Whenever a veteran rapper like Roc Marciano, who is best known for his East Coast brand of lyrical hip-hop, offers up commentary about a new generation hip-hop artist like Future of Young Thug, the underlying theme is usually rooted in harsh criticism.
Sure, Wyclef once said Young Thug reminds him of a "modern Tupac," Nas is on record stating that Future is "pushing flows forward," and Chuck D stands with "unintelligible music," but by and large, when either name is mentioned, it's often followed by remarks that make for a perfect negative headline.
In a new interview with Complex, Marciano, who is fresh off the release of his new album Rosebudd’s Revenge, was asked by Angel Diaz about his fandom of both Future and Thugger.
His response may surprise you.
When I first heard Thug, I said to myself: "This nigga is a genius." Future too. They have songs I love.
According to Marciano, he's a big fan of Future's "No Charge," as well as Thug's "Strange Things" and "Imma Ride" with Rich Gang.
Would I personally label any of those songs as "genius" material or the work of a "genius"? Absolutely not. But far be it from me to criticize Marciano, or any artist or fan, for the use of such a subjective term.
While ageism is a topic we've covered again, and again, and again these past six months—a topic that will continue to be an issue in hip-hop just as it is in the real world—it's incumbent on the old guard to lead the way by co-signing the younger talent they believe in and openly acknowledging their personal fandom. For this reason and this reason alone, Marciano's comments are both refreshing and encouraging.
Of course, it's a two-way street. Younger artists also need to show respect for their rap elders and be unafraid of criticism—this is the reason why Migos believe they need to prove to the "older guys" they can really spit—but instead of waiting for all the old rappers to just die off, maybe some common ground isn't that far away.
By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.