Dukes is a beatsmith, historian and mailman hailing from the south of The Netherlands. He knows more about politics than you and is as nuanced as a brick through your car’s front window. This is his exclusive column for TRU. (the opinions expressed by Dukes are solely those of Dukes and do not represent the TRU board of editors).
It all started a couple of years ago. Me and a couple of friends went to a gig and some kid walked up to me saying: “Excuse me mister, may I ask you where you bought that Immortal Technique shirt?” Suddenly it hit me. We are the old guard now. We, who for years had been the young kids in the venue, had become the old crowd. My favorite albums are the ones that kids nowadays call old school. The decay has set in. It’s the eleventh hour.
I used to go to a lot of concerts, nowadays I can’t be bothered most of the time. I finally saw Nas this year, but Lee Fields & the Expressions was the best concert I saw in a long time. The vibe at hip-hop gigs has changed. These kids nowadays didn’t have to put in the same effort we did. They grew up in a time when hip hop was accepted, not like when I grew up, when you were a social pariah if you sagged your jeans. They didn’t have to hit up their local library to figure out who someone like Scott La Rock was, or to figure out what sampling exactly was. They didn’t live in a time when the sample of ‘Nas Is Like‘ was a treasure yet to be discovered. They didn’t get frisked by the cops for the way they dressed. They just haven’t paid their dues. Why would I wanna be amongst a bunch of groupies who can’t buy booze, didn’t go through the same shit we went through and who rock their jeans like broads, when I can be at home drinking Tyskie vibing to Supreme Clientele?
When I wake up I read the latest hip hop news on my phone without even knowing who most of the rappers they mention are. I never heard any song by A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar or Meek Mill and probably never will. Six years ago I would try to find some music by them, but I just don’t give a fuck anymore. I bought hundreds of cd’s the last three years, but asides from Black Marvel’s debut, some Roc Marciano and Doppelgangaz records none of them were released in those three years. If you would’ve asked me a couple of years ago what songs to play on my funeral it all would’ve been hip hop. If I died tomorrow it would be some soul classics and jazz standards, and perhaps ‘Memory Lane.’ But somehow I got the feeling that even Nas won’t be in that list in ten years down the road, while O.V. Wright definitely will be.
I wouldn’t survive another “who is the best rapper, Biggie or Pac?” discussion. I’d rather do a tour in ‘Nam. I’d rather live in a commune full of militant man-hating lesbians. I’d rather invest my savings a liquor store in downtown-Teheran. I’d prefer getting circumcised by a blind crackhead to avoid having that discussion again. Everybody knows it’s Ghostface anyways and I don’t even wanna argue with anybody who thinks differently. I don’t want my unborn seeds to live in a world where people say that Enter the Wu-Tang sounds dated. I don’t wanna meet someone’s little cousin who downloaded Fruity Loops last week and thinks that he makes better beats than me just because he doesn’t sample. Get your fingers dirty goddamnit!
At the age of 26 I’ve become a grumpy old man.