In my opinion, the most ignorant thing you can tell a person is to purposely “dumb it down.” Still, I’ve heard people say this to rappers; I’ve heard people who write scripts for television shows and movies say this; and Jay Stephens, the VP of Programming for Radio One, and a morning show coach named Steve Reynolds said something similar to me.
They said, and I quote, “The 18-34 demographic in urban radio doesn’t want to be enlightened, they want to have fun!”
I explained to them that this is the Barack Obama Era. People want to be educated, enlightened, as well as entertained. The higher ends of my demo are watching CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News more than ever. We had the highest youth voter turnout ever in the history of the U.S. during the last presidential election so that showed that our demo cares about things other than Lil Wayne or Drake.
I was told by Jay Stephens and Steve Reynolds that I was wrong, and to quote Jay directly: “20-year-old Black kids are still watching Nickelodeon.”
Really, Jay, 20-year-old kids?
At 20, most young people are in college, some young people are even married with families with kids who are watching Nickelodeon. These guys really think that we are so dumbed down that we’re watching Nickelodeon at 20-years old? I proceeded to tell them stop insulting my culture and left another meeting with them shaking their heads like, “He just doesn’t get it.”
They’re right, I don’t.
I can’t understand the mentality of this society that makes bright, intelligent people tell other bright, intelligent people to “dumb it down.” I totally get giving it to the people in a way that they will understand. It’s called putting the medicine in the candy, but all that “Fuck that intelligent shit, give people the dummy shit” talk, makes absolutely no since to me.
When I first started studying the 5 Percent teachings of Islam one of the first things they teach you is to show your greatest intelligence at all times. I feel like this is the way we should move all the time whether we’re doing radio, comedy, television, music or whatever. Show your greatest intelligence at all times.
I hear people call Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, and Soulja Boy dumb. They aren’t dumb; they’re just giving you what they know. I enjoy their music when I’m in the club the same way I enjoy Pillsbury Big Deluxe Cookies on my cheat days Friday and Saturday. The rest of the week I’m working out and eating things that are healthier for me.
Jay Electronica, Killer Mike and the Strong Arm Steady Gang are the people I’m into. They don’t dumb shit down for nobody, but they’re still human so they rap from a human experience. You’re going to hear them talk about sex, how fly a chick is, or blowing on some good green. We aren’t perfect, we’re just spiritual beings living a human existence and we have that kind of balance. Elijah Muhammad said it best, “You’re not going to walk through the mud and not get dirty.”
But back to the point I was trying to make…