The disconnect between the young and old is a common occurrence in life, due to the young not understanding the past and the old not remembering they were once young. A case where this is overly evident is hip-hop, where the divide between the current and past generations is saddening. Despite what many around in the golden era’s of the ‘80’s and 90’s seem to think, many of the problems they complain about today were just as prevalent then.
Notorious B.I.G. (left) and Puff Daddy were rapping about many of the same trials and
tribulations of today’s rappers. (Courtesy photo)
Misogyny, braggadocio, violence and negativity are all of the qualms you here about rappers of today. Legends like producer Pete Rock, who had a spat with Memphis rapper Young Dolph for his “glorification” of cocaine seem to have short-term memory. There was once a rapper named The Notorious B.I.G. who spat rhymes about his street life, commuting from New York to North Carolina to sell that very drug.
“F*** it, buy the coke, cut it, know the b**** before you caught yourself lovin’ it” Biggie once spit.
Sure, the argument in the 90’s was that rappers were spitting about their realities of selling drugs to survive and maintain. But to our surprise, the troubles those rappers faced, youth in the inner city still face today.
Then there’s the argument about lyrics degrading women, as if rappers of the past showed empathy for their ladies. There is no difference between the misogyny-filled lyrics of today’s radio hits, and Dr.Dre’s 1992 hit “B****** Ain’t S***” off of his multi-platinum album The Chronic.
By no way are the vile lyrics being excused, but there is often Alzheimer’s in the hip-hop community in regards to the same types of music that once made critics groove on the dance floor.
The 1980’s were a more simplistic time, before the politically laced rhymes of Public Enemy and street tales of N.W.A. But this area also has carefree feel-good artists, like Mississippi duo Rae Sremmurd.
And another cry out is the lack of positivity, citing rappers of the past like Tupac Shakur, Nas and KRS-One who sought for better. But there are artist of today like J Cole and Kendrick Lamar who exemplify those same traits, often citing said artists as influences.
The same way that new generation athletes like Lebron James finds a way to connect with Magic Johnson or Bill Russell, hip-hop legends need to find a way to relate and understand the youth. Hip-Hop is one of the quickest changing realms that exist, and the old must change with the new to keep it alive and well.