New York rapper Ja Rule has given his definition on the popular hip-hop expression “keeping it real” and explained why there is more hype than authenticity in today’s rap game.
From Ja’s perspective, consumers are able to decipher fact from fiction in relation to an artist’s image and what they rap about.
“You know what the realest line a n*gga said in a movie,” Rule asked in an interview. “‘You can’t handle the truth!’ That’s the realest sh*t because n*ggas don’t want to hear it. You tell n*ggas the truth and they say, ‘What, huh? I didn’t see that. That record’s hot.’ That’s what n*ggas do. I’ve seen so many instances, where I’m like, wow, that’s not keeping it real — really think about that yo, this n*gga makes records, he’s on my TV, he’s f*cking dancing around, he’s at all these awards shows, I don’t think he’s in the hood with 10 bricks in the back of his whip. I don’t think he’s doing that. Be honest, the consumer knows that sh*t’s not real…What is keeping it real? That term is so lost. It’s a forgotten term. You know what keeping it real is? Feeding your f*cking family, taking care of your f*cking kids, that’s what’s keeping it real. All that other frivolous bullsh*t is just that.” (XXL Mag)
Last month, deported rapper Shyne discussed his problems with self-proclaimed “gangsta” rappers and the lack of certain emcees not keeping it real.
“I don’t let goons take advantage of a square,” Shyne explained in an interview. “I’m just that type of dude. What’s right is what’s right. It’s like, I don’t have a problem with a civilian calling the police when somebody breaks into her crib, a mother saying, ‘Listen man, they got my baby boy.’ But when a dude get in the booth and he’s talking about the life that me and my partners lived, and he’s promoting that, but when real life happens he wants to be a civilian — be what you be. If you ain’t where we from or do what we do, then be that. I love Kanye [West], I love Kid Cudi and all these kids talking that truth they know. That’s their truth. But when a dude gets in that booth and he talks about truth, he testifies, or he’s working for law enforcement — he saying this sh*t’s a hundred, putting it in, but when it comes time, he talking to the cops…” (The Life Files)
West Coast rapper Game also recently singled out artists’ portraying false lifestyles.
“All these people thinking they’re gangsta. And after the Rick Ross song [“B.M.F.”] everybody thinking they’re Big Meech again, Larry Hoover,” Game explained in an interview. Nobody really should wanna be that or aspire to be that ’cause you’re gonna end up in a coffin. And trust me, man, most of these rappers, outside of me, 50 [Cent], and maybe Waka Flocka and some other muthaf*ckas, ain’t never felt bullets man, ain’t never had a brush with really actually having your life erased. So a lot of these rappers out here playing, man; that’s just not the message I’m trying to send across no more.” (Complex)
Earlier this year, 50 Cent said rappers were using false tales to create a hardcore image of themselves to fans.
“It’ll just make room for you to impact when [the hardcore] comes back,” 50 assessed. “No one told the world to enjoy that [softer] music temporarily. I think a big portion of why people didn’t want to hear the aggressive content is because the people conveying them were lying.” (MTV)
Check out Ja Rule’s interview below: