Changing Does Not Mean Selling Out

For years now, particularly within Hip-Hop, many artists have been labelled sellouts simply for growing and changing as an artist. If an artist is a sellout, it should mean that they have compromised their integrity for money or fame. An artist is not a sellout if they have developed new cadences, flows or instrumentation. 

Popular underground rapper Hopsin has become an international star with minimal radio play and a lack of mainstream exposure. Known for his descriptive concepts, multi-syllable schemes and white eye contacts, Hopsin has long been a polarising artist. Dividing opinion among the Hip-Hop community as to whether he is overrated or underrated.

Hopsin representing his label Undercover Prodigy

Recently, however, Hopsin has divided opinion amongst his own fans with a collection of new singles. Bout The Business, a single released under Hopsin’s new label Undercover Prodigy, features an auto-tuned hook and trap influenced beat that has been criticised by some Hopsin fans due to the trap aspects that are so prominent in today’s Hip-Hop. With fans claiming that he has sold out.

What sets Bout The Business – and Hopsin – from the rest of the pack, is that his bars are as lethal and technical as ever. His delivery has not taken a hit and Hopsin goes in on this beat harder than he ever has before. Hopsin is moving with the times and not getting stuck in the 2010 underground scene, whilst maintaining his hunger and raw ability. It would be very easy for Hopsin to stay in a routine and do what he knows, however a true artist will experiment and change.



In addition to Hopsin’s developing sound, Brooklyn lyricist Joey Bada$$ released Devastated earlier in 2016, a single that veers from his usual New York vibes. The single is one of the most uplifting and positive Hip-Hop songs in recent memory and following the immediate success of the single, many Hip-Hop fans declared that Joey Bada$$ had sold out.

Joey Bada$$ performing live in 2013

Devastated has a distinctly different sound to the rest of his catalogue, including his 2015 album B4 DA $$. This seems to be the supporting argument for those who claim that he has sold out.

This is ridiculous.

Devastated has a catchy hook and crisp production very distant from the classic New York sound that the young rapper has become associated with. However, Joey has not substituted these new aspects for his renowned lyrical ability or personality on the track. Instead, he has shown growth as an artist and in the process has made a hit song that spreads a positive message whilst remaining an example for all bar-heavy rappers.

Regardless if you love or hate Devastated, the single is not an example of an artist selling out by any stretch of the imagination. SKRRT SKRRT.



Written by Jarrod van der Staay

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