Rap culture runs in cycles. Every few years or so there’s a changing of the guard, as a crop of upstart artists emerge on the scene and alter both the face and sound of the music landscape. Whenever these seismic shifts occur, there’s often a divisive conversation between gatekeepers of the old and the new. As the age of mumble rap takes hold of the charts, rising stars like Lil Yachty, Desiigner and Lil Uzi Vert come under fire from hip-hop veterans and critics alike for disregarding lyricism in favor of swag and essentially “killing the culture.”
With that in mind, we here at Complex gathered artists from both sides of the aisle during our first annual ComplexCon in Long Beach, CA to discuss the matter during a lively panel dubbed “The Rap Music Generation Gap Debate.” Hosted by radio personality Angie Martinez, the speakers included French Montana, Vince Staples, Raekwon, Scarface and Pete Rock, who all kept it 100 as they dissected everything from who deserves respect in the game to what matters most when you’re no longer hot.
If you couldn’t catch the dialogue in person during ComplexCon, don’t worry because we had the cameras rolling. Now for the next 10 weeks we’ll be sharing all 16 of our panels in a series called Complex Conversations, where celebrities, activists, artists, designers and musicians discuss the most pressing topics impacting youth culture. “The Rap Music Generation Gap Debate,” which you can watch above, is actually episode 2 of the series. We premiered episode 1, “The Sneaker of the Year Debate,” last month. Stay tuned for more fire from Complex Conversations.