The Young Thug’s Ice is Colder by Jarvis G.

The Young Thug’s Ice is Colder by Jarvis G.

“If you’re 30, 40 years old, you’re not getting listened to by minors. Like, Jay Z has some of the sickest lyrics ever, but I would never buy his CD, just because of my age and because of his age. By the time I turn that old, I ain’t gonna be doing what he’s doing.” – Young Thug

Never in my lifetime did I think I would quote Young Thug for anything to start a conversation. In a form of music that breeds competition, age becomes more of a factor than it does in most other forms. Now, it is pretty reasonable to not want to hear a 45 year old man or woman rapping about the how tough they are on the block. That shows that age is not what ruins someone’s shelf life in rap but it is the lack of substance. A pet peeve of mine, and something I have to remind myself of, is that the idea music now is not necessarily worse than what I grew up on. It has changed, just like what I grew up on was different than the ear before that. The difference is though the popularity of rap music.

Rap is mainstream now, has been for a while. The error we make when saying, “Rap is a young man’s game” is generalizing it as this new form of music. Yes, it is comparatively a new form of music, but in 2015 the pioneers like a Sugar Hill Gang, DJ Kool Herc and an Afrika Bambaataa are still around and should not be taken around the shed to be put down like a dog. In the same vein, we cannot sit here say that (insert any new rapper from the south) is the worst thing to ever happen to hip hop every day.

Acting seems to be “the way out” for rappers once they get a certain age. While there is nothing wrong with that, somewhere down the line the history is not being taught and kids are growing up thinking that Will Smith is an actor turned rapper, and having no idea about why it is so trippy seeing Ice-T playing a cop on television. The support for their careers just does not seem to be there and it is disappointing.

Going back off the point that rap is popular now; corporations have their hands all over rap, which has created a generation of people doing it for a check and less about the craft. This divide in the culture has made it difficult to have collaborations with artists from earlier years. Signing to a label ensures that they need your project to be as marketable as possible and trying to pitch them a single featuring Chuck D (no matter how great it actually may be) is not going to fly with them.

The balance is not there. A culture cannot survive if we do not know the roots while accepting the change and progression that comes in life. This loss of history or preservation of legends is what really going to lead to what everyone is worried about as of late, the whitewashing in rap. Iggy can’t claim a spot if we keep Lauryn Hill conscious.

Rap is at its best when we have young and old challenging each other and not one group being favored by the label executives. That creates a misrepresentation of what rap music is. Do your history, read about what rappers came before what you hear on the radio and listen to their music. Show that you cannot ostracize us at a certain age and that good artistry is timeless.

“I love and respect the culture.” “When you love and respect it, you’ll always be able to do it. That’s why I know with me being 44 years of age, there’s no limit, because I’m older. If that was the case, I would be like, ‘Aw, man, that rap stuff was cool when I was younger. I’ve outgrown that.’ You cannot outgrow culture! You can’t outgrow a culture, period! The fact that I am a part of the culture, I’m going to keep banging out until I don’t want to do it anymore but I still fiend for an ill-a** sample and an ill-a** beat to make.” –DJ Premier

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