The Truth About Hip Hop Fatherhood


If you ask my father who his favorite rap group of all time is, it’ll be Whodini or EPMD. My father is 61.

My early years were filled with my dad listening to Marvin Gaye, George Clinton, Michael Jackson, Minnie Ripperton (that’s Maya Rudolph’s mom), Anita Baker, so on & so forth until I was old enough to make my own musical decisions. At that point, he bought me a cassette player, Eric B & Rakim’s Paid In Full, & my journey began.

Music played a big part in my household growing up, & as I got older, my dad got younger, & for a brief time we listened to the same music.

He took me to buy all the early classic rap albums, from License To Ill to The Great Adventures of Slick Rick… & everything in between. His favorites, though, were EPMD & Whodini. He also liked DJ Quik when Quik Is The Name started making noise outside of high school parking lots, but David Blake didn’t have the same old school appeal as the others. I bought EPMD’s Strictly Business & my dad has been a fan of theirs ever since. Of course he’s in super grandfather mode & no longer partakes in the rap music scene, but for what it’s worth, he influenced my passion for music at an early age. Even when I’d decided to take a run at rapping professionally, he’d always support what it was I was doing.

It’s hard to develop a similar musical bond with my kids, however, because the caliber of music is completely different than it was some years back.
& I’m fully aware that things change & nothing stays the same, but all change isn’t good change, like pennies.

Sometimes the more something advances, the further away from it’s true self it moves.

The difference between my music & their music is that rap had an identity & cause at one point. As cliché & preachy as it may sound, it’s true. It was more art, less commodity. Those rappers that accomplished nationwide fame had actually achieved something because there was no market & no internet. Not only that, but there was a fair share of censorship in the world without an informational superhighway creating so many side streets & alleys. Now that the Matrix is upon us in full abundance, it’s impossible to monitor everything going on in society, & that definitely includes Hip Hop music. The songs are more aggressive now, more sinister, far more angrier & intrusive than “we” were when rap music was our audio bible. With so many impressionable children (& adults, too) looking for random truths, the wrong song could be the wrong advice at the right moment.

Frequently I check to see what my kids are listening to, just in case one of these songs is teaching them how to bag some bitches or re-up on coke. My pops didn’t have to do that because LL Cool J, even though he never wore a shirt, wasn’t threatening. Neither was Slick Rick, pirate eye be damned. Perhaps this is one of those phenomenons that you blame on social revolution, whatever the hell that means, & just do the best you can to make sure it doesn’t affect you & yours like it does them & theirs.

These days, my kids are listening to Kid Cudi & NaS. Those are their go-to rappers. & that’s fine by me. Why? Because they’re non-threatening, as opposed to the dozens (if not hundreds, shout out to the internets) of bad influences waiting to corrupt the youth – in the name of making music – at a moment’s notice. I didn’t think being a Hip Hop dad would be such a hurdle-jumping contest.

Words by Tony Grands


12 comments on “The Truth About Hip Hop Fatherhood

  1. realnagan says:

    Trippy article , was thinking along these lines myself recently.My old man put me onto cats like Bob Marley, Eddy Grant, shit even George Carlin. From me he listened to some Run DMC and dug it. My old man passed when i was a lad. But still remember listeing to Tougher than Leather in the car on tape with him.

    The young uns in my fam now… hard to kinda play ’em decent hip hop. Only a few choices i can put ’em onto, without warping them lol


  2. Tony Grands says:

    Nah, he’s from Chicago. More ppl have died there this year than American soldiers in Afghanastan. Listen to what he’s talking about. Look at the grown men with guns in the background.

    Rebecca Black, no way, but the future of rap, quite possibly.


    • realnagan says:

      only referenced Rebbeca Black cuz her parents payed for a song, and then she became known. Yeah Chicago is bad from what i’ve read via the Internets.

      Can see this as the future of rap, sadly. I see the older cats in the background, i all i see is tragedy (non-Kaddafi) . I’m gonna have to hope rap becomes as cyclic as other genres of music, and acts such as PE, and other more conscious rappers become reincarnated in the younger folk


  3. markdub7 says:

    I would take Kid Cudi and NaS over Chief Keef ANYDAY… especially when considering what my kid can listen to in hip-hop. Listening NaS, he may actually learn something.


  4. eazy_ says:

    You brought back some memories with this post. From 85 – 89 the fam listened to my music, and liked it I would bring my dubbed tapes to the car. My dad even had Bigger and Deffer and Swass on cassette that he went and bought on his own. I was 14 and knew all the words to every song. My mom was jammin her Salt & Peppa. Those were the days. You are right I can’t imagine a day when me and my sons will rap together once they start picking there own music. Music has changed to much.


  5. eazy_ says:

    We stopped listening to the same music when I discovered gangster rap they didn’t like NWA


Comments, Questions, Or Criticism?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s