One of the issues plaguing hip-hop culture is the dismissal of new generation artists by their forefathers, an issue we’ve touched on heavily over the past year.
This isn’t a new problem, and it’s not necessarily just a hip-hop problem. In nearly every genre, the tastes of the youth are often looked upon as a bastardization by the previous generation, but within hip-hop, there are some artists studying the moves of their successful contemporaries and taking notes. Talib Kweli is one of those artists.
In a recent interview with VladTV, Talib offered praise to newer artists who are able to circumvent the more traditional methods of attaining success and believes veteran rappers could learn a thing or two from artists like Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, and Ugly God.
His comments appear at around the 3-minute mark.
Older artists, traditional artists, legacy artists have to learn from newer artists. Learn from the 21 Savages & Lil Yachtys and the Ugly Gods I guess that I just heard about just now. People get confused by thinking you gotta like the music, you gotta relate to the music….
...Music is emotional so people respond to music emotionally, and if it's not something they grew up on, or something that's not speaking their language that they relate to, they're automatically dismissive of it without understanding the movement. They dismiss the movement along with the music. And you can't dismiss the movement, because you gotta respect an artist getting their shit out there. You gotta respect it.
In a time where the majority of veteran artists are publicly bashing upcoming artists rather than supporting those that are doing the culture justice, it’s refreshing to see an artist like Talib offer up a level-headed assessment of the achievements these artists have been able to accomplish.
Talib’s right, too. The times are changing and the internet era has provided numerous new outlets through which an artist can spread their music, earn money and directly reach an audience without paying huge sums to be played on the radio.
If veteran artists can bypass their dislike of the music created by the Lil Yachtys of the world, they may just be able to extend their success and relevancy into a new era, ensuring continued influence on a changing culture.
Let’s hope some of Kweli’s peers hear his comments and wisen up. Just because you don't enjoy the music doesn't mean you can't respect the hustle.