Wow. This is a deep article, and one that should be read by anyone who professes to love hip hop.
Courtesy of The Root:
Hip-hop is deep in its third decade of existence. It spans generations. But to suggest that it's grown up in this time is to assume a maturing that hasn't exactly happened. Sure, a small handful of artists have managed to mature creatively, (Scarface immediately leaps to mind) but most rap artists who are heralded as "mature" are simply miming growth.
"Grown man" rappers like Jay-Z or Common are only mature in the absence of immaturity. They are acclaimed for what they don't rap about—namely drugs and violence (the new "off that" mentality only reinforces the culture's widening generational rift). They still make superficial music; they've just swapped out street signifiers for more "respectable" but equally vapid pursuits—business, high fashion, etc.
Jay-Z brags endlessly about texts from President Barack Obama, but he never discusses the content of said messages, let alone seriously consider a health care plan. Jay is Tom Hanks in Big, flopping around awkwardly in a new suit. And the grand irony is that these gestures are mostly wasted. Hip-hop is and forever will be youth music, regardless of how many aging rappers do or do not end up on Oprah's couch. The only people who expect maturity from it are outsiders, those who were never involved in the first place, or those who have grown so far from hip-hop that they no longer need it.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: