Why is it that rap is the only music people pursue with an age cut off? Today, music and culture, Especially hip hop, is being consumed at record rates. Nielsen data stated that "hip hop was the most streamed genre of 2014." So why is there a limit to the age we have to be to pursue rap/hip hop? Does not matter if you're 18 or 35, if a life in Hip-Hop is what you want, go get it. After all, age ain't nothin but a number.
Truthfully, hip hop and or rap has commonly been associated with a certain way of life. Struggles growing up in the hood, obtaining a lavish lifestyle, filled with "women, weed, and weather", and cash flow that's "stacked taller than Larry bird" are all small center blocks of the diverse foundation that makes up the content spoken about in hip hop/rap music. Ask any mother, father, grandparent or even certain peers to describe a rapper and you will get descriptions that range from sagging pants and gold chains, to constantly drink or high orators whom you can't understand. This image of rappers has been one that the media and the culture as a whole have pushed for reasons we won't get into right now. The underlying truth is that most times, these images don't parallel what we see as a "responsible adult." I feel there comes a time where everyone must look at themselves and ask the question, "is what I'm pursuing practical?" "If I have a family and responsibilities, is it okay for me to pursue this dream of mine?" I don't think the answer to these question should ever HAVE TO take into consideration age. As in, I'm to old to be a rapper. Yes if you have child support to pay, or bills that are past due because you have been spending your money at the studio, you might wanna reevaluate some things. However if you find that you are able to balance taking care of whatever responsibilities you have, and you can pursue music at the same time, why would you not?
Now let's point out the fact that once an artist makes it big, there is not a focus on how old they are. No one would tell Rick Ross or jay-Z not to rap because they are to old. You wouldn't tell T.I. or 2chains not to pick up a mic anymore because there is a cut off. So why do we tell men and women, who are good at what they do, that it is not okay for them to pursue something that they love, once they reach a certain age? My guess is time. Time is the one thing we can never get back. It's the one constant that is tied with our ultimate end, and people are afraid of wasting it. How many times does the argument of people pursuing a dream that is "out of reach" or "near impossible" to achieve end with the phrase, "you're wasting your time!" I ask this question as a rebuttal, how is doing what you love a waste of time? No we can't all reach that one percent of rap royalty as few have, but that does not mean we can't achieve some type of success in the craft we love. Maybe you only play shows for 10 people at a time, and you can only record on your MacBook; if that's what you love, your age shouldn't matter; and the only time it does is when we let it.
Think about the growth a human being experiences between the ages of 18-34 ;which are the age parameters of what we call the millennials. For most humans, the growth is extensive. You see things different, you react to things different. You are different. So why cut off those personal evolutions and experiences to the culture of hip hop? Everything must grow, and evolve right? If this is true, then the people who are listening to hip hop are also growing and evolving, so what they are listening to must grow and adapt as well. I enjoy getting lifted and turnt just like anyone else, but that's not my whole life, and as an adult I wanna hear some adult things; but if we are cutting people off from pursuing hip hop at older ages then those experiences that we have as adults are lost. This directly contributes to the culture not growing. The most well rounded and adapted humans are those who know where they came from, and also have a clear vision of where they are going next. "When I was a child, I thought as a child, but know that I'm a man, I put away childish things..."
Besides the lifestyle and the responsibilities aspect, one of the most important things that people don't think about is, there is a market for it! I can't tell you how many of my friends are married, buying houses, and working big people jobs all around me. The lifestyle change, and the changes in the people I see are so drastic at times, I have to catch my breath and ask time to slow down. Do my peers and I enjoy Travis Scott? Hell yeah! (His new Album is incredible) Do I want to listen to future when the homies come over and we drankin whiskey...duh bruh! However, that can't always be the music I listen to. What about people at home with their 3 year old and wife, or people cleaning up the house during the day, with no liquor or weed envolved. They want something that speaks to their situation, and speaks to their soul, and not everybody wants to listen to Anita baker and Donnie Hathaway. (Although, that's my shit)They want hip hop to continue to tell their story. Humans want to know what Their feeling and going through is actually something other people are feeling and going through. And what delivers better universal messages of struggle and lifestyle than hip hop. There is a slew of people just waiting for someone to make hip hop music on the level they're on now, but if we continue to down play the dreams of those who are considered "to old to chase childish things..." we won't get the chance to reap the benefits of a culture that can grow, and a surging music market that's untapped.
Passion shouldn't have an age cut off. Humans should be able to explore and express their circumstances through hip hop at any point in life they feel inspired to do so. People grow and change and our culture must grow and change with us. If we continue to give hip hop artist mandates on when they should have their foot in the door, we will lose stories that need to be told, perspectives that need to be seen, and great music that is yet to be made.