Realizing that you’re a grown person who recognizes the music twerking up and down the charts less by the day can be a sobering experience.
Many keep hope alive by emulating teenagers in the way they dress, talk and party. The clock’s running out on their youth but the plan is to take it overtime since they’re just not ready to be a grownup yet.
Helping (hurting?) matters is the fact that the adults who solve problems like children industry, aka Reality Shows, is booming; giving these folks plenty of source material to emulate. Arrested development isn’t just a show on Netflix friends. It’s a real issue for a segment of our community. Now I’m no judge but is getting into fights on WorldStar or doing vines in your mid 40’s a good look or nah?
However, this ain’t about them. Despite the title of their shows, their affiliation with hip-hop typically begins and ends with the fact that they’re black.
Instead, I’d like to have a dialogue with many of my raised on 90’s hip-hop family. Yeah, you whose formative years were concurrent with the once and forever golden age of hip-hop (‘88-96 sound fair to you?) and will protect that era until the day you die.
Attention: some of y’all are becoming old ass haters.
I’m sure it’s not on purpose. It’s been said many times that hip-hop is a young person’s sport. By keeping the music from that time alive we honor the greatness of those artists and keep them relevant to the bigger hip-hop picture.
Where the train comes off the rails is the need to compare the pinnacle of dope music from then to whatever you think is the worst of today’s offerings. Using Public Enemy to explain why Trinidad James sucks is a ridiculous thing to do. They’re different artists inspired by different stimuli and have different goals.
More over, doing this creates an adversarial relationship between seasoned rap listeners and the younger generation of rappers and taste makers.
The amount of rappers doing music from the soul and those doing music purely for ‘money and hoes’ will forever be equal. However if you want music from the soul at this point it’s YOUR job to find it. It’s not going to be spoon-fed to you on the radio anymore. In my case it hardly ever was. Growing up I would have committed a felony to hear socially conscious music on the radio just once. It was all booty music, all the time. No different than the twerk team theme music we hear every 3 minutes and 30 seconds of every day currently. I survived and discovered music from alternative outlets that better reflected my sensibilities.
So for those of us who claim that hip-hop is watered down and it’s too hard to find any music to feel on a soulful level, let me give you the 100 on this subject. You’re lazy; and would rather complain about how there’s no new rappers that compare to whatever your interpretation of great rap music is, which doesn’t stop great new hip-hop from existing, it only shields you from the benefit of hearing it.
For every Migos there’s a CyHi The Prynce.
Think 2 Chainz is too lame? May I interest you in some Freddie Gibbs?
French Montana got you ready to break your radio? Give Big K.R.I.T. a try.
The point is lets celebrate young artists that we appreciate at least twice as much as we lament the negative ones. There are more independent underground artists actually making a living doing music than ever. Focusing on the wrong misses out on all the right that’s going on.
At this point some of you may be thinking ‘‘that’s fine for us old heads but what about the kids?” as if young people haven’t had questionable taste in music for decades. Teens are the reason pop music was invented.
It’s the circle of life, kids dance to what old heads think is trash then the kids grow up and eat their veggies by choice. Whether it was Ringtone Rap of the 00’s or current day Twerk Tones, realize there’s nothing new under the sun and this movement shall pass as all others before it did.
What doesn’t have to change is your love for new hip-hop and interesting artists. They’re really out here. Sure, we’re getting older and may find comfort from a lot of the weirdo music out here by defining ourselves as old-school. With age comes new perspective that we all have a right to. I’m not here to begrudge you of that right, just to let you there are alternative outlets that may better reflect your sensibilities, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty to find them.
Jam.Lx is a writer, entrepreneur and hip-hop history buff who loves to explore the relationship between sports, music, race and pop culture. Follow him at @jam_lx. He promises to tweet more often.