The Holy Trinity In Hip-Hop Is Us
Apparently every DJ that moonlights as a columnist at XXLMag.com is on crack(a). For the past couple of days, DJ "Never Heard We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2" Drama and his boss at Atlantic Records, Sickamore have been making SOHH-worthy comments about T.I., Young Jeezy and Lil' Wayne being the new incarnations of Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G. and Nas(b).
Now, there are many things wrong with these comparisons, most notably the lack of a Damon Dash-like character with his own dance(c). And I'm not going to take anything away from the King, da Snowman or Birdman Jr in the name of making my argument. I rather enjoy their music. And I enjoy the semi-legal collections of tunes they put out with the help of men such as Drama(d) and Sickamore, the latter being the young man who has brought the greatness that is Sky Balla to soccer moms everywhere(e). But—the Dame Dash thing notwithstanding—there's a glaring oversight in the metaphor(f).
One of the things that makes Big, Jay and Nas who they are is the fact that these men dropped bunkerbuster debuts that made everything in their blast radius get down or lay down. Ready to Die, Reasonable Doubt and Illmatic created watershed moments in hip-hop that many artists aspire to recapture. To ignore this part of the legend is to not get it.
Thug Motivation 101? Maybe. I'm Serious and Tha Block Is Hot? I think not.
Wayne and T.I. are artists whom we've seen grow and mature, but it's taken them a few years to get to their current status—Tha Carter and Trap Muzik (or Urban Legend or King, depending upon whom you ask). Our Gods emerged fully formed and that, children, is integral to their greatness.
It's funny to me that these young whippersnappers say that us grown hip-hoppers won't let the past go, yet they can only measure their greatness by what we've done.
And they're still getting it wrong.
It's not East vs. South, 70's vs. 80's, or whatever form of stupidity that can be squeezed into a markerting niche. You can't step in the same river twice. Mark your own achievements. The new you can't be the old us. I, for one, feel that the great feats accomplished by this new generation of artists are worthy in their own right(g). It's like Thanksgiving. Everybody eats.
What's on your plate?
(a) If there are going to be drugs circulated around this batch, I want in.
(b) Which, I gather, makes Game the new 2Pac.
(c) Seriously, I've seen no one doing "The Coach" or that flapping thing that Baby does with his hands.
(d) Dedication 2, now at a RabbitShare outlet near you.
(f) We can even make believe that the whole "Who's the best emcee?" argument isn't central to the theme.
(g) Didn't "Laffy Taffy" shatter a digital download record or something?