Our parents and the media like to call us Millennials, but we are the Hip Hop Generation. Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre defined our youth, while Eminem and Jay-Z embodied our formative years. It’s not a matter of race or economic upbringing. Music defines generations and ours has been molded by the unshackled songs of hip hop.
“I am whatever you say I am (Eminem).” Such is the life of a millennial, a product of the hip hop generation. Our parents told us what we were ‘supposed’ to do and society guided us straight towards who we were ‘supposed’ to be. Social media exploded and everyone decided they knew who we were and what life was like for us. Half of this generation chose to obey and accept the life lumped upon their shoulders. The other half listened to the music of their generation. “Nobody built like you, you design yourself (Jay-Z).”
I don’t fault society for its attempt to treat us all like Play-Doh, molding us into unrecognizable shapes that all look and act alike. That’s the most effective way to make as much money as possible. Teach people what to think, teach them what to like, then make them want it so bad they’ll fight and kill to get it. “Lay back with my mind on my money and my money on my mind (Snoop Dogg).” But life is about choices and many of us have chosen to give up that power. Consumerism is addictive, making money is addictive, and only we can set ourselves free. “Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals. Make a fat diamond out of dusty coals (Outkast).”
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We’re all born with a unique lot in life. As a youth its near impossible to accept this, but nothing about our lives is the same as another. Every little detail and experience is unique, and to shut yourself into a box defined by society is to imprison your very soul. “N-ggas make the same sh-t, me I make the blueprint (Jay-Z).” To do the same thing as everyone else is easy. There is no thought involved in copying another, nothing hard about following a scripted path. Creating your own road, your own life, and inspiring others takes courage. It’s the road less traveled, the harder option, but the one we were all born to take. We are all unique, destined to live a life all our own. “Everything is everything. What is meant to be, will be (Lauryn Hill).”
Life looks so perfect through the lens of television, movies and the internet. But that is entertainment, an idealized version spawned from people’s creativity. Hip Hop taught us to fight the power, buck the trend, and keep on working until the impossible is achieved. “All I need is one mic. All I need is one life, one try, one breath, I’m one man (Nas).” Mistakes are a near certainty, but every error contains a lesson. Artists emerge from the worst slums and the ritziest communities. What connects them all is a will to shine bright. To light a fire up under someone’s ass. To never stop, never, never stop. “And if at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again (Aaliyah).”
The Hip Hop Generation is full of free thinkers and self starters. Its full of people unashamed of who they are and unwilling to conform. We don’t care about your company unless your company cares about us. Why should we? We don’t care about the rules unless they actually help people. Why should we? We won’t stand for the way things were, because all it did was make a very small group of people unimaginably rich. Why should we? We refuse to allow ourselves to destroy our home, our planet. Why would we? “Y’all been eatin long enough now stop bein greedy. Just keep it real partner give to the needy (DMX).” Helping others is a way of life, not a thing to be surprised about from another human being. Giving back is no different. You can’t take it with you, so make someone’s life better instead of hoarding things in your garage.
There is no box. There is no script. “Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof. We all must meet our moment of truth (Gang Starr).” Let go of outside influence and listen to yourself. Listen to what beats deep inside of you. That is where art and where music is born. That is where life begins. That is the Hip Hop Generation. “Surely hip-hop was never a problem in Harlem. Only in Boston. After it bothered the fathers of daughters startin’ to blossom (Eminem).”
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Vlogger at BuzzChomp. He’s also a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, as well as an Actor, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in his Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram.
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