Words by Tony Grands
The Hip Hop community loves a good debate. Whether it’s about taste in fashion, which genre is the best, or if so & so is gay or not, as long as the topic is interesting, heads will engage in banter endlessly.
This can go on for hours, days, weeks thanks to the Internet. Some topics come & go, like friends with benefits, while others hover above in perpetual orbit making a re-pass every now & then to spark up some new aspect of an old discussion.
Age is one of those satellite topics that seems to never go away for too long. The younger generation appears to have it in their frontal lob-challenged minds that one is old after age 30.
So often I see or hear statements about 30 year old men being considered “old” that I truly believe it’s an actual sentiment of the youth. & after years of defending my position — that 30 years of age is not old — I finally think I understand why so many young people think that. Well, so many young people in the Hip Hop culture anyway.
Let’s pretend for a minute that Hip Hop culture (& rap music in general) is still the musings & celebrations of an oppressed people. Music for minorities, so to speak. Minorities usually make up most of the middle-to-lower class communities, at least in modern society. (This isn’t to say only minorities belong in the culture, it’s just a set aside to take a gander at historic relevence.) In those middle-to-lower class pockets of community lie different obstacles & stressors than one would find in higher class environments. Crime, poverty, unemployment all have a better chances at rampant virility in the middle-to-lower class areas & this is a well known fact. But let’s take it a step further. The expressions bellowed from the bowels of such dwellings would likely be tales of woe. Despair. Sorrow. You know, the type of traumatic shit that becomes normal to people in those living situations. They see friends & relatives die for no reason. They witness family members carted of to prison for decades at a time. I’m convinced that kids these days don’t necessarily think that 30 is old, but rather that they themselves won’t live much longer after that, if they even get there at all. Let that simmer for a moment. It feels like young boys call me “OG” because I can grow a full beard & wear a wedding band moreso than for me being a legitimate elder, if that makes sense.
In essence, & I’m generalizing here, you have some impressionable youngster being fostered & molded in an environment that’s — more or less — in constant disarray, music that romanticizes aspects of “dying young,” a failing educational system, roundabout lack of guidance, & only God knows what other filters scrutinizing their youthful perception. He’s not calling you an “old man” as much as he is programmed to assume that his life will end early. He believes it, repeats it, & disperses that energy back out into the universe, only for it to sprinkle back earthbound in miniscule bits & pieces of self-fulfilled prophecy. Shit gets real deep, real quick, but kids don’t know, they just follow each other around & the circle of life continues. It kinda feels like this is all part of some “grand design” of sorts, but I’m not much on conspiracy theories.
So the next time some 17-year-old douchebag adamantly cracks a grandfather joke at your expense, give him a hug. He probably needs one.
On second thought, fuck that. These kids are crazy. Keep your distance lest you’d prefer to get knocked out & robbed for all of WSHH to see. Pray for him with a long handled spoon like any good, smart Christian would.
Words by Tony Grands
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