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Ageism: Why Hip Hop Nostalgia is Understandable, But Not Acceptable

“They don’t make music like it used to be.” “Hip Hop is dead.” “All the music that’s out now is…

“They don’t make music like it used to be.”
“Hip Hop is dead.”
“All the music that’s out now is garbage.”
“We gotta get like back in the day.”

Eye. Roll. We all know of those uncles, aunties, or local OGs that spew these statements out like millennial repellent. And It’s getting tired.

A few weeks ago I naively decided to watch J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive HBO miniseries “Road to Homecoming” and concert special in the company of my grandmother. As you can imagine, it was a pretty stiff moment when Cole announced his song about “the time [he] got [his] first piece of pussy” and went on to rhyming “Wet Dreamz.” Long story short, I fast-forwarded the song. But throughout the whole viewing, all I heard was my grandmother’s gasps, her OMGs, and “why do these rappers love to cuss so much” every few minutes.

Maybe I was trying to get caught up on shows because, transparency, cable ain’t cheap, and your girl’s not here for it. Or, maybe I was just trying to defeat social isolation of my elder and put my granny on to some fire, I don’t know. What I do know is that instead of brushing her displeasure off and retreating to “she’s old, she doesn’t understand,” I wanted her to get it because this was about more than just J. Cole’s cussing. We then opened up the discussion of, undoubtedly, why these rappers love to cuss so much, why Hip Hop can be so sexual, and how the little kids gon’ be alright despite this. Although the war wasn’t won, I do appreciate the fact that most people don’t even get this far as to having these conversations with their elders.

Ironically, older folks tend to dislike graphic lyrics or cussing in Hip Hop even though we, including them, cuss in our everyday lives and continue to engage in sexual activity, whether it’s expressed in the music or not. This is because a lot of older folks are keen to keeping the obscure things hushed, not necessarily always for their ears, but I believe, for white folks. We all know that music is universal. Once it drops, it can land in anyone’s speakers. Then black music, along with the black community in which it was conceived from, becomes vulnerable. Sure, we may cuss up a storm in our homes/at the function and say some freaky things around our kin, but we’re no longer respectable once those outside of our safe spaces (whites and non-black POC) become keen to our fluidity. Black folks have always been misconceived as hyper-sexual beings without emotions for as far back as slavery. Hearing “he gotta eat the booty like groceries” blast through a pop radio station with white listeners, to our elders, might perpetuate this belief.

It may not be the definitive answer, but generational gaps play a major role here. Many seniors feel disconnected from technology, which is understandable why new concepts and trends may not seem so wise to them. Although it can be redundant to hear, and I wouldn’t apply this to every situation, our seniors were once in their teens to mid-twenties as well. Perhaps the disco era. They, too, may have experiences of loving a particular sound in music that was challenging and stigmatized from the very beginning. Talk about it. Embodying the very ageism that this generation is subjected to ourselves, does more harm than good.

Which leads us to the real problem: many adults from the golden age of Hip Hop (side eye). Yes, y’all. Yes, yes, Y’ALL. And you don’t stop. The ones who say that Hip Hop is dead at least once a day. The ones who pray to Rakim and live by Public Enemy. The ones who name any record made in the 2000s “Hip-Pop”. We hear them say that the music is “soft” or, as Erykah Badu once called it in 2010, “pop techno cornball ass music” and so forth. To keep it simple and quite obvious, the music grows with time. The 2010s has so far been a decade of self-love, liberation, mourning, radicalism and an informal introduction to feminism in the black community. Among these things have also been the destruction of gender institutions and its roles, hyper-masculinity, and much more. We’re the new, new negroes, the care-free black. Some of us may dare to listen to genres that are deemed as “white music” for starters or just a little more freely as our chains come off by the day.

The nostalgia that many adults from the golden age of Hip Hop have is typically problematic in ways more than one. Many aren’t privy to, as stated, “pop techno cornball” Hip Hop, causing them to further perpetuate the policing of blackness. This unhealthy desire for “ruff & tuff” boom-bap beats and dehumanizing lyrics to resurface is usually rooted in a need for hyper-masculinity to consume Hip Hop more than it already has. It’s a need to cling to the golden age’s gender roles of baggy, oversized gun-toting clothing on black men. It’s the recollection of a time when a line was drawn between video vixens and “conscious”, “woke” women instead of the now body-positive hood femmes who own their sexuality and still turn all the way up at the protest today.

This constant proclamation of Hip Hop’s “death” is also just destructive to the many talented artists out now. These are the MCs who dance around the strong black man/woman tropes by being care-free enough to explore other genres and dabble into some of black music’s orphaned children. To accuse a generation of killing a whole culture is the same as telling us we didn’t know it/love it well enough to sustain it. This reeks of ageism and elitism that is so prevalent among many adults from the golden age and blatantly reads “I’m older, so I’m more Hip Hop than you; I’m more passionate than you” which can eventually lead to, when it already hasn’t, “I’m more in tune with blackness than you”.

I do know that not all adults of that era have this approach. Often, the millennial music supporters that I’ve come across are typically community figures, educators, or cultural, social, and youth workers. I also know that these are the ones responsible for checking their “Hip-Hop is dead” peers as a form of alliance. Mending the generational gaps that were mentioned earlier is not predominantly the youth’s fight. One of the many parts of active ageism against youth is this need for us to have an adult representative before other adults can be receptive. Ironically, it’s been effective many times with also reverting this notion. When done correctly, fighting ageism with ageism is useful along with open dialogue and can lead to adults’ trustworthiness of youth in future instances.

To be completely clear, golden age Hip Hop was nothing less than beautiful. We all love the feeling when we hear an oldie playing or a hidden gem that was underrated when it first released. The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with Rakim and Public Enemy, and I’d be lying if I said that I don’t also love golden age. It’s the point where we make it God-like and the standard unreachable. It’s when we constantly compare it to present day music to somehow publicly display the Hip Hop of 2000s and 2010s unworthiness. Hip Hop nostalgia is completely understandable. It’s our history; it’s a part of us. I’d like to think that maybe golden age adults are so engulfed in this nostalgia because they feel that they no longer have control, and this is yet another black thing taken away. But please remember: this is simply inheritance and millennials are not the enemy. As black folks, most of what we have are memories and some old feelings, nothing concrete or set in stone. Again, golden age Hip Hop and adults of the era are respected and admired. Even with all this love in our hearts, accountability must be held.

Makayla is a poet and journalist based in the tri-state area. She was a member of Urban Word NYC’s 2015 slam team for Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam and co-facilitator of Urban Word’s writing workshop BreakBeat Reporting. She has performed/been featured at venues such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Apollo Theater, New York Live Arts, Monmouth Arts Festival, New York University, The Waiting Room, and more. You can also find Makayla’s writing published in places like ForHarriet and Blavity. She loves hip-hop, all things black, a good debate, and listening to people talk about their dreams.
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#IndieSpotlight: Major D-Star Drops Off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way” Visual

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to…

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to the records you were feeling the most. That’s the case for AAHH mainstay Major D-Star; after releasing his long-awaited Trap Star  mixtape back in February, he is dropping off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way,” a song I personally described as an illustration of his immense focus on his “current hustle of choice, music.”

RECENT: Major D-Star Drops “Trap Star” Mixtape

The video, like his others, delivers on quality. Directed by Wally Woo, with a multitude of scenery interspersed around a loose storyline of himself working as a mechanic — which he playfully describes as his way of “stacking and staying out the way” in the into — it gives ample life to one of his project’s most infectious earworms. If you have yet to bump his full mixtape, go ahead and click here; either way, press play on this catchy little banger, below.

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#IndieSpotlight: Silas Luster’s “W.A.V.” Is A Slice Of Subversive Goodness

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my…

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my thoughts on, but to be honest, it was a dense listen. Not in an unapproachable way, mind you. Instead, it’s like an onion made of many, discussion worthy layers, painted atop lush soundscapes that are (at points) reminiscent of OG EL-P production from the early Def Juxx days.

RELEVANT: Getting To Know Provincetown Artist Silas Luster

 
The EP kicks off with “Sion,” which starts with his wordy flow over a head-nodding instrumental that switches up halfway through, into this bongo drum pattern over which he drops the strongest verse easily on the project; I’d love to see it live. “Diewittit” is another song that I found myself revisiting over and over. His cadence and rhyme schemes at times have this loose appeal that reminds me of the Freestyle Fellowship-esque aura that dominated college radio in the 90s.

 
He speaks a lot about his journey, and also a lot of spiritual topics — from the universe to putting meditation over medicine. It’s a lot to unpack, in a good way. You can hear the spoken word elements that seem to be the backbone of his bars — check the acapella interlude “What’s Love?” as a great example of what I mean.

The almost haunting chorus on “O.S.H.N” wasn’t necessarily jarring but did set the song apart as a black sheep of the EP. Not that it’s a bad song — it’s one of the strongest tracks — but, it’s just a different vibe that stuck out to me.

Overall, I dig this EP a lot. If you find yourself a little inundated with the sea of Lil rappers, and the endless sea of meh that often dominates the mainstream consciousness, Silas offers up a slice of subversive Hip Hop. It’s music crafted to both cathartically get things off of his chest and also get your thinking — depending on your aptitude on some of his topics, maybe even get you googling and reading shit.

He is currently touring throughout New England and the Tri-State. Check the schedule.

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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within five years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27-year-old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes, and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only five years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned, and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work, I would find a way. I go 3000% for whatever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to take over though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and maintain my brand. The empire is forming; the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? What’re the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and I are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

Do you know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything, in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ; you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. Do you feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late; bro got energy.

A few artists are rising out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now, and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzing since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists, there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shit, my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we were in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up,’ heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we were all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man, I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it, but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice are legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure, but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within five years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27-year-old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes, and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only five years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned, and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work, I would find a way. I go 3000% for whatever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to take over though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and maintain my brand. The empire is forming; the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? What’re the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and I are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

Do you know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything, in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ; you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. Do you feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late; bro got energy.

A few artists are rising out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now, and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzing since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists, there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shit, my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we were in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up,’ heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we were all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man, I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it, but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice are legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure, but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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Ghostface Killah Drops Alternate AIDS/Cancer Medicine

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