Why has Wiz Khalifa’s single "Black and Yellow" been such a success? It’s not the lyrics or the beat that make this hit, but the underlying message.
What is it that makes this video a number one hit, with 72 million views on YouTube? How, with one single, does Wiz Khalifa transform himself from a virtual unknown to number 1 success? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not through the lyrics, and its not through the beat. Its through the message it sends.
If lyrics were what made hip-hop, Talib Kweli would be one of the greatest of all time. If it was the beat, Dead Prez would arguably be would still be the best. But hip-hop these days isn’t so much about the art as it is the message.
People want fast cars, big homes and pretty ladies. The general hip-hop audience will never get this, so they live out their fantasy through the music and video’s released by their hero’s.
Watch this video. A young confident male, full of swag with money to burn, too many women to handle and a following the size of his ego. Who doesn’t wanna be him? And his “whip”, no keys – push to start. Thats what the masses want. Modern society tries to paint consumerism as a bad thing, but at the end of the day, what’s wrong with living your fantasy through a song, pretending that you got “so many rocks up in your watch you can’t tell what the time is”.
I can give you a million examples of the kind of lifestyle fantasy hip hop is trying to present to its followers. “Wonderful” – Ja Rule, “Beautiful” – Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell, “My Time” – Fabolous. The list goes on.
Modern hip-hop and rap is no longer about staying true to your roots, but rather portraying the message of consumerism and and lifestyle that most will never enjoy, but will always aspire to. As long as hip-hop remains a platform for individuals to live out their lifestyle fantasies, it will never die. In the words of Nas, “We forgot that it’s about more than just money.”