"You know what the Midwest is?
young & restless, where restless niggas might snatch ya necklace, and next these niggas might jack ya Lexus" Jesus Walks, by Kanye West
I guess Kanye is looking a little prophetic with those lyrics huh! No? It's been going down that way forever most of us would say!
It is true that this is the most restless generation of my lifetime. I applaud them in certain aspects, I even champion them for being non-conforming in many situations. I find it very hypocritical to look down at the extension of the Hip Hop Movement the way I see so many others do. The idea of Hip Hop being a movement I believe has been overlooked.
Just as our parents were affected by the Civil Rights Movement that shaped their generation and propelled ours, Millennial's and every generation after has been shaped by what we were doing as the Hip Hop Generation. The Hip Hop Movement created industries and has made many millionaires and billionaires, and although we love to call on those names that we know, there are far more that we don't know. So with all the influence that Hip Hop has amassed, how could we think for a minute that Gen Z's and Alpha's aren't derivatives of the Hip Hop Movement. For every idea that we expressed in Hip Hop, whether exaggerated or not, the youth has taken it and made it the gospel in their own existence. I recall Dr. Dre doing an interview back in the day in which he made a comment about trying to live the way you portrayed yourself on records, what he then called stupid has become the standard. Many people criticized 2Pac for being dramatically as real in person as he was on his records, some to this day accuse him of having portrayed a character, something that they never did while he was alive I might add.
From what I've witnessed, the only consistent criticism that I believe Generation Z deserves is lack of direction, which also leads to a lack of purpose. I initially felt that they didn't have proper leadership, but I believe for every man or woman who moves with discipline, that individual is his or her own leader. I do believe in elder wisdom and guidance, but how do we bridge the gap between the elders and the youth! Whenever I hear blanket statements like, these young people don't want to listen, or those old heads don't know shit, I hear laziness, and I realize that I'm in the wrong crowd.
There are young people thirsting for knowledge and wisdom to make there situations better, as well as elders sitting on experience that they are literally dying to share. As I continue to express to everyone that will listen, the youth that we have among us are special, they are gifted, smart and fearless, and they could be everything that we have been waiting for, but they need us to at least point them in the right direction, even if that means we have to go in that direction too!