The yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop has led to some amazing, unforgettable moments. Unfortunately, it’s brought a lot of rappers out of the woodwork to give their opinions on the genre and current artists. One person who felt the need to offer his thoughts on the subject is Xzibit. Yes, the guy who’s more famous for Pimp My Ride than music. During an appearance on The Adam Carolla Show, he was asked about current hip-hop, and there was also a “get off my lawn” vibe to his response.
“I think the education system has failed us,” he said while noting that the younger generation’s communication through “emojis and farts and beeps in thirty-second intervals” has dumbed them down to a point “that doesn’t give you much room for comprehension or expansion.” He added that the 30-second window they have to capture attention doesn’t lead to quality albums.
“There’s no emotional investment in the music, like when we were putting music out,” he said. “You had the CD cover, the album cover, cassette. You get to open it, you get to see who produced it, you get to read the lyrics. You’re not guessing. A lot of the things that made us have 10, 15, 20, 30-year-long careers, doesn’t exist anymore.”
People said the same thing when CDs and cassettes replaced albums. Yes, in a perfect world, we’d all still go to Tower Records and spend hours sifting through new music. However, I can also make an argument that the ability to download something or check it out on YouTube, then decide if it’s for them, opens fans up to music they may not have normally given a chance.
The “What U See Is What U Get” rapper explained that he doesn’t think hip-hop has “the staying power that it used to have.”
“Right now, I think the music itself isn’t a good representation of what we’re supposed to be,” he said. “Not taking anything away from these kids, because they’re feeding their families. They’re not in the street. They’re not doing…some of them aren’t doing anything illegal.”
What he said wasn’t necessarily wrong, but there’s this common thread in art right now where older artists only want there to be one way to create things. You see it in Jann Wenner’s controversial comments about Black artists, Martin Scorsese’s ongoing issues with comic book movies and some TV historians’ lack of appreciation for reality shows.
Art is not one thing, that’s what makes it art. Like Black people, hip-hop is not a monolith. If you watched the 2023 BET Awards, you saw tributes to the genre that featured acts from around the world, all of them with different styles and influences. New hip-hop may not be for Xzibit, but that doesn’t mean he knows what it will be in the next 50 years. No matter what you think of the genre’s current stars, maybe give it a minute to evolve into its next iteration, because that’s what art does.