What’s in that grey area of hip-hop between Macklemore and Violent Bigotry?

As a fan of contemporary hip-hop I have a confession: I can’t stand Macklemore.

When I voice this opinion around friends, I’m usually met with disbelief — “what’s not to like about him?”

The short answer to that question is nothing. There’s nothing to dislike about a guy who has excellent rhymes, stands for human rights and works to improve the negative reputation of hip-hop to, let’s face it, those who don’t listen to hip-hop.

Of course I’m for the issues he stands for, you’d be crazy not to identify with those ideals. I just don’t really care for his music.

What annoys me as much as having to hear hip-hop content generalized as nothing but violence, gang promotion and social ignorance is the assertion that Macklemore is the only source of good in the genre.

I use the Macklemore example because, though he could be the most qualified candidate, there is more to rap music than electing the man king.

By and large, what could be considered mainstream hip-hop does indeed fall into these damaging categories, but I would challenge naysayers to find a genre that isn’t dominated by negative influences.

The heavily exhausted Miley Cyrus example comes to mind.

Looking to artists like Atmosphere who have tackled ideas of social inequality in the form of bullying and social norms in the past with albums such as “God Loves Ugly,” I feel from a perspective outside of the regular hip-hop listener, Macklemore overshadows the voices of others.

Saying Macklemore is “saving hip-hop” like Nick Page of University of Houston radio suggests in his article of the same title isn’t fully justified.

This implies the man is working single-handedly, and human right issues artists such as Tupac Shakur literally died for have never been confronted.

Take Kendrick Lamar’s song “Swimming Pools (Drank).” I’d be willing to bet the majority of listeners would interpret the song as Lamar glorifying the idea of having enough alcohol to swim in, rather than what the song actually conveys — peer pressure to binge drink.

I’d also be willing to bet Lamar caught a negative rep. for this song. Considering how easily Macklemore’s straightforward messages have caught fire, does that seem fair?

In defense of those against my argument, I do believe that a void in the methods by which “other” artists choose to communicate exists.

Many of us are fortunate enough to avoid the poverty, crime and even bullying that socially conscious hip-hop addresses, so we’re not at fault for not instantly identifying with those subjects.

In addition to Macklemore’s stuff, it behooves the listener to address not only the most relevant issues such as human rights, but also the social issues of those less spoken for.

Macklemore is everything that is right with hip-hop today, and we should do everything we can to promote him — but let it be known that he’s not the only thing that’s right with hip-hop.