Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Generation Gap Beef
I love rap beef (no homo). I used to dedicate a post a week to classic rap battles until I realized that no one else who reads PTU could care less, but the past few years have seen a steady decline in legitimately interesting beef. This is especially true in comparison to the golden age of ignorant diss tracks that was the early part of this century. 50 cent was the human equivalent of an Internet troll, basically starting shit with whoever he wanted for a number of perceived or imaginary slights. It made for a good time and rap beef had developed into a sub genre itself, the "Street Wars" mixtapes were best sellers at your local African bootlegger. Then, times changed, people got tired of 50 and his fuckery, and less aggressive and violent rap took over. Swag was more important than street cred, and no one personified this shift in tastes better than former child actor turned emo rapper, Drake. Taking Kanye West's lead as the "you don't have to be hard to be a rapper" artist of the day, Drake has influenced a new generation of skinny jean wearing halfway gay rappers who care more about their style than their rap sheet in the hood. This isn't entirely a bad thing. Parents of inner city kids should be happy that their kids are emulating a half Jewish Canadian who names his singles after Leonardo Dicaprio movies (and not the gangster ones) rather than former crack dealers but it's also created a generation gap between the traditional hip hop fan and artist and the new school of pretty boys. One guy who's been particularly ornery is Common.
We all know Common as the actor/rapper (and he's been more of the former than latter in recent years) who performs poetry at the White House and promotes veganism and other not-at-all-thuggish activities. But apparently Drizzy's singing was too much for even a conscious thinking bohemian such as himself, and he decided to send some veiled shots at Young Money's second biggest artist on his track, "Sweet". Now he's totally gone off the deep end, naming names in his new remix of Rick Ross and Drake's "Stay Scheming" that was released this week. What's he so mad about exactly? There's a couple theories floating around that Serena Williams' big ass is in the middle of this, but the real problem here seems to be the mere existence of Drake infuriating Common. Com's been the type to start a ruckus just because other rappers music made him mad, and it seems like that's what happened again. When he did it with Ice Cube and the Westside Connection, it was a ballsy move, but also made him look like a snobby underground hiphop head hating on gangster rap, which was the dominant sound at the time. Now, in a similar fashion, Common looks like an out of touch old grandpa who's mad that the young kids are winning. This is not unprecedented in hip hop, KRS One vs Nelly and Ice T vs. Soulja Boy were unfortunate cases of old rapper shaking his fist from his porch. But it's not like Common ever represented some type of hardcore murder music and Drake is taking food off his plate by introducing a new mellow homo thug sound to the kiddies. Common is just an old dude who looks like a hater. Problem is we're all kind of haters, Lord knows us at PTU are. We just don't have the outlet Common does to spread our hate of the new soft rapper. There's no winning this battle for the guy formerly known as Common Sense. He can't help but come off as a bitter old man, lashing out at the new stars. Even if Drake is as soft as baby shit, Common can't win by just saying that. He can't win at all. Take it like a man, Grandpa. The Hoe ass niggas have taken over.