To begin, there are two issues at play here: authenticity and masculinity. You can assume that being soft is sort of a castrating adjective, and it is, but there's more to it than that.
So, I'd like to circumvent the ideas surrounding how women are portrayed in rap, the lyrical and visual objectification of females by those in the genre. That's a whole 'nother bucket of crazy, and a somewhat adjacent issue. The "ideal" of masculinity in hip-hop isn't even the most important thing to look at when it comes to the idea of being soft. There are so many different approaches to what a real man is within the genre. It depends on if you ask a Juggalo or a dude who jocks Rick Ross. The way each male rapper relates to females certainly brings up a huge bag of WTF, but hey, if I rapped about guys I messed around with, things might sound a lil more similar to Lil Kim than Drake. Because Kim was never soft, and Drake is.
Being very, very strongly uncool is also soft. And if we're gonna talk uncool, obvi, after like dudes like Mac Miller, the half-Jewish, Canadian former actor who spent a lot of time in a wheelchair to please horny tweens is going to be your first target. He's all "real niggaz" and everyone real's like, all awkward, "Uh... What's up?"
Lil Wayne, though a truly brilliant and clever wordsmith and decent tastemaker, still has the corniest soft spot for all things lame, like his tragic taste in rock at its worst with Rebirth and working with acts like this poor chick Porcelain Black. Like the least awesome stuff ever made. Why would anyone hard bring that kind of weak shit into our sonic universe?
Possibly because times are soft in hip-hop these days.
Kanye West told the BBC in 2013, "Now the rappers are the new R&B niggas. Rappers are the new radio. Rap is the new rock 'n' roll. We the real rockstars, and I'm the biggest of all of them." This statement doesn't entirely make sense. But what matters to us is that he's sort of recognizing that rappers nowadays are like R&B singers of the past. In 1998, as part of Black Star, Talib Kweli rapped the line: "While R&B singers hit bad notes, we rock the boat of thought." Back then, much rap had real meaning, R&B had radio play.
I'm a feminist. I think men are allowed to have feelings, but sometimes things Drake sings even embarrasses me. I grew up, like you all did (hopefully) listening to the greats. Let's talk Tupac for simplicity's sake.