The 3 Lane Theory: Murs' New Exercise In Subjectivity
So, if you haven't been plugged in recently, you'll know that Hip-Hop is officially the most popular genre of music in the US, finally pipping Rock off the top podium.
It took a good 40+ years, but Hip-Hop as a genre of music has finally become statistically 'Mainstream'. WE MADE IT! Now we can finally look at Hip-Hop as a genuine influence from a statistical standpoint, it's no longer "Underground".
Don't get it twisted though, nothing has changed. There are still artists on the come up, there's still the underground, the independents. Nothing has changed.
But rapper Murs thinks that we need a different way of differentiating the mainstream Hip-Hop since the genre on a whole IS the mainstream now. He recently did a YouTube piece on HipHopDX and put forward a theory called the "3-Lane Theory". Peep it below right quick and let's get into it.
Now, I saw the video when it dropped and had a lot of small problems with it. I have watched it again and my problems still stand. They're not really worth voicing, I am going to try hard not to nitpick. Yes, some of them Drake related I'll admit. So I just wanted to highlight this new theory as a single entity.
First off, big up Murs for putting this forward. This is a great theory and it's been on my mind for a while. It's an interesting way of seeing things. But I have to hail this as a new method of subjectivity, nothing more, nothing less.
The examples of J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Drake are great examples. I can see why Murs picked those three in particular. But one problem with this theory fundamentally is that saying Hip-Hop and then "Hip-POP", could present connotations that because somebody like Kendrick can "Ride the line" so to speak, does that mean that J.Cole is more "Real"? Because Cole is now firmly in the Hip-Hop lane after being in the "Hip-Pop" lane? Some Hip-Hop heads can see this as a knock on the "Authenticity" or "Purity" of somebody's craft in Hip-Hop. And you KNOW the Hip-Hop community can get triggered by the smallest statement.
And Murs didn't want to throw in the "Mumble Rappers", but what about them? They aren't Platinum plaque rappers, they don't have sell out world tours. By definition of "Pop" that means they can't be Pop. And I think we all agree that they don't fit in in the other two outtright. Could this be a flaw in the theory? Is it because they're just starting out and haven't established themselves yet? Or is it because they're the "Outsiders" of what Hip-Hop purists like Murs think is real Hip-Hop?
It's a fun theory, but at the end of the day, it's all opinion and subjectivity. Some people see "Hip-Pop" and will get offended if their favourite Hip-Hop artist is put in there. Some might see that middle lane as a testament to one's greatness. The fact that they can produce real Hip-Hop and still get Platinum Plaques.
Can Pop artists be seen as "Hip-Hop"? Or are they just riding the wave of Hip-Hop? Like I said before, there's a lot of small things in Murs said that I have qualms with, but I respect him and his new theory.
Let's me know what you think. Where does your favourite artist fit? Do you even accept the theory as a whole?! What's right with it, what's wrong with it. Any thoughts, be sure to voice them.