The new kid is blowing up, but does he work for the old kids?
An actual Twitter conversation:
Me: @TrinidadJamesGG Not my kind of rapper…but I’m 39. I know he’s not making music for me.
Trinidad James: @gregsimmsjr check out the whole project tho and see what you think about that.
And there you have it. Me, the old head, the rap purist that’s for years judged rappers for verbal dexterity and rhyme prowess (“Is this cat the new Rakim?”). And in the other corner, stands Trinidad James, the rookie rapper who not only seems to be the RGIII of Rap, but also the biggest flashpoint in recent hip-hop history. His hit single (3,540,280 YouTube views and counting.) “All Gold Everything” has swept the country. He’s pretty much the number one topic of discussion of every top hip-hop blog. And that was before he was caught up in a bidding war between the major labels. If you haven’t been paying attention, T. James just signed with Def Jam.
The reason James has everybody talking is because “All Gold,” while an unquestioned club banger, didn’t really seem to be an exercise in verbal gymnastics. Not to mention James’s wild fashion sense. In a year where Kendrick Lamar was seen as Nas 2.0, it was a bit jarring to see James kick in the door and take over the Rap media world. Me…I was just as surprised as anyone when I heard/saw the new kid. The last few new kids had…something. Drake was a combo of rhyme skill and charm. Big Sean was Detroit slick and funny. Kendrick Lamar was Merlin on the mic. James? To me? I didn’t get it.
Then, I did what he asked me to, when he personally responded to my Tweet. I listened to the rest of the songs he’s made. My verdict?
Still not my cup of tea, but perfect for today’s youth.
How so? Rap these days is the soundtrack to the lives of younger people. It doesn’t actually inspire to create movements socially, or ideas. It’s more or less the wallpaper that surrounds people nowadays. It’s the White Noise in the background. What James raps about, Mollies, girls, clubs, parties, himself, is what most people in his age are talking about and doing. Most hit rap songs these days are designed for University of Florida co-eds anyway. Songs are made to help get girls to come out of their tops in the club, and doing the duck-face on Instagram. From that standpoint, T. James is winning like Colin Kaepernick.
Is he what Gen X heads like me think a rapper should be? Nah. But, he’s not meant to be. His good is different from my good. And that’s ok. I’m too old to pop bottles and dance to James’ stuff. Although, from looking at this Jamie Foxx video, I may not be.
This article originally appeared at Examiner.com