I grew up in the 1980’s, which was, in my humble opinion, The Golden Age of Hip-Hop. Rap music was alive back then. Whodini, The Fatboys, Salt-N-Pepa, Kurtis Blow, UTFO, The Beastie Boys, Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Kool Moe Dee, U.T.F.O., and so many other acts, were making classics. All lead by the true Kings:
Most of the kids in my Junior High School wanted to be like those guys. And a lot of us tried to rap, and would freestyle and battle during recess and lunch. It was fun. And I’ll never forget the impact that the movie “Krush Groove” had on all of us, especially when Ladies Love Cool James appeared onscreen.
When LL appeared on the scene, it was like a tornado in a glass house. He was the man. I think part of the reason why he had such a huge impact on all of us was because of his age. Run-DMC, Whodini, and the others were great, but they were all adults. LL was a few years older, but still a teenager. So he was one of us. We could identify with him, even if weren’t from New York like he was.
Anyway, I stuck with rap through the years, even as things changed, and the pro-Black socially conscious rhymes of Public Enemy and X-Clan were replaced by the celebration of guns & drugs by Easy E & N.W.A. As the rap rivarlies between LL & Kool Moe Dee, to see whom was a better rapper, got replaced by bitter blood-feuds between the whole East & West Coasts, ending in the still-unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur & Notorious B.I.G. But, eventually, I lost interest.
I don’t listen to much rap music these days. I still hear a good song here and there, but otherwise I fear I’ve turned into one of those old folks that I used to dismiss when I was a kid, complaining about how everything was better back in “my day.”
One rapper who’s gained a lot of notoriety, good & bad, in the past year, has been southern rapper SOULJA BOY
I won’t get into much detail about him, and what the controversy is, because I can only assume that if you (yes YOU) are bothering to read this, after seeing the title of this blog, then you already know about him, and probably have your own opinion. And I’ll admit to having previously been on the Hater side. Well, actually, I never paid all that much attention to him. I never cared for Southern rappers in general. I can’t stand Lil Wayne or Lil Jon, or any of those acts. And when I first heard about Soulja Boy’s song with the phrase “Superman dat Ho” I just wrote him off.
Then there was his little FEUD WITH ICE T that got people talking last year.
Now, Ice T is also one of my all-time favorites. I remember him in “Breakin,” and his theme to “Colors.” And I love the way he’s transitioned into a successful actor. But I don’t agree with him on this.
I happened to catch a Soulja Boy track a week or so ago, “Kiss Me Through The Phone,” and I thought to myself: This isn’t half-bad. Nope, nothing deep or innovative, but it’s a catchy little song. Us old folks like to think that everything was so deep in our day, but we had our Kid N Play‘s, Kriss Kross’, Young M.C.’s, back then too. Heck, it’s not like any of The Fat Boys were lyrical geniuses, let’s be real.
So I looked Soulja Boy up online and read about him. The kid just turned 18 six months ago. He produced his own music, put it out online, got some interest, and got signed to a record deal. Good for him! Now he’s trying to branch out with animated cartoons, and merchandise. And you know what? I want a pair of his sneakers!
I’d love to wear those, but they don’t seem to come in my size. 15 (I got big ol’ feet). What really sucks is that he has shoes in a bunch of other colors, white, green, red, blue, even PINK, and they all go up to 15, but for some reason the black sneakers only go up to 14! And that’s the only color I want. So I guess I’ll have to keep checking back until it changes.
But my point is, he’s a young kid, living his dream, doing his thing. So I’m not hatin’. Heck, I’m jealous of him. I wish that were me. I’ve looked up some of his other songs, and most of them still don’t appeal to me. So I can’t call myself a “fan” of his music, but I’m not going to criticize him. I hope he continues to be successful, and finds some way to keep it going, keeps his head on straight, and doesn’t crash and burn. It’s certainly not easy these days for anybody, but especially rappers, to maintain success & longevity in the music business, so he’s got his work cut out for him. Good luck Soulja Boy. Tell ’em!