Why Hip Hop needs 80 year-old rappers

shutterstock_148999271Music is art; A language of the soul, a way for one to articulate their being into song. Art is expression of one’s pain, joy, ideas, knowledge or anything else the artist wishes to communicate and share with an audience.

Looking into what I currently have on rotation and what I used to listen to a decade ago, there has been a decline of hip hop on my playlists with other genres becoming more dominant. So the question then is if hip hop is a phase we outgrow as we get older? A change in preference?  Content which was appealing during my teenage years is not appealing anymore. Songs with lyrics such as “I just wanna fuuuuu*k you”
No touching and rubbing girl, you got a husband who loves you… Don’t need you all in mine”
rarely make it to the playlist unless I am in a nostalgic mood .I realised how much misogyny and violence were not abundant anymore.  Peers have also gone through changes; They are family men and are more conscious of what they expose their children to.

I find myself listening to hip hop that I relate to that addresses my everyday issues and motivates me. I find myself resonating with lyrics about challenges our communities face, debt, waking up every day to go to that job you dread, raising children, unemployment and relationships. With fear of being labelled melancholy, I’ll put this out there; I listen to love songs and club bangers too.

Most of the artists that actually cover such topics in their music are veterans whom have gone through such experiences. The mainstream caters for a certain age group, so who will feed the senior citizens? (See what I did there?) In there next 30 years life will have changed drastically. I might be having grandchildren, regrets about things I didn’t do in my youth, dealing with death of family members and…aha, erectile dysfunction!

To some of us hip hop has been more than just a beat and lyrics, it has been a best friend, brother, father, a guru, a mentor, an educator and most importantly a temple of solace. As my life changes, I find myself being unable to relate with the majority of artists. Isn’t there a need for content that feeds the older generation? Isn’t there a market for those who require honest content about divorce, regrets and not finding your woman attractive anymore once the D-cups start looking like dry used teabags?  Which hip hop artists will we relate to when we go through those experiences?

Hip hop is broad; a library with a variety of books to read – but is there any hip hop for the senior citizens we are inevitably becoming? Will there still be hip hop I relate to when I am in my 70s or should I just start stacking soul and jazz records and get ready to live a life without the music I so much love ?­­

Written by: Tshililo Lee Makhadi


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