Hello all, I’m back, you’re angry old head as alleged by the the youngins. No one has labeled me specifically, but i think the term “old head” applies to anyone who voices a dissenting opinion with the current flavors of the month as designated by the powers that be. Yes there are still powers that be, even in today’s smorgasbord music climate we reside in. For me as an observer and lover of the culture it seems as if some neophytes take any critique of their music as hate and a sign that said critic is old. The horror!
Recently Lil Boat aka Lil Yachty did his press run making the typical stops and of course one of those stops was Hot 97. Of course everyone’s most despised radio host Ebro took him through the paces. I thought it was tongue and cheek and thought Lil Boat handled himself well. He also, to his credit, attempted to freestyle. Which as I previously stated is a specific skill set within the genre and plenty of rappers that are loved, honored, and cherished don’t excel in this arena. The take away for me was that Lil Boat got it, was easy going enough to take the shots, and while his technique was highly questionable, he made the attempt and that counts for something. But then shortly after he gives another interview saying old heads are haters and need to accept the new regime. A new regime that doesn’t know how to rap. Im paraphrasing.
I respect Lil Boat’s choices, musically, but there is something he and his bredren have stated that gives me pause. They say “I’m not a rapper, I’m a rockstar.” as reasoning for their lack of skill set. Here’s my thing. If you’re a rockstar and not a rapper. What are you doing here?
What are you doing here in this space. A space for hip-hop, a space for rappers, if you are a rockstar? If you are truly a rock star that is where you should be. Playing on that format on radio. Getting interviews on those websites, blogs , radio stations and appearing on their publications . if that is who you are then that is where you should be.
There in lies my issue. I respect their right to make the kind of music they want, but this space is for hip-hop. The question has been raised. Is this hip-hop? It could be…but if the artist says it’s something else then that is how they should be approached. While it’s ok for them to receive prime placement in hip-hop spaces because they are still us. They claim to be “other” and they should be addressed as such. They can be Living Colour if they want to. Alabama Shakes is live, and rock music is also our music but are they on the cover of XXL? If Lenny Kravitz wanted an appearance on a major hip-hop outlet i imagine no one would deny him but the approach would be different than if Jeezy wanted to have an appearance. And it’s ok for all the Lil’s to appear on hip-hop stations but they should also be in rock or alternative spaces. They should be getting exposure from that audience. But to say its hip-hop ehhh…ok. Just because you pour syrup on shit don’t make it pancakes.
I think there have to be some rules. Some guidelines. Some standards. An anything goes policy hurts the genre. You cannot decide to play baseball and make a touchdown. That’s not what this game is, and i don’t think its inappropriate for members of the culture to make a statement about those who use hip-hop spaces but neglect to uphold the standards.
Just as they want to be creatively free to make the music they want, but they must also pay the associated toll.