Hip-hop is the predominant music genre in American pop culture right now and Slayer/Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has it all figured it out. The genre is so popular because these mumble rappers are flexing on Instagram.
That's basically what he said during a recent clinic at Rock City Music Company. It was clear he was not a fan of the modern form of the genre, saying:
“I like old-school rap. Maybe I’m just showing my age. Back in my day, rappers used to actually have rhythm. They actually used to be funky. Fucking now, the shit is… they’re not even in time; they don’t even rhyme. It’s fucked up.” After pointed to an audience member, he says “Look, you’re a young dude, right? You want a career in music? Go tattoo the fuck out of your face. You’ll be a fucking rap star. That’s what dudes looked like when they passed out on the bus — we’d Sharpie the fuck out of you. And now that’s what they look like on purpose. It’s crazy. They’re all fucking Sharpied up.”
When you are starting a statement with "back in my day," you are already answering your own question. This music that Gary is talking about, as he very much admits, is not for him or for people of his generation. Much like back in his day when old school rap was just starting out, people were complaining about how it wasn't like the music back in their day.
You can take Gary's exact same critique and see how it could've been applied to thrash bands in the early 80s. "Back in my day, rock bands didn't play so fast." His whole take just comes off a bit "old man yells at cloud."
Anyway, Gary has it all figured out as to why the genre is so popular:
“My theory on why rap is the number one fucking music form in America now is ’cause there’s social media. Rappers — I’m friends with some and I love a lot of ’em, but they’ve always been about, ‘Look what I’ve got. Look at my diamonds and shit.’
“I saw a news article — it was about some 18-year-old rapper who bought a Rolls-Royce so he could smash the windshields out and put it on Instagram. All right, you’re a fucking asshole, you’re dumb, and I hope you run out of money and you’re fucking sucking dick behind a dumpster for money later. So, fuck you.”
I had to look it up and he is talking about Post Malone, who is 23, and was accidentally in an accident and then decided to post a photo to social media about it – he did not expressly damage his car for social clout. Also, it should be pointed out that Malone got his start in the hardcore scene before transitioning to rap.
Anyway, artists like Post Malone, Lil Pump and 6ix9ine are confusing to me as well, but I recognize they are for another generation and I don't need to understand them. It's odd that Gary Holt, a musician who obviously spent the early part of his career not being understood by the olds, cannot see this in himself.
And, hip-hop was massive far before social media had as much reach as it does now.