It was almost never cool to be a rapper.
How many times have you heard "I'm not a rapper, I'm a hustler", "you a rappin a.ss n*gga", "I'm a gangsta not a rapper", "I just rap cause it's easy" ?
A rapper was always looked at as backpacker or a kid n play type. Even by other rappers
it was very cool to be a rapper at first. even a MC.
for every rapper that we have now and their name starts with "lil",
back then there was just as many rappers who name started or had "MC" in it. because being a Rapper/MC was the sh*t.
it wasnt until the crack game slowed down and every ex-drug dealer all of sudden wanted to rap but didnt want to be labeled as such.
another trend that Jay-z started (even though he was the self-proclaimed best rapper alive) then n*ggas took it and ran with it.