What’s the criteria for good music in today’s generation?

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As I lean back with the wind blowing through my hair while navigating the city, I turn on my radio only to be disappointed by an awful noise blaring through my speakers. When 2 Chainz declared, “She got a big booty, so I call her big booty!” I was appalled.

“If your girl don’t swallow kids, man that h** basic,” is a segment from the artist’s “Bands a make her dance” verse. So apparently, vulgarity, disrespect for women, sex, money, drugs, cars, haters, and swag are the only things worthy to be expressed in music today.

So what makes music hot these days? Most people will tell you a hot beat. But I can remember a time when people would say creativity and lyrical content were the key elements to a successful record.

The more I listen to the radio, assessing what are considered current “hit bangers,” the more I find myself downloading and listening to music from the 80s and early 90s.

What has happened to soulful compositions like Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” that made us cry because the lyrics reflected real-life situations?  Songs like Earth Wind and Fire’s “Let’s Groove Tonight” and the late Biggie Small’s “More Money, More Problems,” made our parents and grandparents get down and boogie.

Nowadays, anyone anywhere can take a beat, write a hook and some verses, make a video, and upload it to be viewed on YouTube. Record labels no longer have to go out and physically search for artists.

With a simple click of a button, A&R’s can hunt for homemade music videos that have received the most hits. With these videos, record labels do not have to worry about whether or not an artist or group will be marketable because these individuals have already developed fan bases, according to disc jockey Antonio Davis.

At the end of the day, record labels are only concerned with making revenue. At this point, if they feel they can turn you into a star it does not really matter what type of music you make.

For instance, rap artist Soulja Boy became an overnight sensation via YouTube. Today’s music lacks substance. Soulja Boy? Let’s be real.

Once upon a time, music was used a method of expression. Music generated hope, inspired, and helped create reason to the journey of life. The concept of music is much deeper than its recent portrayal through media outlets.

Perhaps what some of us thought was good music is indeed good music. Maybe it was the music that evolved, or maybe it really does lack substance.  

Ultimately, the songs that get the most spins are the ones that today’s generation has elected to embrace and support.

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  • Yani Long, Contributor