With Chief Keef possibly headed back before a judge for potential legal trouble, the way is opening up for rap to welcome in a new teenager. Enter 13-year-old Lil Mouse, who also hails from Chicago. Thanks to his Hella Bandz team, we get to take trip to Chicago in this newly released EPK video.
Mouse seems like a fairly normal young fellow with sports trophies scattered about his home and discussing riding motorcycles and four-wheelers as hobbies. As he speaks, he shies away from the camera and stands alongside his mom for a portion of the clip. The teen also references his pops, who’s incarcerated but still involved in raising him, according to Mouse. It’s when he starts rapping (and cursing) explicitly about women, guns, money, etc. that the child-like veneer washes away and his mannish ways appear.
I always have a tough time reconciling where we’re at in rap. Music is entertainment above anything else and it requires listeners to buy in to what’s being presented to them. The problem comes when we examine what we’re selling and who’s doing the purchasing, especially when it comes to minors who seem to be the first to buy-in. Right now, we have a blurred line between reality and age-appropriate lies when it comes to music, and Mouse serves as an example of one of those youngsters who paid the price of admission.
The video clip shows the kid rapper hanging out in the studio, listening back tracks while a handful of adults linger around and smoke weed. Instances like those make it tough to cosign what looks to be happening around this kid. Yes, adults smoke weed, drink liquor and get b*tches. Kids are aware of all of these things. Still, there should be a division between what we condone to happen in front of kids or allow them to participate in.
The cop-out is to say that being open and honest helps them understand, but I disagree. Kids aren’t mentally mature enough to properly process everything they witness and understand what they should be taking away from experiences. From a development stance alone, we have a prime reason why they shouldn’t be exposed.
Then, we make it even harder to differentiate when Mouse or any other kid sits and watches firsthand while the adults in a room get high, have fun and laugh, but then he’s told, “but you don’t do this because it’s bad for you.” In a adolescent’s mind it’s not. On the surface, which is usually as far as they can grasp, they see smiles and happiness. Why wouldn’t they want a piece of the action?
When Pitchfork decided to pull the video of Chief Keef at the firing range, I knew it felt strange that they’d suddenly found a moral compass and felt the need to remove the clip. In actuality, the move made no sense because it was surely garnering traffic and nothing seemed illegal about any of the activities. A juvenile at a firing range under adult supervision isn’t breaking any laws that I’m aware of, unless they exist on a state or local level. Now, the push by Chicago prosecutors to use that video as evidence against Keef makes Pitchfork’s decision more clear. Perhaps the move was motivated by legal ramifications and had nothing to do with it being “rushed and never should have happened.”
Thinking about all this takes me back to what Hawaii Mike said a few weeks ago regarding the Internet and who should be allowed to use it. Maybe there should be a board in rap that says that the rest of these kids should have similar restrictions on what they can and can’t say on wax before a specific age. Until then, maybe we’d all be better served forcing them to stick to guided content like an early Bow Wow.
We can’t really fault Mouse. At 13, we would’ve jumped at the chance to own a “a three-finger ring, fat-ass link and a big-booty bitch to go with it,” word to Ice Cube’s fictional Stanley from “Us.” But that won’t stop us from looking at the adults surrounding him and suggesting that one of them step up to offer true guidance.