In my Reversing A Culture of Ignorance Series I have spoken about how we don’t respect and pass down the history of African-Americans and African culture. I am beginning to see the same trend when it comes to the genre that I love and have learned so much from….Hip Hop.
The other day one of my friends was out on a first date. He was talking to the woman and asking her questions about herself and getting to know her. They began to get into a discussion about hip hop. She talks about how much of a hip hop fan she is and he mentions that Outkast is one of his favorite groups.
He says, “Uh, yeah but my favorite song is Elevators.”
She goes “Never heard of it”
He says “You know it…Me and you. Your mama and your cousin too…coming up slamming Cadillac doors.”
She stares at him like he is speaking gibberish.
Many people will look at this conversation my friend had and shake their head and go “See how these youth don’t respect hip hop’s past. They don’t know a damn thing about hip hop’s pioneers.” While I agree with your assessment that many people don’t respect the history of hip hop. I tell those people who feel that way to look in the mirror and blame themselves some because they didn’t respect hip hop enough to pass it down.
We have to look at our inability to really let hip hop grow up as a reason that many people don’t have any respect for the icons of the past. Hip Hop is just beginning to show glimpses of growing up, have older MCs, be mature, and still have relevance. For example artists such as Jay-Z and Nas have been able to do that. I wrote a previous post about Kool Herc where I was asking why people weren’t showing love to him while he was sick. After writing that post I begin to look at how much we don’t do to preserve hip hop’s past.
Hip Hop has always been a young man’s game. The idea of youth, vibrancy, and rebellious nature has fueled much of hip hop. Just like Jazz, rock and roll, and R&B they all had to find their way of transcending and evolving from just being a movement of the urban youth. Arguably hip hop has brought more people together than the Civil rights movement but hip hop being able to be old is something else. The idea of someone being young or “acting young” has prevalent to hip hop from the beginning where you had Run DMC talking trash about old disco and rock artists. You even had artists such as the great 2 Pac (who ironically would be in his mid-40s if he had lived) on the song Against All Odds taking shots at older hip hop artists when he said “Niggas lookin like Larry Holmes all flabby and sick.”
One of the problems hip hop has had is that some of us hip hop purists have done a bad job passing down the music. Think about it for a 2nd our parents always exposed us to the music of their time where we knew many of the classic songs from The Isley Brothers, Parliament Funkadelic, Rene and Angela, Confunkshun, Earth Wind and Fire, Rick James, Marvin Gaye Patti Labelle, The O’Jays, The Gap Band, and a host of other artists. Our parents also support many of these artists today by supporting their new projects and tours. Now ask yourself if anyone is running in droves to see Kool Moe Dee or Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five? Do we really educate people on the significance of Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Rakim, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, E-40, A Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, Dee La Soul, Kool G Rap, MC Breed, DJ Quik, and Pete Rock and CL Smooth?
The 2nd problem is we have too many grown ass people not staying in their lane and wanting to stay too cool hip and young. You have 40 year olds posted in the club every week talking about “they run this town” and they are a “100% pure bottle popper”. Now I am not trying to keep anyone into a box of how someone at a certain age should dictate their life BUT there is nothing wrong with transition the game of life at some point. This is part of the reason that hip hop can’t grow up and still take homage to the past because most of the culture including many of the older folks live totally in the now. The interesting thing that makes Nas and Jay-Z be able to stay relevant over time is that they spoke their truth of our their life is. Many older hip hop artists are scared to speak on their truth because they feel they need to have what is poppin’ now instead of speaking their truth but in the context of today.
We can’t complain how hip hop has went down and no one respects the past when we didn’t do a good job of being mature and responsible ambassadors for hip hop. Until hip hop can respect its self and the history of the culture it will be harder for us to blame the youth for not respecting the roots. How can we expect them to respect hip hops roots when WE DON’T event respect the full essence of hip hop?
Do You think it is Right to Blame the Younger Hip Hop Generation for Not Respecting Its Past?
Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “Black Guys Do Tip” w/ The Black Guy Who Tips Podcast. You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, or I-Pad with Stitcher Radio.