The discussion surrounding young rappers neglecting hip-hop’s predecessors has been run into the ground, but if we examine the topic further, what we’re really arguing about is whether or not certain types music are aimed at distinct demographics.
This is the case veteran sound engineer and producer Mike Dean made earlier today (October 6), when he tweeted the following:
Just saw disturbing interview. Young rappers please study old music. And I don't think music is to be consumed by only a certain age range
— MIKE DEAN! #MWA (@therealmikedean) October 6, 2016
Let’s take a look at both sides.
Dean contends that young rappers need to grasp the genre and culture that they’ve inherited. The biggest (and most discussed) culprit has been Lil Yachty, whose lack hip-hop knowledge has caused an uproar, and whom I’ve written about to the point illness.
Yachty can’t name five songs by Biggie or 2Pac—but he also doesn’t consider his music to be hip-hop and he has repeatedly made clear that his product is meant to be enjoyed by children.
While all artists should strive to create universally accepted and appreciated material, the reality is that all forms entertainment have a very specific target demographic, and there isn’t anything wrong with catering your approach to fit a particular segment the market. Simply: Yachty’s music is aimed at people his age, not at Dean’s age group.
Dean is cut from the 90’s golden era cloth, so his views aren’t surprising. And my decision to side with the latter argument isn’t an endorsement Yachty’s ignorance, nor an affront to Dean—it just makes the most sense.
So, can we dead this issue now?
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram