Words by Tony Grands
Hip Hop legend Slick Rick performed at a New York Knicks Vs Brooklyn Nets game last week (Nov. 26) & surprisingly, got booed mid-performance.The video shows the veteran MC struggling to keep up with the background music & the prerecorded vocals as the packed arena begins to boo, as if he’s not a legend in the rap game. My initial thoughts were that the audience is full of underage, d-bag hipsters who don’t know the first thing about Hip Hop’s organic roots. But my second thought was that – for what it’s worth – Slick Rick hasn’t done anything notable in awhile. It makes total sense that the current crop of listeners, fan(atic)s, & haters wouldn’t have a general knowledge of who he is.
Rap music comes & goes so quickly that it’s kind of difficult to keep up with everybody, all of the time. & with the requisite rule of “15 minutes per person,” there are a lot of rap cats – young & old – who get buried underneath the continual tidal wave of music that surges daily.
I asked my kids if they knew who Slick Rick was, & they all said, confidently, “No.” Yet, when I played “Children’s Story” & “Hey Young World” not only did they know the melodies to both songs, but even some of the lyrics. Ironically, Rick (no Ross) attempted to perform both cuts to no avail. Had the songs just played, minus the live show, chances are that the audience would have recognized the timeless classics for the gems that they are. But with the lackluster audio/visual team in the arena, Rick may as well have been a newcomer, stumbling & fumbling over words that he couldn’t match with the beat. That same day,
Black Twitter was a flutter with talk of Jay-Z being “overrated” as a rapper. I didn’t even bother to investigate any further than the tweets that were tossed into my timeline, but from what I gathered, the young cats seem to think that any success that isn’t immediate is less credible. That actually falls in line with the live fast, die young ideology that’s taken urban young America by storm.
Other genres don’t slam the door behind the person who opens it like rap music does. It seems like you’re only as good as the last beef you had on twitter, win or lose. & God forbid you don’t have any enemies or haters, because without them, apparently you wouldn’t be motivated.
Around the time these things took place, Michael “Air” Jordan was reportedly banned from a country club in Florida for not conforming to the dress code. Michael Jordan is one of the most recognizable, powerful negroes in present-day western civilization. If they didn’t cut him a break, imagine what’s out there waiting on your (future) kids some day. Just saying.
Words by Tony Grands