Mr. Comedy Garçons: Humor’s Function in Hip-Hop

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Via Getty Images / David Becker

By Bauce Sauce

Humor is a funny thing. Those good at it make doing it look like the easiest thing in world, but it’s actually one of the hardest. When wielded properly, humor can be the universe's most powerful tool—capable of toppling empires and making babies stop crying.

As society shifts towards being more "me"-centric, a humorous personality becomes ever more important. Whereas our parents' generation longed to be an artist (Elvis, Michael Jackson, Sean Paul), we want artists we can see ourselves doing drugs with or getting a beer with. We want them to follow us on Twitter. We want an artist to be someone we would be friends with. Social media affords us the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing artists be just like us (omg!). It lets us peek behind the curtain, and unfortunately, sometimes (like in the cases of Wale, Lupe Fiasco, Azealia Banks, SpaceGhostPurrp) it's not pretty. Social media is nothing more than a projector, and if you are a terrible person, it will magnify your flaws... to millions of people too eager to give their opinion of you. But if you are an entertaining human, you'll be rewarded with a cheat code of sorts. You can get away with saying things that others would catch flak for, and receive all the benefits of all the doubts.

An artist's brand, or rather the perception of their brand, can live or die by humor. Drake gets ridiculed for being seemingly self-unaware in his lyrics. But, then he tweets this, or tweets that, or wears this, or does this, and we realize that perhaps he is in on the joke that is "Drake." There is redemption; he gets a pass. Humor dissipates hate.

Humor has never been a more necessary attribute in a rapper's repertoire than in the past few years. Artists are using it to excel to a higher level of success quicker.

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