Forget gang and murder references. There is nothing more gangsta than singing about lines in the bathroom, getting high on purple stuff, and trees in your lap -- especially when you're 20 years old. No matter the bleached blonde hair or teddy bears she likes to bring on stage and dance with, Miley Cyrus has already received endorsements from Kanye West, Nelly, Wiz Khalifa, and a slew of other hip-hop-entrenched artists. When is the rest of the world going to learn she's actually a good thing for the genre?
1. She's exposing it to new audiences. Cyrus fans who loved her for her Hannah Montana days may have never ventured beyond sugary sweet pop if it weren't for Cyrus' crossover. Many music fans like a variety of genres, so it's likely these fans who were part of the Miley movement and dig Bangerz are checking out music by artists she's collaborated with. Cyrus is helping to increase record sales not just for her music, but for established hip-hop artists, as well.
2. She might inspire more young women to be rappers. Rap is a male-dominated world, and there still aren't a ton of superstar female rappers out there. Sure, prominent names such as Lady Sovreign, Lil Mama and Nicki Minaj help to promote hip hop to young ladies, but Cyrus is the biggest start on the planet right now.
The genre could always use more lady power, and now that Cyrus' legion of fans are seeing such huge success, maybe there are more young rappers in training who will get a chance to bring their views to the music world.
3. She breaks stereotypes about collaborating. If Cyrus and West can get in a studio together, then the door is completely wide open for collaborations among the music world. Five years ago, no one would have guessed Cyrus would be respected by in the hip-hop world, and maybe her crossover will encourage other popular artists to take more risks and make thought-provoking music.
4. She brings a unique voice to hip-hop. OK, so most of Cyrus' lyrics are silly and a little run-of-the-mill. But Cyrus brings a very independent, confident female voice to hip-hop that goes beyond the typical lyrics about getting drunk and going home with someone -- though there are definitely plenty of those in her music, too. In Mike WiLL Made It's "23," she raps, "I'm MC Hammer fly, you can't touch" -- at least that's sort of standing up for women.
She displays more lyrical range and maturity on her ballads, but here's hoping Cyrus continues to bring a strong woman vibe to hip-hop and integrates more intelligent lyrics into her rhymes.
5. She might encourage more genre-shifting. Cyrus proves you can be a successful artists even if you shift away from what initially made you popular. A good comparison would be her collaborator Nelly, who has dipped his toe into country with songs like the country-tinged Tim McGraw collabo "Over and Over."
Maybe there are some artists whose labels are insisting they shouldn't head into new musical territory. Now they can just say, "Well, look at what happened to Miley Cyrus."
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