Hip hop is often labeled a “young man’s game” but if you take a look at what’s going on in the culture, it’s not hard to see that’s not the case at all. While there is some promising young talent in hip-hop, it’s the elder statesmen who are not only preserving the culture of hip-hop but making sure that it progresses as well. All the major business moves and solid albums are being made by seasoned veterans. The proof is in the pudding, Jay-Z has his hand in practically everything, Diddy is making sure that Sean John, the most enduring hip-hop clothing line stays on top as well as founding Revolt TV, and Nas is finally stepping into an executive role by starting his own label and making some major signings. Eminem, at 40 years old, is still hands down the biggest name in hip-hop and the only surefire guarantee to move major units. Imagine having a career second wind that not only puts you back in the game but sees you sitting on the throne and being more dangerous lyrically than ever. Tech N9ne has turned Strange Music into an empire with serious talent around him. Today’s generation of MC’s are more likely to end up on World Star Hip Hop or TMZ for some foolish antics than they are to make a hit record. Even more mature MC’s are starting to just come into their own. Look at Slaughterhouse. All four of them from Joell, to Royce, to Crooked, and Budden are perfect examples of being put through the industry ringer finally to get their piece of the pie, outshining many young MC’s in the process. Even Rick Ross, now an elder statesman relentlessly releases LP’s and has had major success with MMG. Not only have Jay, Nas, Diddy, and Eminem remained atop the hip-hop game but they have also set an example by presenting themselves as gentleman and staying out of trouble. I’m not sure what a lot of these younger MC’s are thinking but they have plenty of examples to look up to yet their behavior nor their quality of music reflects that. Think about it, are there any new artists you’re dying to hear from? You might have a passing interest in a few of them but are any of them having the impact similar to that 50 Cent had in 2003? As a hip-hop fan, it’s disappointing. It should be noted that there are a lot of talented younger artists such as Kendrick, Wale, Nipsey, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, and Big Sean but they aren’t running the game. It’s the guys who have been here for 10, 15, and 20 years that are still holding hip-hop down. It’s growth but it’s not. In other words, the new generation has a lot of work to do because greatness is earned and not given and that’s why a new Jay-Z album, or Nas album, or Eminem album is still more anticipated than that of any new artist.
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