Opinion: Tell Jay-Z To Keep His “Old Man Raps”
Change is good, evolution is necessary. However not all things need reassignment. Some stuff in life is just fine the way it is.
About a month ago, everybody’s favorite drug dealing rapper, Jay-Z, released his 4:44 album. Though the album was scrutinized and highly criticized by the female listeners, for a lot of different reasons, it is still regarded as a milestone in rap music. To most people, it marked Jay-Z’s attempt at ushering in a more mature attitude towards the music. And let’s be honest; what Jay-Z does we all follow. Overall, the album was Shawn Carter’s admission of having flaws and making his way through life as a man. 75% of Hiphopolis praised Jay-Z for his effort. And not for nothing, but I predicted this album before it dropped.
Prior to this, Atlanta’s prodigal son, Gucci Mane was not only released from prison, but got engaged to be married immediately upon doing so. He may have jumped the broom already. If you know rap like I know rap, rappers are not supposed to get married. Gucci also vowed that he’s a changed man, and has continued to live up to those expectations.
You see a pattern here?
Hip Hop’s most recent attempt at maturation comes from another southern rapper, 21 Savage. 21 Savage burst upon the music scene spitting razor-edged bars about selling drugs to his own community and killing people that look just like him. But suddenly, thanks to Amber Rose’s budding love for him, he’s been seen on social media buying jewelry for his snowbunny princess and also, wait for it, smiling. Much like I predicted Jay Z’s daddy album, I predict that 21 Savage will follow suit, possibly exchanging some of his murder tales for love songs. There’s no reason that this won’t take place.
So let’s just assume that from this point forward, rappers will decide that it’s time to start making songs about paying bills instead of stacking them. Personally, I believe that would be a terrible disservice to the Hip Hop community. Make no mistake; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with deciding to become a more mature and responsible person. However, I’d prefer if you rappers did not attempt to do so on my dime or my time. Does that sound selfish? Good.
For many, especially older people who have grown up things to do throughout the day, rap music serves as an ignorant escape, a guilty pleasure that we enjoy when we grow weary of adulting. If rap music begins to make adult rap music, worlds will collide. And, word to George Costanza, that type of thing must never take place. Rap music allows me, a married father of four with a full-time job, to be a drug dealer or a gangster or ruthless villain who doesn’t give an f about anyone but himself. And sometimes I need that. We all do. Listening to rap music should be no different than going to the movies. And as much as I love movies, I don’t like movies that mirror my life. Because that’s boring, no?
This is one of the reasons I don’t frown on Mumble rap or its accompanying genres. I don’t want my rap music to be like my life. I look in the mirror to brush my teeth and comb my hair, not for entertainment purposes. And that’s what this is tantamount to.
If we learned anything from the Reality TV wave, it’s that “keeping it real” has its limitations. You know why people do drugs? Get drunk? Because they’re constantly looking for escapism. That’s what music provides. And music is entertainment, no matter what anybody tells you.
Words by Tony Grands | firstname.lastname@example.org