Roc Nation’s J. Cole has offered his take on hip-hop’s evolution over the past few years, specifically the increase in emcees singing on their own records.
In Cole’s eyes, rappers and singers should be allowed to push their artistic limits.
“I think it’s dope. Why not? Who says Drake can’t sing if he wants to sing? Who said Chris Brown can’t rap if he wants to rap? It’s just adding another facet to your style. It’s just evolution man. The sad truth is, is some of our legends from the past came out now, people would think they were boring. You’ve just got to find a balance.” (VIBE)
Cole also admitted if he had the ability, you would hear him singing on his own records.
“I don’t even think they take themselves seriously–they just want to come on. If I could sing, I would sing just like Chris Brown. Someone like Trey Songz, I feel like he genuinely loves rapping and that’s fine. Some singers may not be your favorite rapper, but maybe they don’t give a f*ck and their rapping helps them express something they can’t by singing.” (VIBE)
In April, rapper Ja Rule took credit for inspiring emcees to sing on hooks.
“Drake can sing, man,” Rule said in an interview. “I always admit it. I’m a shallow singer. But I think that’s what attracted people to what I was doing, because I made you feel like you too could do this. I’m not blowing Luther Vandross notes over here! You could do what I’m doing. I think that’s what made it pop music. I think for the people, that’s what made it popular, that they were able to sing along with it and they weren’t intimidated by singing along to it because it was a guy that can’t sing.” (RapFix)
When asked for his opinion on rappers singing a couple years ago, Fabolous also co-signed the movement.
“I don’t got no problems with that,” Fab explained in an interview. “Some rappers sing, some rappers rap. It’s about melody I think. Certain people used to get mad at Ja Rule for singing — everybody was mad, you may say he’s not singing on key or whatever, but all these guys are singing and using auto-tune — I’ve never had a problem with it. It’s melody, melodic, a lot of the joints that are hit records have that form to them. 50 [Cent] used to say he was singing, it was different than Ja because of what he was singing about, but it’s still him singing his own hooks. Just because it’s not an R&B guy singing, it’s still singing. It’s the same thing.” (Real Talk NY)
Check out some recent J. Cole footage below: