I’ve finally accepted that I’m an old man.
I guess I’m not that old, and not in the “old guy still clinging desperately to his youth” stage of my life, but I’m your standard Gen X cat. I’ve never tried to be a hipster and I’m fully content in my age bracket.
That said, I’ve finally accepted that I’m an old man and that hip-hop in its current state is for kids. It’s no longer designed to appeal to me and it no longer does.
Sure, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, as I’ll always love hip-hop and I’ll always listen to it. It’ll always be a part of my life, but there’s nothing that’s really made to cater to people of my ilk. I think that it’s really sad because there’s a growing market for adult-contemporary hip-hop.
When I was looking back on the decade for my upcoming best-of column, it struck me how much I really enjoyed De La Soul’s The Grind Date. It was an album by adults, for adults. It was a hip-hop album about life and maturity and it was created by people who grew up in the game. That album should be looked at as the blueprint for my vision of adult-contemporary hip-hop. Sure the braggadocio was there, as it’ll always be present as long as there are emcees, but there was also a level of realness and responsibility that was refreshing.
Because of my basic love for hip-hop, I enjoyed both Wale and Kid Cudi’s debuts; they were really good albums and strong opening statements. And I’ll always love a good spitter like Joe Budden or Jadakiss. But the actual sound of hip-hop right now just isn’t palatable to my ears. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, I picked up Drake’s debut EP and it wasn’t for me. It sounded too sterile and synthetic. It was like a TV dinner when what I really wanted and had hoped for was a home-cooked meal. But home-cooked meals, it seems, are getting harder and harder to come by these days.
And I really don’t know what the solution is. I’d like to believe that if the music industry wasn’t in such a free fall that they’d explore the notion of a graying hip-hop audience. But by that same token, with the industry in such horrible shape, why wouldn’t record labels try it on for size in a desperate effort to see what actually sticks? Given the shape of the industry, why aren’t more imaginative things being tried?
Like I said, I’ll always keep my ear to the streets, but I’m really looking for substance. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to tolerate any more of the “Money, Cash, Hoes” mentality.
At least I’ll always have The Grind Date and I should be happy to have that.
God, that’s sort of a depressing thought.
Tags: De La Soul, Drake, Jadakiss, Joe Budden, Wale