I remember being a kid in the 90s. Life was simple. It was all about playing outside until the street lights came on, Super Mario Bros and Saturday morning cartoons.
In my adolescence, I joined the ranks of all the other kids who were too young to be teenagers, but too old to be unacquainted with the disparities of the world. And so, we all embarked on the quest for self. To figure out how we all fit in, how we can stand out and if we could make it out our real or imagined traps.
Growing up in the projects of Miami, there wasn’t a surplus of positive role models (as you can imagine). I looked up to the rappers and singers on TV & radio. Hoping that one day I could make a lot of money, buy a luxury vehicle and move my family out of the ghetto. And I knew that I didn’t have to look a certain way, have specific body measurements or be able to throw my ass in a circle to accomplish any of this.
All I needed was a half cup of intellect and self love that Lauryn rapped about. A quarter of hustle Jay-Z embodied and a sprinkle of revolutionary that Pac made us all want to be.
Flash forward to 2015 and what do you need to become famous? Ass shots, a pack of 20 inch Peruvian hair and a catch phrase (which can be substituted with duck lips if you’re inarticulate).
So what happened to all of our positive role models? All of the rappers that the young and young at heart could count on to verbalize our pain. The ones we know that represented our struggles and could lift us up out of the ghetto with promising words. The ones who didn’t ask us to turn up, but turn a few pages in a book once in a while.
What happened to the reality in hip hop?