Over the weekend, I realized just how disrespectful this generation can be of older hip-hop. Right in the Bronx, a few train stops from my house, there was an entire street blocked off for music, food, boxing and great performances. But unlike the dope concerts I’ve been to this summer so far, where everyone has showed nothing but love to any legend to grace the stage, the young Weezie loving generation of hip-hop heads showed me exactly why this old school verses new school battle ever ensued.
Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh did their thing, and since the little girls coming to see Lloyd grind on the stage weren’t gathered around the stage yet, the love was felt. Doug E. Fresh killed it with the beatboxing and even had my 21-year-old ass singing each and every old school song he could think of. Bang Bang Boogie came through and hyped up the Bronx, and Cory Gunz jumped on stage to rap “A Milli.” But it all started when JoJo, Reverend Run’s son, came through with his group Team Blackout — the junior high and high school girls took over.
After JoJo decided to go into the crowd, where I thought I’d never see him again or he’d pop up with his clothes torn to shreds, the girls were pumped for Lloyd. And just at a wrong time, KRS-One jumps on stage. Now of course anyone who knows a thing about hip-hop, even if you’ve just watched a documentary, knows how important KRS is to the genre. Apparently a big part of the crowd standing there on a Soundview street in the Bronx didn’t know, or just didn’t care. I felt horrible — horrible for seeing people born just a few years after me show such disregard to the man on stage. Okay fine, you’re excited to see Lloyd, you’re worried that the black clouds over your head are going to open any minute, but show some damn respect.
I heard boos. I heard girls yelling for him to get off the stage (dressed in 80’s gear no less!), and I know KRS felt it. For the first time, I saw why the old school has a problem with the new school. It’s all about respect. Yes, time changes, music evolves, but this is the first generation to out right disrespect the legends who got us to where we are.
I don’t know what happened when the late 80s-early 90s babies arrived — what was in the water — but somewhere along the way respect was forgotten. Just when I was losing my restraint to turn around and slap a girl behind me for screaming for KRS to get off the stage, a little 10-year-old girl got on stage and gave me goose bumps. I’m sorry that I don’t remember her name, but her message will not be forgotten. She asked the crowd if they liked hip-hop. Then she asked if they liked rap. Then she asked if they knew the difference. She spoke of how real hip-hop used to exist to enlighten us. Now rap exists to tell us about bling. She said that hip-hop would free her, and that rap would get her killed. She said that she wasn’t up there trying to get a record degree, she was trying to get a college degree.
It was just what everyone needed to hear. The entire time I watched KRS’s face, amazed. And at that point I knew, and I knew he knew, that it was all going to be okay. KRS, people are still listening, including me.