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Welcome to Jukebox Jury, our new music debate show where experts face off and a jury of fans decides the winner.
THE CASE: Emotions in hip-hop aren’t exactly new. Tupac’s “Dear Mama” was one of his most successful singles, and LL Cool J wasn’t afraid to admit that he needed love. In the last few years, however, rappers seem to have a lot of feelings – and they aren’t just relegating them to one or two album cuts. Kanye West practically invented the hip-hop break-up album with his 2008 album, 808s & Heartbreaks. “Sweater rapper” Drake specifically plays to the ladies with his lovelorn tales, while Kid Cudi and Childish Gambino follow suit with their take on “emo hip-hop.” Some say hip-hop has lost its edge and that it’s no longer the music of the streets, which was a huge part of what set it apart in the first place. But is this sudden onslaught of emotions in rap a positive thing that humanizes it? Is there room for feelings in hip-hop?
THE EXPERTS: Erika Ramirez, editor of Billboard.com’s hip-hop/R&B column The Juice Keith Murphy, senior editor at VIBE Magazine and frequent contributor to Billboard, AOL and CBS Local
THE JURY: Instructors fromScratch DJ Academy, a DJ/music production school with locations in Miami, NYC, L.A. and Chicago, which was co-founded by Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay in 2002.