An exploration of identifying similarities while closing harmful generational gaps.
I often have conversations with friends about the current state of music and which artists are leading the pact that sparks objective debate, followed by closed minded arguments, usually venturing off into reflection and open minded clarity once left alone. Fortunately enough my friends understand when we’re in the heat of the moment, and we have a healthy followup dose of therapy revisiting past topics and agreeing, or unbiasedly disagreeing, on what makes sense. Most importantly what happens in the time in between is impartial research on said artists, and their work, to judge the validity of both arguments. Once again sparking an idea prompting the necessary dive into the mind of those who may have also become partial and unwilling to accept and embrace the current state of Hip Hop, unappreciating its constant ascension.
I remember once being the guy who wouldn’t accept nor understand the newer acts and soundcloud raps being pushed. My era was a “golden era”. The reemergence of gangster rap, mixed with backpackers who delivered bars and melodies, as well as heavily assisted 808 produced trap music; capped off by the occasional record provoking you to dance. Having even further memories of my “golden era”, I remember seeing the looks of disgust and confusion on the faces of parents and elders because they too no longer grasped why we liked what we liked. Falling into the age old generational gap of jaded inability to move with the times, most stuck to the notion of “my generation made real music”. To be fair there were always those young and old who didn’t fully understand my era. But the smart ones most certainly did their best to keep up, due to whatever pressures, compelling them to soon appreciate the overall good music delivered.
Thinking back to the past and times before my own. I began to notice I, like so many others, blindly fell into the trap. The trap existing during noticeable shifts in sound that became necessary to the longevity of the culture, each shift subtly borrowing bits and pieces from the other. Sadly most turn their backs before ever finding the clever common denominator that ushers each generation into the next. So much so that the buzzing artist of the time feels a pointless obligation to pay constant homage on deaf and subjective ears. Causing the casual critic to fully disregard the artist’s personified reasons for pop level existence no matter how sheepish and fickle the modern day fan of the time may be. Quite frankly I started to realize just how flawed I and many other fans of the culture were and still are.
To act as if any subjective “golden era” included perfection is utterly faulty and counterproductive. So called gatekeepers and voices begin to lose sight of the mission of driving the culture forward when prior criticism of gangster rap in the 90’s and the modern day “mumble rap” artist are both shunned. Closed minds and ears no longer deciding from a place of researched reason, but a “in one ear and out the other” position of judgement. Producing a rightful yet spiteful social beheading of anyone who fails to exercise such due diligence. Recognizing my own position, I could no longer share these commonalities with those I once viewed as enemies for their impartial stance on my golden era.
No longer should artist on our limited radars be completely written off when credibly brought to our attention. No longer are subtle or drastic differences cues to not objectively listen. No longer should we disregard an entire fanbase because we’re uninterested or not apart of it. The fact is that music exists on its particular level due to a majority (or minority) of people who magnify it. That alone should pull in those who claim to be apart of the culture, accepting it as being for them, or understanding why its for those who gravitate towards it. Ridding the toxic cycle of non acceptance and welcoming a new direction in the continuation of the progressively changing and dominate Hip Hop industry.
Extremisms of dubbing what’s “real music” and what’s not dilutes the common denominator carried over by its familiar predecessor. When influencers and the casual critic get into the habit of spewing their version of alternative facts, they automatically begin to revoke their professed love of the genre. Declaring your dying fandom for the latest sound and version of rap music would be illogical to project, but to keep an open ear and mind to understand its current approach leads to a much needed love and appreciation cementing Hip Hop at its rightful place on top.