Friday, May 15, 2009
Still Standing or Standing Still?
XXL revealed their June 2009 cover today and I'm not surprised. Not saying that in a shaking my head type way really. Its more so because I got the scoop on this days after it happened. When I heard about it, I thought it was a good, appropriate idea. There's no denying that Gucci, OJ, Shawty Lo and Soulja Boy are the hottest things coming out of the Atlanta rap scene right now.
But when ever I see Southern rappers put on the cover of a magazine or in a magazine, especially those from Atlanta I always feel a certain way. I either feel proud or disgraced. In this case, I'm not really too sure about how I feel.
When folks like Outkast, Goodie Mob and the like started getting national recognition for their exceptional music, I felt proud. I felt that I was being properly represented, even though at the time, I had never met anyone in the DF. Years later I can say I've met every member, drank and smoked with a few and even gave a couple of them a ride to the store...and I still feel proud. Because none of them have really changed. Yeah some have grown and/or reverted musically at times, but they are still true to who they are and I relate with damn near everything they say, wear and do.
Fast Forward 11 years later. I don't really feel the same way. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those types that just be going around hating on the new crop of Atlanta talent that the media has picked as "the future." If I don't like something I just don't listen to it. Yeah, I might joke about it amongst friends, but just going off and wasting energy hating on it, nah.
So when I see this new cover of XXL, I'm kinda proud to a degree. All four of these dudes have worked hard at what it is they do to enjoy the spoils and recognition. And hell, they from my city. Plus, I'd like to think that they kidna look like me and the folks I know....to a degree. Lord knows I wouldn't want one of these pink hat, tight jean wearing dudes on the cover repping for the A.
But at the same time, I don't feel like they represent me and folks like me the same way that folks like the Goodie Mob did. Maybe its because that time in Atlanta rap has passed. Before anyone tries to get on that "well, they represent the youth, not you." Let me tell you 3 out of 4 of the dudes on the cover are closer to my age than they are to "the youth."
Which brings me to a larger thought. Now, from what I know, I don't think anyone in Goodie Mob, if not the entire DF graduated from college. A lot of them didn't even finish school period. Hell, these were street niggas, they just ain't only rap about the street all the time because it was understood. So I guess you can't call them "educated" by America's standards. But you could tell that they were spiritual cats who sought knowledge outside of the typical class room by reading up on things themselves.
Now, once again, I don't think OJ, Gucci, SB or Lo are what you would call scholars either. So, I guess their all even at that point. But, its obvious that their "education" came from the streets where "get money" was the only lesson being taught.
Both groups are sharing what they know at the end of the day, so you can't fault them for that. I just seems like the knowledge then compared to now was a lot healthier.
Folks always say that Hip Hop is just a reflection of whats going on right now. That's true to a degree. And, if you come to Atlanta right now, ALL you're going to hear on certain radio stations and certain clubs are going to be the dudes featured on the cover. My thing is, why? I mean, DF got played in the club too and it was very diverse and intelligent music. The stuff nowadays...not really.
Like I said, I'm not hating on anyone. I'm just hoping ya'll are feeling where I'm coming from and noticing how much has changed in 11 years. Hense the title of this post...I ask, are we Still Standing...or Standing Still?