Hip-hop is dead. A classic joint by Nas tells a story of the demise of hip-hop and what that would mean to the culture.  Some contend that so-called “mumble rap” and skinny jeans are doing their fair share of efforts to kill the genre that leaked out of speakers from the Boogie Down Bronx to the Motor City of Detroit and beyond. Regardless of your views on the transition of hip-hop, I believe it to be alive and believe it or not, thriving.

Aged to Perfection

Unlike most genres of music, Hip-Hop icons often are short lived.  Not by the system of music itself, rather by the fans who claim to love and support them so dearly.  Rock stars and R&B singers are touring and even creating new music well into their 70’s and continue to draw crowds.  Hip-hop vets sometimes become whispers of the past and some even made mockeries of when they attempt to make new music.  That is where we as fans have failed the culture.  The legends of yesterday can still be legends today and honored as such if the hip-hop culture wasn’t so destructive to its own well-being.  Then something happened.

Music to My Ears

I listened to 444 early, thanks to my trial version of Tidal.  I have to say that Jay Z’s effort in this last album spoke so much truth, vulnerability and inspiration that it renewed my faith in hip-hop.  Don’t get me wrong, I milly rock and get amped off of Migos and 21 Savage songs like a lot of people, but it honors me to see a veteran from my time step in and fill the void where true hip-hop game was missing.  In fact, not only filled a void, but gave us a different direction.  I felt the same way when I heard Rick Ross’ last album. Inspiration and creativity all wrapped into a solid production. Sometimes, I think we call things classic before there time.  Perhaps we should give hip-hop a chance to grow even more before we start calling vets like Jay, Nas, Jeezy and others classic.  It may be the rush to call them classic that makes the longevity so hard to attain.  Although, I’ll admit, it is hard to avoid calling some dynasties classic.

Bad Boy for Life

I may be partial to Diddy and the Bad Boy family because I am a Biggie fan, but the “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” documentary on iTunes struck me in a way I couldn’t explain. Not just as an individual, but as a whole movement, Diddy put his dream on a rocket ship and held on tight enough to bring the whole squad with him.  This is inspiring for a youngster from 48205, one of the most infamous zip codes in Detroit.  This is inspiring for rappers like Big Sean, Tee Grizzley and Icewear Vezzo along with countless other rappers who have come after ambassadors like Trick Trick, Proof and Eminem. Hip-hop, even though it was born in the Bronx, has always felt like the voice of Detroit and for that reason, I hope hip-hop never dies.  Catch ya’ on the FLIPSIDE.

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