In three words: no emotional content.

Look at art throughout human history; from the first cave paintings and hummed tunes to their most modern relatives, all are designed to express something inherently hard to express: emotions. The reason we create art, the reason we need it in our lives, is that we really have no other way of truly expressing our emotions. Look at a Van Gogh or a Picasso, or a poem by Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost. All art transmits some kind of emotion(s) from its creator to the masses, and all great art does it in an elegant fashion.

We consider a poem art, but not a newspaper article. Why? Both are just words on paper. Both have an author, an intent, and a reader. So why is only the poem considered art? Because the poem is designed to evoke an emotional response from us. A newspaper article, while we may have an emotional response to it, is (ideally) a simple, factual account of a recent event. The poem expresses something timeless, something we otherwise would not be able to capture. Think about the differences between the emotional states of the authors.

So what does this have to do with hip-hop? In my opinion, rap songs are like the newspaper articles of music. Generally, they recite the author's most recent lay, his/her latest drive-by victory, or why some other artist should kiss their ass. Where's the emotion behind that?

What I'm trying to say is this: people need art. People have been creating and enjoying art since the beginning of time. But what we are really looking for is that emotional connection, a way to explain another little peice of what it means to be human. The style known as hip-hop is like a canvas, but the people holding the brushes are newspaper journalists. The emotional connection simply is not there anymore, and it shows.

Okay, now that I've said all that, let me say this: I have nothing against newspaper journalists. They do what they do. And although the style of hip-hop simply does not appeal to me, I don't think all hip-hop is un-artistic. Just most of it. Nor do I think all hip-hop artists are unskilled barbarians. Just most of them.

And just for reference, I like classical and some jazz, but mostly alternative rock. My favourite band is Tool.