Nerds are the New Cool Kids
Successful socialites and business leaders throughout history always have their nerdy counterparts. For example, Andrew Carnegie, the steel industrialist who openly said that his talent was bringing technical people together and not possessing any specific knowledge of steel. People perceived to be successful were and still are a cumulation and social representation of nerds with technical knowledge. So when were the anti-social able to top the pyramid?
For me and the hip-hop community, this day was September 11th, 2007 when Kanye West beat 50 cent in a bet on who could sell more albums. 50 Cent represented the tough guy gangster and Kanye West was the nerd and outcast. Back in 2007, fans truly didn't know who would sell more records. 50 Cent had a proven track record whereas Kanye West progressed every album but he didn't seem to be on the same level.
"In 2007 50 Cent felt more invincible than ever. He’d had back-to-back record-setting albums. He’d destroyed the careers of Ja Rule and Irv Gotti, and put serious dings in Jadakiss, Fat Joe, and Game. His clothing line was doing $80mm. Even his weed carriers were going double platinum! And if that wasn’t enough, on May 26 of that year Vitamin Water, a Queens-based beverage company of which he owned a minority stake, sold to Coca-Cola for $4.2 billion. In a cash deal. CLICKITY-CLANK, $400 million, it was reported at the time, in his piggy bank. Like I said, Drake^10."- Noah Callahan-Bever, The Day Kanye West Killed Gangsta Rap, Complex Mag, September 11, 2015
I believe Kanye's win opened symbolizes not only the gate opening for personal, nerdy hip-hop, but also, allowing hip-hop listeners to expand their interests.
From there we can see the ascension of other soft rappers from Lupe Fiasco to Kid Cudi and now the biggest rapper in the game, Drake. Kanye made it ok to be nerdy. He is the reason A$AP Rocky can dress like a fashionista or Young Thug can wear dresses and push boundaries. Kanye brought open-mindedness back into hip-hop. Down the line, this has also been a pillar to even bigger social changes like the rise of the hipster and the reason it can now be cool to be nerdy. Say what you will about Kanye West's inability to communicate to the masses via his rants, but he gave birth to what we listen to today.
Intelligence is subjective and being nerdy has nothing to do with it. Being nerdy is about being yourself and being more into what drives you than what others think of you. When individuals can be themselves, we create a better world.