Tupac ruined the rap game when he tattooed “Thug Life” on his stomach. This isn’t to say that he was the first thug or gangsta of hip hop. But that image of that tattoo was seen worldwide and let everyone know that this is hip hop. It was great for the 1990’s when that kind of life style was seen as cool or the norm in hip hop. Today, however I see kids on social media trying to be gangsters and thugs and it isn’t right.
I use Tupac as an example because he was such a powerful figure in the culture. He was truly special with how he was able to reach people by being authentic to himself. He is like god to most people who listen to rap, but he is flawed like anyone else. He was not a perfect person and lived a reckless life that was brought about by his self-proclaimed “thug lifestyle.” We celebrate Tupac like he is the man and he is. The problem is people saw this and thought they could be him. The reality though is you can’t. There is only one Tupac and he unfortunately is not here anymore.
In 2017, Tupac should be an example to everyone that being a thug doesn’t have a good end. I understand that everyone grows up in a different environment and some things are hard to escape but death isn’t one of them. Being a thug will get you death or jail. Both aren’t very cool.
The cool thing to do today is going to school and get your college degree like J cole. Or up lift people out of bad situations like Kendrick Lamar. Or become the biggest rapper in the genre like Drake, by dedicating yourself to your passion and nothing else. These are hip hop’s representation today and we are in a better place for it.
Again, I want to say that Tupac is amazing and was a uniquely special human being. However, he wasn’t perfect and we all can learn from his mistakes and short comings. As a long time fan of hip hop we have made a habit of celebrating the thugs. Hopefully this new generation could change that standard.
Rock and Roll was considered the rebel music of its day. Young people naturally gravitated towards it, and older people rejected it. It was flashy, in your face, and counter-culture. It simply was the new wave of its time. Fast forward to today and that all has changed. Hip hop and Rap is now that wave.
I grew up listening to a lot of different music, but hip hop and rap was always the coolest. It was the music that your parents didn’t quite approve of but somehow resonated with you the most. It was more than just music too, it was a culture that you lived and breathed. I spoke the dialect, I dressed the part, and I lived through the music. And I wasn’t the only one. I had a whole generations of kids beside me doing the same.
Look at some of the biggest artist in Hip Hop right now. Artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole have created such an impact that kids are growing up wanting to be just like them. When either of these artist drop an album it feels as if social media stops for a minute to bask in their greatness. And their shows are simply ridiculous. We are talking arenas, stadiums, even a sighting on the street garners such great attention. The fans live through their music and that is the power of hip hop’s rock star power.
On the flip side though, these are mega stars. So it makes sense they would get this kind of attention. What about rappers who aren’t as popular? Well I can tell you from first hand experience it still is just as ridiculous.
I have gone to many small clubs and venues to see rappers who were famous but not at the superstar level yet. Rappers like G Eazy, Mac Miller, Bas, and Logic. The reaction and love these artist got were crazy. People would stand 5 hours in line just to get into these places, then stand 3 more hours for a show. It’s crazy, but that’s rock and roll or should I say Hip Hop.
Kanye West once told Zane Lowe in an interview that “We are the new rock stars.” Kanye was of course referring to rappers. Usually Kanye is a little off in his judgements but he got this one right. Rappers are the new rock stars and we are just living in their world.
50 Cent never misses an opportunity to be petty. Recently, 50 flexed his petty habit on instagram against long time foe Ja Rule.
50 posted a meme of President Trump appointing Ja Rule as secretary of festivals. This was an obvious shot at Rule’s Fyre Festival that was cancelled and failed to meet the hype of the next great festival. 50’s meme:https://www.instagram.com/p/BThKru1FEpF/
On the surface this is a light shot for 50, who has done must worse in the past. 50 has literally feuded with almost every rapper to come out of New York in the ealry 2000’s. However, a deeper look will tell you that 50 can’t and will not let old grudges die. 50 has feuded with Ja rule since anywhere from 2001- 2003. I was maybe 5 or 6 at the time this became public. It is 2017 and I am now 21. Maybe, just maybe, 50 should let this one go. He won’t though, because he is the pettiest man in hip hop and isn’t that part of what makes him great though?
It is and in reality we wouldn’t want 50 any other way.
Everyday I go on Twitter or Instagram, I see young people like myself who have a desire to be heard. I’m talking about young people who range from 18-25 and have valid opinions on the culture we love so much. The problem for many of us is we feel like we are being shunned for being young. We feel judged by the people who came before us because we weren’t around for their golden ages. The ultimate consequence being that we have to wait our turn to be heard. Well this blogger isn’t waiting any longer.
I have realized that doors don’t just open for people. In fact, people most of the time will try their best to keep them closed. I see people like Angie Martinez, Funk Master Flex, and Charlamagne tha god, at the top of their professions. I hear their stories about how hard they worked to get there and the time that had to be put in. I admire and respect them tremendously for that dedication. However, in that same breath, I feel like there is a notion that young people today don’t want to put the same work in. Which is a notion I completely reject.
Are their people today who aren’t willing to put in work? Of course. Similarity to how their were people back then that didn’t want to put in the work. Angie, Flex, and Charlamagne are special people of their time and there are special people today that will make themselves known in the future.
I personally have applied and was turned down from two radio internships. I couldn’t get on my school radio station cause I refused to be buddy buddy with people I didn’t respect. I could have quit on my dream and sometimes I do it get low on myself. However, refuse to let anybody decide my fate. I started my own YouTube channel RealTalktv, when the internships fell through. I stayed in college and focused on finding another way into radio and eventually made it on my school radio station WHCR 90.3FM. Finally, here’s the kicker, in maybe a month I will start my own podcast with my friends called the 1-5-0.
My point here is young people want to be great too. Just give us time and you will see.