The Divide In Rap Isn’t Just About Age — It’s Veiled Homophobia, Too

05.11.17 3 months ago 17 Comments

In a recent DJ Vlad video entitled “Cassidy on Lil Yachty’s Pro-Gay Teenage Emotions Album Cover: I Don’t Respect It,” the Philly rapper is shown the cover of Yachty’s album, which shows two men kissing in the corner. In a repulsed tone, he tells DJ Vlad, “That’s why I don’t listen to that,” before decreeing that he doesn’t “approve” of the album cover. No word on if Yachty’s creative team will go back to the drawing board at the “Hotel” rapper’s behest, but it doesn’t seem likely. In recent years, artists and fans who share Cassidy’s desire to see what he described as a “real n—- from the street” spitting “hard sh*t” can’t seem to resist giving the world their two cents about a hip-hop subgenre they’ve condescendingly dubbed “mumble rap.”

But, to borrow from Jay Z on “Already Home,” the fact is… they don’t use the same beats, don’t play the same shows, don’t have the same core fanbase, so why does their success bother the old guard so much? What’s the fixation with artists that don’t actually harm Cassidy’s bars-over-everything ilk? It’s not like Young Thug or Lil Uzi Vert are taking up freestyle spots on Hot 97. Hip-hop purist Wale recently shared a recollection of a show he had that was down the street from a Migos performance in Atlanta, and that both shows were well-received; there’s room for everybody.

Many fans, journalists and artists have chalked up the schism between the segments of fans to a “generational divide,” but it’s not that simple. I’m 28, teetering on the edge of both worlds, and I’ve found the space to enjoy artists like Uzi and Young Thug for their melodic gifts just like I enjoy an ’03 Cassidy freestyle for his punchlines. There are hip-hop vets like NORE and Jadakiss who big up younger artists and plenty of generation Zers in the “Lil Yachty trash” Twitter tag. Hell, the rap game is full of mid-to-late-30s MCs like Rick Ross and 2Chainz who cater to an early 20s, club-hopping demographic, so trying to divide the culture along age lines isn’t a strong talking point. Neither are the other flimsy rationalizations that hip-hop conservatives use in attempts to malign “mumble rap.”

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