Still Not Listening to "They"


     “They” said this shit would be dead in no time flat.  NO one wanted to hear that shit.
That was in the mid to late 1970s.  I would be born only a couple of short years later in 1979.  That said, the argument can be made that we literally grew up with you.
     “That ain’t real music, anybody can write some damn nursery rhymes,” they said while continuing to NOT write anything – ANYTHING – themselves.  The irony of the repetition of their own parents’ detraction from what they did in their own youth, and their parents before them.  Bearing that similarity, it stands to reason that they would know how this story would continue, if not how it would (or not) end .
Hip Hop…
     At 40 years old, I have become accustomed to being told for 30something years that I was wasting my time liking – nay, loving – it.  In the 80s, to me it was people who looked like me, spoke like me and dressed like I wished I could afford to.  It spoke to interests that I had and evolved with me as I grew to like new things.  It, along with basketball, was a relatable topic in my world.
     The elders and OGs around me, now in their late 50s and older, still parrot to us their favorite line that “that shit ain't gonna last,” and now the applicable irony is that they have been saying that for better than 40 years while the people they suggested that we “grow up” and listening to are beginning to either die or accept what the landscape has become.
“Get down or lay down,” indeed.
           “I don’t see what y’all even see in that shit!”
Because you couldn’t be bothered to try.  Just last year, I was just as excited to see the great Herbie Hancock and ALMOST get close enough to shake his hand as I was to shoot the shit with my favorite rapper outside of a taco truck an hour before his show.  Being open to an opposing – even if not opposing – view is a strong basis for a working understanding.
     A day in the life could see any number of things come through my headphones, but a guarantee is that a representative half will be hip hop.  I try to take it all in, even if only to assess what I just can’t feel about something.  That’s what you do when you feel a way about something, you try.
The landscape changes, and not all of it can be called “growth,” and a new crop and new generation may not be speaking to what I am or even what I was but they too are owed the right to exist just as my generation did.  Some kid out there somewhere who sees someone who talks like them, about things that interests them while looking like they do or want to deserves to have that.  What kind of hypocrite would I be to take up my soapbox and deny them that?
           “What kinda job you think you gon’ get in sneakers and jeans every day?”
Thanks for asking, I make more than the median household income in my county before my wife’s income is even considered.  Every day I walk out the house, my t-shirt matches my sneakers and my wristwatch matches my necklace.  In the interceding years, the clothes have gotten bigger and now smaller and the sneakers have come and gone and then come back, but the grand gist of it has not changed.  I appreciate your concern, but methinks I have that base well-covered, thanks.
     In the 8 years since I have fully picked back up my writing, with breaks for life to do life shit notwithstanding, my own creativity has been fueled by what was funneled into my ears from my headphones.  Peruse the last several hundred posts here to check me on how that makes you feel.

     It has to be the dickest of dick moves to deny or question anyone’s love of anything not doing them – or especially you – any physical, emotional or psychological harm.  Hip hop and its elements are what I grew up with and on, and insomuch as I hate to see them abused, misused or abandoned, they are still what I know.

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