the younger generation of rap fans annoyed by progressive, positive leaning hip-hop? According to Stic.man from the legendary political hip-hop group Dead Prez, the answer to that question is no, it’s just something adults assume.
”My son is 16, right? Basically, my house is a hub for all the young brothers around our neighborhood,” he explained. “[They dream of being the] next Future, the next Metro Boomin. But what I think [is] it’s not that they are against progressive hip-hop. I think there’s an assumption being made, maybe on both sides, that because they like certain things, they don’t want to hear other things.”
Earlier in hip-hop — namely in the ’80s — groups like Boogie Down Productions, X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers and Public Enemy were considered cool and made it fashionable in many areas of the U.S. to embrace social consciousness.
Some might say the conscious music of the ’80s and ’90s didn’t have the youths marching in the streets like those in the civil rights movement, but a lot of kids were wearing beaded African necklaces and Malcolm X T-shirts, and Black TV shows like “Different World” that spoke to Black issues were huge hits.
According to Stic, P.E. was able to deliver important messages to kids because their music and overall presentation were so strong.
If you’ve been following Dead Prez’s career since they dropped their classic 2000 debut “Let’s Get Free,” then you know that, like P.E., they’ve connected with legions of fans, particularly younger ones, by incorporating some of the youths’ interests into their music.
Stic, who also released some brilliant solo projects, including “The Workout” and “Manhood” albums, says it’s crucial for other progressive rappers to do that, especially the older ones who want to connect with the younger generation.