Industry frustration is nothing new. You take the bad with the good. But a few young cats have been getting super aggy lately and taking things to heart. Just in the last couple weeks, Bow Wow and Soulja Boy each had mini Twitter meltdowns, brought on by stress apparently. Before that, B.O.B and Kid Cudi threatened to quit the rap game and they haven’t even released their debut albums yet. And people are genuinely worried about Charles Hamilton’s state of being given a series of what you might consider poor choices. Cries for attention? Maybe. Take a gander at their public distress signals:
Kid Cudi on his blog, March 16: “I am falling back on being an artist. The drama that comes with it is more overwhelming than the shit I was dealing with when I was piss poor broke.”
Soulja Boy via Twitter, July 2: “I don’t really know about alot of things these days. But I just want EveryBODY to know this sh*t. Just KNOW that i’m only 18 man… And it’s only so much I can do. It’s only so much I can take… I’m not perfect.”
Bow Wow via Twitter, July 7: “Man I be gettn bored wit life. I wish I neva did and seen err thang so soon. I have nuffn to look forward 2. I’m down more than I am happy…in a dark place! goodbye.”
Some clowned Bow Wow and SB for their Twitter rants, but think about how celebrities get covered nowadays for a second and how many ways there are for rappers to end up on the homepage of a gossip site. It’s different when you’re grown and you’ve learned to absorb the critiques. But these guys are barely legal and in the spotlight more than any of their predecessors ever were when they first started out. Add to that, the pressure of living up to a hype coupled with constant criticism. That wasn’t the case for artists back in the day when rap blogs didn’t exist – just radio and magazines really – and fans didn’t have as much of an outlet to kick feedback.
Like I said, these frustrations have always been present and it comes with the territory; they’re just more easily exposed now. It doesn’t help that these rappers choose to be “out there” and put their lives on blast and stream videos of themselves doing absolutely nothing, probably so that they feel like someone cares about them. But that doesn’t make being frustrated (and often attacked) any less of a burden. Just yesterday on Hot 97 with Angie Martinez, Kid Cudi mentioned how hip-hop in general is more overly critical than other genres. J Smooth posted a great vlog this week about the Michael Jackson media phenomenon and how the younger generation is growing up in a nation where constant broadcasting is normal, and there’s something odd about that. If social networking and the Internet were as big when guys like LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes were coming up, who knows what kind of mistakes and lapses in judgment we would’ve witnessed. We’d all see them stumble, too, and probably laugh.
Imagine being a rapper who just wants to be successful and all you do is get hated on. In this age, one bad move could ruin your career. Often, it’s only a brief moment of fury for the hatee but when it piles up, it can get to be too much, as Soulja Boy pointed out. Maybe some of these young dudes need guidance from the vets or to take a break from the spotlight once in a while. Maybe they just need a hug. I guess at least they have an outlet to express their anger instead of keeping it to themselves and potentially going crazy. Word to Lauryn. —clovito