I know many people will disagree with me but hear me out first.
The term 'Real Rap' I do understand the sentiment behind it. Most artist who fall under that banner (In the UK) are usually those from UK Hip Hop.
Writing bars about the trials and tribulations they have come across In their lives. Explaining the journey they have been through with vivid imagery, relatable wordplay and powerful storytelling.
But as time as passed this has become a crutch for some fan's to use this term to discredit other artist or genre's.
I believe 'Real Rap' isn't a genre but a feeling. The feeling of you connecting to someone's story personally, even though another rapper might speak the same thing but you connect with this artist more.
Someone may connect with Potter Payper and say that's real rap but not have that same feeling with listening to Rimzee. Even though I've heard them described under the Real Rap banner and have similar subject matters.
Is real rap a categorisation of an artist integrity or a fan's preference?
You might not like a certain rapper who fan's say does real rap, the opinion you have could be he's lying and not telling the truth in his bars. So what is Real Rap judged on?
Let's be honest also, we have seen countless rapper scream out "This that real rap sh*t" but are actually terrible.
Also it has been commercialised as any other style of music. It's not immune to corruption.
On the other spectrum, I have heard real rap described as a lyrical style. Dealing with conscious, social and political issue's.
Tracing back to tracks like 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, this was considered real rap for it's time.
Down to the subject matter & production.
But a transition changed during the 90's when gangster rap became to be seen as the definition of real rap. Artist talking about the struggles of their time, but some of the content became darker and violent.
The uplifting messaging started to fade and purist will argue the labels commercialised the struggle but got rid of the message.
Going against what the previous generation was speaking on.
Could it be that the terms description changes depending on the generation in control of the narrative? With that though it causes a division of how people accept the term.
What's real rap now can change in the next decade but only time will tell.
I still don't recognize 'Real Rap' as a separate genre but I do understand why these artists are seen in such high regard.
Never forget that the culture has a million voices, an artist you describe as real rap for you might not be for someone else.