are complete shit. I will be happy if they leave hip hop and concentrate on pop

  • Tekwon

    “I’ve never understood the need to distinguish one label from the other”? Really? You don’t understand why comparing Anticon to G-Unit is needed? Or why there’s sub-genres of rock music or any kind of music for that matter?

  • G

    Flave’s argument is one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard in regards to hip-hop. If it has a slow tempo it’s not hip-hop? Really? So does that mean songs like “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington aren’t really Jazz because they don’t share the same uptempo as some of the earlier New Orleans Jazz? #CmonSon


    Everything does evolve, but hip-hop is not evolving. Evolution is a natural occurrence and what is going on in the music industry (not just hip-hop) today is not natural. Its more of a forced change. The problem with music today especially hip-hop is the power shift. Back in the day the people controlled hip-hop. If you listen to the lyrics form the 80’s and 90’s its pretty evident. Thats what hip-hop was all about (the people, culture, art, lifestyle). Today the power has been taken over and is now in corporations hands. If you listen to todays music its also pretty evident. Todays music is about cars, money, and the rich life. Instead of us the people, dictating what should be popular and what shouldn’t we are being told what to listen to. This is not evolution.

  • JJ

    Aren’t things suppose to get better through evolution?


    Hip Hop died a long time ago.

  • History

    All great genres of music get taken over by business and are forced to go underground. They get turned into pop music and all the simple minded people eat it up. Its been going on for years.

  • marty mcfly

    Hip Hop is evolving and the power and control is still in the hands of the people. If you sit down and write a rhyme right now, no corporation is behind that. Its YOU who still has that power. Nobody forces you to listen to mainstream hip hop so you have the power to not support that but I find it ridiculous that people point at Jayz of all people when trying to say whats not hip hop. COMEONSON. People point at Drake when talking about what’s not hip hop but who says that thats the end all be all truth of the matter? So because Drake is a mainstream artist that sings then he’s not hip hop? Because you dont like Magna Carta and other mainstream music then its not hip hop? Because its a business now its not hip hop? I understand what people are saying but its still hip hop out there you just have to choose what you listen to. As for lyrics? I would say that no, Black Thought should not still be out rapping new MCs, Ghostface killah should not be making better projects then new MCs and 2 Chainz should not be writing better verses then a bunch of these underground artists that claim to be super lyrical but it is what it is. Overall though hip hop is still out there its just evolving and changing sounds but is it better or worse is a matter of opinion. Id say its some elements of the culture today that are alot better then the past and its some elements of the past that are still better then whats going on today but its all still hip hop.


    If you sit down and write a rhyme right now corporations are not behind that. This is true but that rhyme will not get any television or radio play unless there is a corporation behind it. So they still have the control to decide what gets radio play and what doesnt and thats where the power in music is. The corporations dictate what type of sound they want their artists to have and in order for all other artists to stay relevant they have to pretty much copy that sound. Whether people want to believe it or not we the fans are being manipulated into listening to what the corporations want us to listen to. The information is out there. There have been books written on this subject you just have to face reality and do some research or stay a sheep for the rest of your life.

  • marty mcfly

    Yeah but its up to you to decide whether the power of corporations is important to you or not. If your an artist that needs to be on Tv or on radio or need a corporation to give your music its power or to make you feel like your rhymes is dope then maybe you should find a different source of motivation. I personally dont care what a corporation or the industry says is dope or relevant or poppin. I listen to what I think is dope bottom line and as an artist, I dont need a corporation to do shit for me or to validate me as a lyricist.

  • jhock420

    come on man, the guy who doesnt even spit he yells is going to come out and say what “real hip hop” is? Didnt you do a show on VH1? get real dude is not relavent and is using REAL hip hop artists to get his name brought up again, fuck a crack head’s opinion. Hip hop to me is stronger than its been in a good decade if not longer

  • DG

    How can you say Hip Hop is a culture and Rap is just poetry when Rap is a part of Hip Hop? I never really liked Flavor Flav, I always thought he was overrated. In my opinion the artists he listed are Hip Hop since they’re a part of that lifestyle. Back in the day, it was all about fighting against corporate America, but people are just focused on having fun now. You older people need to understand that people don’t want to listen to music that make them depressed as fuck.

  • marty mcfly

    ^^^ yeah but the music coming out today is kinda depressing. Music from back n the day was more based on party records, its just they also had serious records on their projects. Some of these new cats that are labeled as being MCs today do make some very depressing sounding music though. just saying

  • hova scotia


  • youngnigga

    Aye 2dopeboyz, fuck you niggas for not promoting Odd Future on here. There’s extremely talented artistry coming out of that collective and you niggas never gave them what they deserved and still deserve. Look at the respect that they have among the music industry, and yet you still refused.. And what gets me is how y’all promote all kinda wack shit all over here but have failed to ever promote them. Y’all are messed up for that. But it’s cool though, them niggas have done and are doing huge shit without yours’ or anybody else’s help! SELF MADE! DORIS 8/20.

  • david

    Yo howcome Pauly D gets a picture next to his name and we don’t?