1st Childhood

[Disclaimer: This is not, I repeat, THIS IS NOT a "I Hate Soulja Boy" post. I don't think he is "killing Hip Hop." Maybe a couple brain cells, but not Hip Hop.]

This had been on my mind for months, but I was weary about posting it. Mainly because I didn’t really feel like throwing in my two cents with the millions of penny thoughts that bloggers and commenters had already left on Soulja Boy. But here goes…

A couple of months ago I had the privilege of being in the studio with one of our more intelligent rappers and someone who many consider to be a legendary producer (no name dropping here). There were a couple other guys in the room and the intellegent rapper got in an music arguement with one of the other guys. The guy said he felt that people were being too harsh on 17-year old Soulja Boy and his skills (or lack thereof), that he deserves all the shine he is getting because he put in work on the internet and sparked a movement by himself. He felt that he shouldn’t be criticized for the kind of music he makes because he is “just a kid.”

The intelligent rapper agreed that Soulja Boy deserved the shine, but felt that what he had was “not a movement, its a moment.” He also stressed that Soulja Boy should not be given a pass because of his youth.

Seeing my man Gooch’s post on Soulja Boy’s production prowess and future and the comments that followed rekindled the thoughts that I had after watching that arguement between the intelligent rapper and guy in the studio.

Really, why do people enable Soulja Boy’s music because of his age? Granted, when I was 17, I wasn’t discussing world religion, politics or “deep shit” as they say. I wasn’t listening to too much “message music” either. Much like Soulja Boy, I was dancing and shit too. In Decatur and pretty much the entire Atlanta area we used to bounce, tick and ragtop all the got damn time. In the club, skating rink, at the park, hell some of us would crank that shit up in the middle of the school hallway sometimes. But of course…it was different back then. Mainly because we could balance the shit out with other music.

Plus, even though we might have been teenagers, people still held us to a certain standard. Like, if we did something we weren’t supposed to or acted like a buffoon, we didn’t get enabled with “oh, he just a kid, he only 17.” Last time I checked, 17-years old ain’t exactly childhood. By that time you’ve had your license for a year and you are one year away from deciding if you want to go to school or go to war.

How does this relate to the Soulja Boy cat, simple. I keep hearing people say “aw, leave that little nigga alone, he is for the kids.” What kids? When I was 17, we didn’t have that kind of music really. The closest thing to it (in theory, not quality) might have been some shit we danced (with girls) to like A-Town Players, Kizzy Rock, Kilo and even Soulja Boy’s producer Mr. Collipark formerly known as DJ Smurf. But still, as much as we danced to it, they (especially ATP and Kilo) were still rapping.

When I was coming up, “kiddie rap” consisted of Kris Kross. But hell, by the time they turned 17 they were on some other shit. As for Illegal and Da Youngstas, there wasn’t much young about their music. Shied, they were going hard before they even hit 17. Hell, even though T.I. was writing most of his lyrics at the time, even Bow Wow wasn’t sounding ignorant when got to be 16-17 years old.

Then I start thinking about Mobb Deep. They were “only 19” when they blew up, but they were 17 when they first came out. I’m not saying I’m co-signing Mobb’s ultra-violent visuals over Soulja Boy’s “innocent” skeetings and shootings. But I am co-signing on their ability to put words and paragraphs together in a clever and compelling manner, all while in their teens.

And oh, how could I forget Mac Mall dropping what many consider to be the dopest CD by an under-18 rapper ever, Illegal Business?.

So, after mentioning all of those teenaged acts, I find it difficult as to why people simply say “aw, Soulja Boy only 17, he for the kids.” If he is “for the kids,” man, that’s some scary shit. You know, every time a debate about rap lyrics come up, defensive rappers love to use the “Hip Hop is a reflection of society” argument. If Soulja Boy is for the kids, what does that reflect? When I hear songs like “Yaaaaah” and “Report Card,” they don’t make me mad, they actually worry me. If that shit is the reflection of what’s going on with 17-year olds, maaaaaaan, we’re in trouble.

Don’t get me wrong, I volunteer and talk to kids pretty often, and not all of them are bad and dumb. Alot of them are just confused as hell. I probably would be too if I was young and growing up in the Information Overload Age. The notion that younger kids “don’t know real Hip Hop” is true to a degree. From talking to them, I don’t think alot of them are really into Hip Hop all that much to begin with. They are more so into information, and Hip Hop and rap music (along with random smut, violence and useless data) just so happens to take up a hefty chunk of the information being disseminated.

Like I said before, this is not a Soulja Boy bashing. I’m usually too busy to pay stuff like this attention, thus, like so many others, I simply brushed it off as “kiddie music.” But after getting bombarded with his nearly unavoidable music and hearing buddy joyfully rapping about getting F’s and settling for some D’s, it kinda concerned me ya’know? Yeah, its meant to be funny, but I can’t help but to think its having more than just a comedic effect.

When did being young start equating to being dumb? Immature, yeah. Naive, ok. But dumb? Damn, when did that happen? Is the education system in this country that screwed up?

When Jay said “30 is the new 20″ did that mean that 10 years got taken off for everybody? Is 17 the new 7?

  • mbc

    tell it man tell it………

    • k lang

      i totally agree with you, the boys lyrics is garbage. he’s smart just not book smart. he cornered the internet by trickin u into listenin to his songs on file sharing sites, as well havin the sense to do his own production, so he got somewhat of a brain. On the flip side he didnt think that we wasnt gonna figure out what Superman dat Hoe means(urbandictionary.com). But heres one thing thats wrong with the comparisons, you cannot compare him to Mobb Deep or Lil Bow Wow because its lke apples and oranges. Soulja Boy is a different kind of rapper. We still tryin to figure out what kind it is…but all of us knows there are different sects in Rap or Hip Hop. Thats kinda like comparing Eminem to Ludacris, or Jay-Z to E-40. U get my point? Sometimes not being booksmart works out for rappers. I bet if you averaged the gpa’s of top rappers u probably wouldnt get a 2.5.

  • http://ifuxwitit.blogspot.com TMB

    Dammit,now I have this old ass Kilo song stuck in my head… thanks a lot man.

    Anyway — what are you doing listening to and analyzing Soulja Boy? Really now?

  • http://hiphoponmymind.blogspot.com/ DJ Daddy Mack

    [Disclaimer: This is not, I repeat, THIS IS NOT a “I Hate Soulja Boy” post. I don’t think he is “killing Hip Hop.” Maybe a couple brain cells, but not Hip Hop.]

    He is killing some brain cells.

    When I hear songs like “Yaaaaah” and “Report Card,” they don’t make me mad, they actually worry me. If that shit is the reflection of what’s going on with 17-year olds, maaaaaaan, we’re in trouble.

    He is killing the young minds. The grown ups have failed them too. You would not believe the shit I heard kids are doing these days. SMFH.

    When Jay said “30 is the new 20″ did that mean that 10 years got taken off for everybody? Is 17 the new 7?

    What about Wayne and killa? lol

  • john

    ” Soulja Boy’s ‘innocent’ skeetings and shootings”
    hahahahaha

  • http://imdb.com Jay

    word

  • BIG O

    being for the kids and being a kid are 2 different things.hell half of them niggas on kid shows like nick cannon are damn near 30.but i am 21 and kind of stuck in between.i was lucky enough to get into hip hop right around the rawkus era so know great hip hop(talib kweli,big l,pharoe monch).but i also see my pers and kids younger than me who couldnt give a fuck.half of it is because no one taught them to.like you sai iits not about the music no more its bout the information.sad but it is true.

  • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

    “When did being young start equating to being dumb? Immature, yeah. Naive, ok. But dumb? Damn, when did that happen? Is the education system in this country that screwed up?”

    When did making dumb music start equating to being dumb? Make no mistake, Soulja’s a smart kid.

    • http://trentontakes.blogspot.com bding7

      fair point, he took advantage of what you call the “new media.” however, i think the question is how much responsibility soulja boy has to the so-called essence of hip hop and to people his age, especially considering in some parts of the country this demographic is struggling mightily. i don’t think he owes anything to either/any group, though he should be aware of his impact.

      “But of course…it was different back then.”

      thanks to the existence of melvyn flynt era NORE during my adolescence, i beg to differ, but the “movement/moment” thing is so true in this case.

  • P-Matik

    “They are more so into information, and Hip Hop and rap music (along with random smut, violence and useless data) just so happens to take up a hefty chunk of the information being disseminated.”

    Yeah, that’s why kids these days are more into “playing A&R” (like 9th Wonder said) and talking about record sales than they are discussing lyrics.

    I’m convinced that the No Child Left Behind program has a lot to do with kids being dumbed down too.

  • http://bigranworld.com bigranworld.com

    yo MG

    Theres no excuse for the record “Booty Meat” by soulja boy to have been recorded, mixed and included on anyone’s project. This sh** has gotten ridiculous!

    Oh yeah. Thank you for the trip down memory lane to the great Mac Mall ‘Illegal Business’ album. I couldn’t take ‘Sic Wit This’ or ‘My Opinion’ off of repeat for the longest.

  • JB

    people always defend soulja boy by launching into this whole long theory about how he jump-started his own marketing campaign on his own, etc. etc. so he must me intelligent..(one of my friends handles his marketing and this is one of his comments). can i offer a resounding, who gives a shit?

    nobody is saying soulja boy is dumb– but he makes dumb music, and that’s just as bad, maybe even worse. half of these rap dudes with retarded ass music are actually smart, concerned and sometimes educated people. once again, that don’t mean shit if you make retarded ass music. actually, it only makes you an asshole.

    anyways…

    good post.

  • boner jams 03

    that shit is no excuse….big boi and 3000 were 18 when they dropped southernplayalistic….snoop was 19 when he dropped doggystyle…

  • Moniker

    Honestly, why the fuck do you guys care what music people listen too. If you don’t want to listen to Soulja Boy, then goddamn buy another CD. I’m not a personal fan of him, but shit other people love him. So if anything, don’t blame him, blame everyone that loves him. He’s catering to an audience. I bought the new Ghost CD and I dig it, but I know my friends don’t. To each their fucking own.

    If you wanna make a change in what’s heard, buy a fucking CD. I know all of you be out here bootleggin and shit like that. Pony that shit up and buy a CD, that’s the only way real change will happen.

    Christ, you guys act like all you have in your life is rap music (excuse me hip-hop). As Jay-Z says:

    “IT’S JUST ENTERTAINMENT”

    • Detroit P

      When did niggas start gettin mad when wack niggas get dissed..what part of the game is that?..Its always gonna be somebody who likes somethin even if its stupid..that doesnt mean that its good..it just means that people are interested in it for a second..Soulja Boy=Pokemon cards..passing fad

  • Were Read 2 Def

    When I was 17, Wu-Tang Forever jus dropped. Dat shyt came back wit a comet. Big difference than shyt now a days. Shyt was so lyrical back then. Im jus stuck in da 90s n theres nuthin wrong wit dat. Da 90s was da golden age of hip hop. I wish hip hop could go back 2 dat. There r sum cats dat still make good hip hop. Da only problem wit dat is da fact dat they dont sell records (which isnt a problem 2 me). But 2 these young fans these days think rappers gotta sell a bunch or they aint shyt. WRONG. Its all bout da art. Ghostface sold 35,000, but his album is ILL. Like GZA said, “Aim 4 da hearts, n not da charts.” So true.

  • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

    YO SON I THINK GZA WAS LIKE SEVEN WHEN “LIQUID SWORDS” DROPPED. RAKIM WROTE THE FIRST VERSE TO “PAID IN FULL” IN THE WOMB. COMMON FIRST CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR “I USED TO LOVE HER”AS A PRECONCEPTION SPERM SWIMMING IN HIS DADDY’S NUTS.

  • Pingback: Kid Rock » 1st Childhood

  • Fire

    “When did being young start equating to being dumb? Immature, yeah. Naive, ok. But dumb? Damn, when did that happen? Is the education system in this country that screwed up?

    When Jay said “30 is the new 20″ did that mean that 10 years got taken off for everybody? Is 17 the new 7?”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I’m 18 and a huge hip hop fan (of all styles) and I’ve been wandering about these questions for the longest time. I often call myself a self hating teenager because it seems like some people in my generation are so idiotic a lot of the time and I don’t act like that. People have always said I’ve acted older anyway.

    Soulja Boy’s music definitely isn’t reflecting what’s going on with 17 year olds, it’s more so the preteens and young teens that like his bullshit. I’m not knocking his hustle, but he does take wack to a higher level. Let the dumb ones listen to him.

  • royalty

    yahhh! trick yahhh!

    lol.

    if he wants to sound like a idiot… let him sound like one. im not about to listen to him though….

  • Cali-Atlien

    Keep in mind that Special Ed was considered to be one greatest new lyricists when he first came out & he was only 15.

    • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

      Little known fact: “I Got It Made” was originally written as a masters in economics thesis at Dartmouth.

  • gerard

    being 18 living in a major college town in the deeeeep south (Tuscaloosa), soulja boy is or was truly the shit down here. i don’t bash him cause : A.)fine ass coeds tend to like his shit, B.) i respect his hustle(or myface pimpin or whatever the hell it is) C.) no one else except my friends back in Birmingham would care or listen to any other artist i would suggest instead of Soulja Boy D.) I really don’t give a shit anyway

  • Casper

    Soulja Boy is from a backwood swamp marsh in the southern woodlands. ‘Course he is slow; look at his enviroment

    Y’all should post that new GZA video

  • these posts are racist

    The quality of Soulja Boy’s music is purely subjective and cannot be judged, period.

    His success however is quantifiable. So while I personally, do not like his music, I give him mad respect for his hustle.

    I don’t think you or anyone else has the right to project an objective standard of what quality music is or is not…and that has nothing to do with age, but rather, taste in music – which is….purely subjective.

    • Around and Around

      I disagree with that fuck his hustle, I agree more with what Nas said when it comes to rap:

      “You want this paper, be a hustler
      You a hustler, you ain’t a rapper
      Get your paper man
      You knoww hatI’m sayin, but this rap shit is real Bitch”

  • daz_oc

    Soulja boy tell’em!!!!!

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot Incilin

    Great post. Thank you.

  • http://xxlmag.com Kane Corleone

    What I wanna know is when did a rappers music become a source of failure for todays youth?Please answer cuz man if naysay or hate was a fragrance it should be called XXLMAG.COM-we’ll have u smelling like pure-d-HATRED

  • TheUltimate

    Everything went downhill after the Golden Era of hip hop.

  • http://www.writersblockmedia.net R.E.

    Great post homie.

  • LOL

    MUSIC IS ENTERTAINMENT.

    theres not need to write damn essays about this stuff.

    Art is allowed to be fun, stupid, thoughtful, meaningful and have a message.

    people are allowed to do whatever they want with their art no matte rtheir age.

    if he wants to put a message in his music its up to him

    if he wants it to be fun and silly he can be too.

    the problem people have is that ITS POPULAR. and thats not HIS PROBLEM. its your problem.

    11 year olds love soulja boy. U cant blame him becase he makes fun music.

    Its not a socio-economic reflection on black kids or society.

    ITS ENTERTAINMENT.

    chillax.

  • marlon

    good blog. information overload generation is a keeper.

  • Nick

    I think Mac Mall was 16 when he recorded the album. Yes, by fare the best album by someone under 18.

  • jeff

    Quo was the best kid group. Hands down. Quo Funk and Blowin Up were the two dopest joints back in 1994. SIIIIIIIKE!!!!!!

    • IK

      whoa i dont remember any1 bringing quo up….and besides blowin up did real back then quo funk did iight and huh what juss didnt do good lol

  • beatz23

    good post, kids today are definitely getting dumber unfortunately..