It’s the authenticity of today that still has a driving force for hip-hop fans. So what does a hip-hop rapper look like these days and why does it matter? If you close your eyes and try to picture him, then chances are, there are a few traits that automatically comes to mind. He is not likely to be anywhere above 19 or 20 years old. He is tatted up with sleeves and even face tattoos. The beat of his music is upbeat, and the melody has an infectious hook. However, in every music video, it looks like a scene from the video game, “Call of Duty” mix with a colorful explosion.

One rap artist, in particular, Polo G and his song “Gang With Me,” represents many up and coming rap artists in this generation of rap music. This is because they share a common sense of hardcore anti-military in their music videos. While Polo G has yet to have a large following, it’s clear he’s trying to represent himself as someone through his music.

Some reports say, he wants to reflect himself as a thug; a menace to society, but why would anyone expect this sort of representation to be relatable to listeners? The answer. Since Rap music’s inception, authenticity has been a huge part of how artists are represented. “Keeping it real” quickly became a staple among successful artists and many people didn’t so much as blink at the violence often represented in Rap’s most notorious music videos.

It’s this kind of culture that has taken its toll on young Tay-K who is currently on trial for capital murder in the state of Texas. It quickly becomes very apparent that this kind of street credibility comes with a price. While credibility is a trait that most up and coming rappers aim for, it also comes into question where should the line be drawn? Should retaining a tough guy persona be worth violence and in some cases, death? The rap scene has situations where it seems to think so.

In a new era where violence has become such a big part of what authenticity should mean to a rap artist, it’s important to recognize the cost involved in the process. That way the new generation of Hip Hop fans can appreciate music without always seeing the desperate conditions of poverty, violence, and neglect in the system. That’s why it matters today.