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A Culture Divided: Hip-Hop’s Generation Gap

Joseph Tiller
Posted by Joseph Tiller on Sep 19


At the end of the 90s, the prominence of the internet as a marketing tool grew. New artists were able share their music to a broader audience in a faster time, which made it easier for many artist to get fame and notoriety themselves. Major labels lost some of their power to create super stars. Some people will argue that there are no gatekeepers in Hip-Hop anymore, which allows anyone with an email that thinks they can rap to have a chance in the spotlight. Pre-internet rap is a stark contrast to the mainstream hip hop that is pumped on the air waves today. That has caused a difference in opinion between the older and younger generations of the culture.

The progression of hip-hop has been an interesting one to say the least. Everything from the sound to the fashion has changed and will continue to. A reason for this generational divide is that older Hip-Hop heads have a hard time understanding, things change. There is a stubbornest that comes with the older generation of hip-hop fans. They were raised in in the 70s and 80s and were able to fully comprehend the golden era of Hip-Hop, the 90s. To them it doesn’t get better than that. The past few years have been filled with 90s nostalgia. More than a few artists have referenced and/or sampled 90s music and pop culture. We currently can’t escape it and that can become overbearing at times.  

The younger generation is trying to create an era in Hip-Hop that they can look back on and say they were apart of. A goal for this generation of Hip-Hop, is being different and standing out to the fullest. That’s why there is a Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil yachty and other artists who create their own lane, in whatever way they see fit. It keeps things from being stale, but at times there are some lines that should not be crossed. The glorification of excessive drug use has become a growing concern in the current landscape of Hip-Hop. As far as the music itself, “mumble rap” seems to be a pet peeve of older Hip-Hop fans.

Producer, Pete Rock recently spoke out against “mumble rap.” After calling out Lil Yacthy and Young Dolph directly, he challenged all new rappers to step their bars up. Dolph promptly responded with a tweet telling the veteran producer to “Eat a d***.” Pete Rock's comments sparked other artists like TDE’s Ab-Soul to speak out calling all new “lil” rappers “weak,” referring to Lil Uzi Vert because he refused to rap over a DJ Premier beat during a Hot 97 interview. Some die hard fans of lyricism feel that “mumble rap” is just a phase that should not be given more attention than it deserves. Influencer, host and emcee, Dres the Beatnik made a valid point via his Instagram concerning "mumble rap."

“I'm gonna say this One Time and One Time only... I understand the frustration that most of you Hip Hop Purists have when it comes to this New School Rap. I really do! I understand that most of you are so frustrated with it that you wanna distance yourselves from it by stating that it ain't Hip Hop and attempt to label it something else to be able to maintain said distance. DON'T.DO.IT! You're giving Power to something that you shouldn't be concerning yourself with. We aren't a Mumbling People so knowing Nature... do you really think that this is gonna last long enough to have it's own category? That's called Legitimation... people. It's a Trap! The moment we do that we have automatically excused the Behavior and the Practice of this. Mumble Style? Perhaps. Mumble Rap? HELL NAW! Next thing you know there's a GRAMMY Category for it and so forth and so on. Don't jump on this wagon. Help them get better NOT Co-sign it as it is currently. IJS! #FOLLOWTHEHAT RP#ThemPeopleStillGonnaCallItHipHop”

When it comes to Hip-Hop’s generational divide For the most part, the issue seems to be that the younger generation fails to do their homework and to pay homage to those who have paved the way. How many current artists even know who Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-1 are? Macklemore is considered an outcast in the world of Hip-Hop by some and he still payed homage to Hip-Hop pioneers Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz. These are some of the artists that built the foundation for the platform that is currently being utilized by new artists. At some point there should be a salute to them. As a Hip-Hop artist you should just simply know who they are. At the same time the older generation should come to accept that in order for the culture to progress it is necessary for some things to change.

Some may feel there will always be a divide between the new and the old. However, there are those who look to close the generation gap in Hip-Hop. Lil Uzi Vert and DJ Premier were able to talk and come to an understanding. Hopefully, Pete Rock and Young Dolph could do the same.  

Joseph Tiller

Written by Joseph Tiller

Topics: Young Dolph, pete rock

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