Ten years have passed since Nelly signed a deal with Universal Motown, and its commonplace now to hear rappers like Drake, T-Pain, and many others blending singing with their spoken lyrics. Theyre younger, perhaps even wiser than he was about how to capitalize on the sound over the past few years, but Nelly gives them respect. He says he understands that all things change, and that Hip-Hop is a youth-driven culture. He recently invited AllHipHop.com to his Apple Bottom offices in New York and he talked candidly about some of the discord between the generations. He also changes the conversation to how we can improve relations.
Nelly to AllHipHop.com: One thing I think is that we as the beginning rap fans, and Ill say those over 30, we were some of the first fans. What we have to understand is what made us fans. What made us fans was the rebellious music was not listening to what older people told us we should be listening to.
So now, why is it that when we became the older people, we forgot how hip-hop got started? We were rebelling. So when we go back and we try to tell people who are fans of certain people that we may not like, all that does is make them rebel, and it makes the s**t bigger. You see what Im saying? As we get older, it gives us the right to contradict, and when were younger , we dont have that right? No.
What weve got to understand is that hip-hop was made for the youth, by the youth. And its going to always be controlled by the youth. So weve got to understand that, and weve got to understand that its going to make mistakes. We have to allow it to make those mistakes. But you also have to give those same young people the respect, so that hopefully one day they can wake up, and we work with them and not against them.
A lot of people want to work against them, as opposed to working with them. If you can get people to come in and work with them if you can get Nelly and KRS-One to talk whoa, lo and behold, you got Nelly and KRS on a song. And thats what its about.We gotta bridge that.
I think we s**t on the young people for liking something so much that we look like haters to them. I dont want to be a hater to my kid. I dont know about yall, but I dont want to be a hater to my son. I want my son to think hes got the coolest muthaf**kin dad on the planet. Because I wished that when I was young. I wanted my dad to be cool like why couldnt my dad have been more like Rev Run? You see Rev Run on TV and youre like, damn, hes cool. He likes hip-hop, hes cool to everybody.
My dad used to s**t on rap. My uncles and them were like thats not real music, and they were talking about Run DMC and LL Cool J and Tupacs and Biggies, you know what Im saying? Which now , we try to get people to listen to like take it back to the old school. Its crazy.
As told to AllHipHop.com’s Seandra Sims