This generation’s fascination with the past is most apparent in the discussion of music. When the discussion of “real” Hip-Hop comes up, it is often associated with the sound of 90s New York Hip-Hop. Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Nas are the main examples used by so-called Hip-Hop heads when they discuss/debate that era. At the same time, Ready To Die and Illmatic dropped in 1994 and Reasonable Doubt in 1996, most of those same Hip-Hop heads were either not yet born or between the ages 4-6 when those albums released. You really expect me to believe your just got out of Pampers, still sleeps with a night-light and barely knows the alphabet ass was listening to “Dead Presidents II” in between naps ? Naaah homie. I’m willing to bet your ass was in the back of the car, in your car seat, sleep with pacifier in your mouth. Being in the car while it was on the radio does not mean you were raised on 90s era Hip-Hop, it means you were around it.
B.I.G. only made two albums both released between the years of 94’-97’, Nas released five albums between 94’-99’ and Jay-Z had four between 96’-99’. Nine years old is the oldest you could’ve possible been if you were born in the 90s by the time all these “real” Hip-Hop albums dropped. I highly doubt any reasonable (see what I did there ?) mother was letting her child listen to any of these albums at such a young age. So when kids these days bring up these albums to argue against the current state of music, it doesn’t make any sense. You probably listened to them years after their release, which is okay because I’ve done the same. Yet at the same time I can simply just appreciate the music and what it was like in the 90s, I don’t try to relive or revive an era that I had nothing to do with. This is the problem with a lot of young people today.
A prime example of this is Joey Bada$$, who has gained critical acclaim for his mixtape 1999 (note that Joey was four in 99’) which has “brought back” the golden age of Hip-Hop. Joey and his Pro Era crew are at the fore front in the revival of “real” Hip-Hop, for their choice of boom bap production and high lyrical style. Joey is viewed as an innovator in today’s commercialized rap scene, a true artist who went against the traditional sound in today’s music. While Joey and his crew are nice and do have skills, in no way are they innovators. I hear nothing new when I listen to Joey’s music and this isn’t an attack on him or Pro Era but they bring nothing innovating to Hip-Hop. We’ve already heard 1999 when Nas dropped Illmatic in 1994.
So let’s stop with this “real” Hip-Hop versus “fake” Hip-Hop. Good music is good music. I can appreciate a classic such as “I Gave You Power” and then turn around and listen to “Started From The Bottom” and that doesn’t make me any less of an Hip-Hop fan. If we keep up this mindstate of “real” Hip-Hop, it is only going to keep the culture stuck in a loop. Constantly repeating itself until Hip-Hop fades away due to its inability to evolve with the times and that is something I’m sure any Hip-Hop fan doesn’t want to see.