As I write these words, I am perusing the internet looking at the goings on of the most recent rap battle between Meek Mill and Drake. Meek finally responded, y’all! Still, Drake seems to be in the lead, even though he has ghost writer allegations being thrown at him left and right. Even Funkmaster Flex jumped into the beef to help Meek out. Rumor has it, Jay Z has been in the background all along, playing the puppet master. Who knows?
One thing I know for sure…I don’t want anyone to grow up to be rappers in my family.
I know: Hip-Hop is a means by which disenfranchised people – particularly people of color – are able to level the lopsided playing field of capitalism. It also gives a voice to those that were otherwise voiceless. Well, I have news for you. We have Twitter for our “voice” and we have considerably more opportunities than back in the old days.
Kids still see rap as some glamorous life, despite the endless horror stories.
I know I wasn’t the most mature dude in my 20’s but your average rapper is 30 going on 13. I mean, seriously. These dudes are beefing’ because one person didn’t tweet about the other’s album, from what I have been told. In my era (what OG’s say), that would have been the last thing somebody battled over. I mean, think about LL Cool J/Canibus or Common/Ice Cube or the biggest Biggie/Pac.
Now those were beefs that were so heated Minister Farrakhan was often on speed dial to end them. They may have been beefin’ over “coasts” and getting shot, but it wasn’t this overly emo-gossipy pettiness.
Moms, your kid (most likely son) is likely to gravitate to rappers. They get attention. Steer them “thataway” please – even if you’re poor. I mentor a couple of kids. One of them is on genius level and very nerdy. The other is uber cool in a way that suggests he should not even be in school. The last one is deep into sports. Guess which one overly-likes Hip-Hop? Now, I am obviously not against rap, but I have to say that if your kid wants to be a rapper, send him to me and I will gladly break down the stats and success rates of your average rapper. Furthermore, I will even tell them how hard the successful rappers do work to maintain such heights. “God I work hard, please don’t envy me,” Jay Z famously rapped.
Most rappers are “struggle rappers” – they work hard at their craft but don’t have the commiserate success…or talent. Other rappers simply go through several extended levels of childhood these days, even if they are successful. So, you might have a 40-year-old man acting like he’s 25 these days. Also, social media is hard on rappers. Meek Mill is only 28, but the memes are so brutal, he’s going to age rapidly in this process of beefing with Drake. He maybe making lots of money, but his self-esteem is bound to take a hit. Poor, grown man.
I’m at the place now where I want to see more kids invest in being engineers, doctors, filmmakers, carpenters, farmers, architects and other nation building professions. Some parents may see that as wishful thinking, but that’s only because they limit their minds and also their kids. “Well, Johnny always could sing and dance better than the rest,” some say. Well, this skill set is learned, just like Indian kids are taught to be doctors at a young age. Asian kids are also told they are extremely intelligent at birth and reared accordingly. Our kids can do that too if we guide them.
Meek and Drake sure are entertaining.
I love it, because its a part of a culture that I hold dear. However, as an OG, I also wish they would step it up and lead again. Push kids back to school. Tell them the truth and give them survival skills. Rappers have never been the most mature lot, but anytime a rap group’s mantra is “Wu Tang is for the children,” we know where they stand in the grand scheme. That is what Hip-Hop used to do. We simply must re-evaluate what is considered cool and raise the expectations for our kids. In this way, rap music is still a reflection of what is going on in our own homes. We just have to change who is looking into the mirror.