“Analyze This”- Who Loves the Kids?

The other day, one of my friends made a confession. She told me that she just can’t get into Hip Hop the way she used to. She doesn’t like the artists she used to listen to as a teenager any more. She asked me if I felt the same way…

Of course, as a Hip Hop junkie, I was quick to deny any feelings of betrayal to the genre that I grew up on. I still listen to 8Ball & MJG, E-40, Quik, Bun B, Nas and the rest. But the truth is, even as typed my heated e-mail response to her…I started thinking.

I can’t remember the last time I went an entire day without having at least one music-related discussion. Whether I’m talking to one of my homeboys about the total irrelevance of the Chingy and Nelly beef, Kanye’s tempter tantrum at the American Music Awards or defending Ras Kass as the most slept on artist, my passion about the subject is undeniable.

But…now as I’ve gotten older and more experienced and my thoughts and ideas have developed, I’ve found that there are certain artists and subjects that I can no longer tolerate.

That led me to this disturbing question: How will I defend my favorite artists to my future kids?

If you think about how our parents are always talking about the classics- the sounds of Redding, Rufus & Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes and others it makes you wonder what we’ll be telling our kids when the shoe is on the other foot.

By the time they become teenagers Jay-Z, T.I. and Devin will be considered old school. But I really doubt that I’ll be breaking out a copy of The Dude or Trap Muzik and introducing it to my 7-year-old as classic material. As misogynistic, materialistic and obscene as our music has become I’d honestly be reluctant to introduce it to any child.

Not that I’m going all C. Delores Tucker or anything, but some of these rap kats need to chill out because the sad truth is, I’ll probably never feel comfortable letting my kids listen to the some of the stuff I grew up on. And as an avid Hip Hop lover, I still haven’t decided how I feel about that.

However, I came to one inevitable conclusion while listening to a “hip hop” radio station the other day: as long as Hip Hop continues generating billions of dollars, rappers are never going to stop with the bullshit lyrics. I always thought that Hip Hop was supposed to stretch beyond music and be a defining cultural characteristic a voice for the disenfranchised. But if it can’t comfortably include children into the equation—aka our future—is it failing? I still haven’t come up with an answer. Or maybe, I’m just afraid to.