I was reading a few back issues of The Source, and I ran across something that said "Is Chicago hip-hop dead?" Then they had a feature on Common who spoke on Resurrection (I Used to Love H.E.R ") and voiced his opinion on what was wrong with Chicago rap at that time.
Then, I ran across this:
The Source No. 64, January 1995, "Letters"
"Rap Vs. Hip-Hop"
"I think you guys are confused with the word hip-hop. Hip-hop aint rap music-- they're opposites. One is a business and one is an art form. I was surprised to see Redman on your cover [November '94], since you have previously decorated your magazine with Snoop, Dr. Dre, Coolio, TLC, Eazy E (twice), [Uncle] Luke, Kris Kross, and so on. Finally, you place a hip-hop disciple and an outstanding mark in our history of music on your cover. But to that punk ass writer James Bernard-- if you think that's your job to down our great gods of hip-hop, then why don't you down all that phony ass bullshit (rap music) like Coolio, Eazy E, Luke, Dr. Dre and Kris Kross. You won't because they make millions. I don't bullshit when someone is getting my culture confused with something else."
-- Mr. Middle Finger, Lower East Side [END]
The point of this all is that many might think that the debate on what "real hip-hop" is is relatively new. But what's funny is that this argument has always been present. Aside from KRS bashing Nelly (and vice versa) back in '02, the same thing the kid from L.E.S is saying in his letter is the same thing we're saying NOW, twelve years later. So when will this argument ever conclude?
DJ Premier even went as far as to say, respectively, that Nas is an "MC," and Jay-Z is a "rapper"...which can be respected but it's funny 'cause I always thought Hov was looked at as an MC...
The argument remains to this day.