As hip-hop reaches middle age, its elder statesmen and newcomers butt heads about what rap should sound like in 2016.
“If you pull up one of them old beats, I’m not rapping on it — straight up. There’s going to be a lot of young guys coming up here, and they ain’t going to want to rap on that. I’m trying to tell you, it’s changing.” – Lil Uzi Vert, 22, in a Feb. 24 interview with WQHT New York’s Ebro after refusing to freestyle over DJ Premier’s “Mass Appeal” beat.
“All these new ‘lil’ n—z is weak as the time it took to create earth… We don’t pass on PRIMO beats in this sport kids!” – Ab-Soul, 29, responding to Lil Uzi Vert on Twitter on Sept. 7.
“Another ‘Lil’ rapper caught feelings… High School ass bars! Hahahahahaa! Here we go again…” –Ebro, 41, responding to Lil Yachty’s Summer Songs 2 track “For Hot 97” on July 20 on Instagram.
“I honestly couldn’t name five songs [by 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G.] … but if I’m doing this my way and making all this money, why should I do it how everybody says it’s supposed to be done?” –Lil Yachty, 19, in an Aug. 25 interview with Billboard.
“Don’t be cocky in the fact that you don’t know anything about hip-hop history. Real artists are students of the game first.” – Anderson .Paak, 30, tweeting about Lil Yachty’s Billboard interview on Aug. 28.
“I swear to God I didn’t know you were saying people’s names just now, so that should probably answer that question. I just do my own thing.” – Lil Wayne, 34, when asked a question about Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage and Kodak Black, in an October interview with The New York Times.
“No matter what you say he’s hot garbage and thats the end of it. This ain’t no argument. He has no skill.” – Pete Rock, 46, captioning an Instagram video of Young Dolph rapping his song “In My System” on Sept. 2.
“Make better music and write better lyrics.” – Pete Rock on Instagram after Lil Yachty tweeted “F— a Pete Rock.”
“Who da f— is old dude? Sumbody tell pety rock that Dolph said eat a dick and choke on it wit da rest of my haters.” – Young Dolph, 31 (but apparently young at heart), tweeting about Pete Rock on Sept. 2, after the Instagram post instantly became hip-hop blog fodder.
“Nah, I ain’t trippin that some kid can’t name Biggie and Pac songs..u gotta check the kids background and upbringing before you judge… So leave Lil’ Uzi Vert, Lil’ Yachty, Kodak Black, etc… alone Fam. We got our greats. Ain’t nobody said you gotta like them…” – 9th Wonder, 41, tweeting in response to the Lil Yachty/Pete Rock dialogue on Sept. 12.
“In the ’90s, you had Biggie, Tupac and all that. But name one rapper that was bigger than the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?” – Vince Staples, 23, in a June interview with The Fader, explaining why he had said he believes the ’90s (and ’90s hip-hop) are overrated.