Hip-hop is definitely in an interesting place. It seems like every other day, a rap vet and a hip-hop newbie are caught arguing over some aspect of the genre on social media. A few weeks ago, it was Lil Yachty and Ebro sparring on Twitter over what Ebro viewed to be Lil Boat’s disparaging remarks about Nas. Then, last week, it was California rapper Anderson .Paak and Lil Yachty exchanging subliminal shots on social media. And though both rappers are considered to be relatively new to the game, and represent the same generation, the argument was the same—paying homage to, or at least valuing the history of hip hop and the artists who are considered to be significant to the genre’s impact and growth.
This week, the public argument came courtesy of legendary producer Pete Rock and Memphis rapper Young Dolph. And though the issue wasn’t about respecting hip-hop’s foundation, it was about the direction in which the genre seems to be moving, as new rappers move more firmly into the spotlight, capturing the attention of young listeners.
It all started when Pete Rock called out Young Dolph on Instagram. Dolph was having a “trap house” listening party, where his song, “In My System”— a song celebrating his cocaine usage—was playing. On the song, Dolph raps in part, “I got cocaine runnin’ through my motherf—in’ system.”
A young boy was present at the party and Pete Rock found the move unacceptable, expressing his outrage and disappointment on Instagram.
“What dat fool say? Lil kid right there chilliin,” he wrote, capping it off with a thumbs down emoji. “Cocaine running through his veins? This kinda sh– has got to stop. We gotta raise children better than this. Damn homie.”
The producer called Dolph “trash” and “hot garbage.
Young Dolph eventually heard about Pete’s comments and took offense, saying that he didn’t know Pete Rock.
“I don’t know u, and u don’t know me aparently [sic]… But u lame as fuk bra,” he wrote in a reply captured by AkademiksTV.
This latest exchange between a rap newcomer and hip-hop veteran seems to be indicative of the new space hip-hop has entered. While it’s easy to brush the arguments off as old vs. young, exchanges like this one in particular speak to deeper issues bubbling in the hip-hop community about social responsibility, youth culture, and hip-hop’s growth as a genre.
As the genre continues to grapple with these issues, you can probably expect to see more exchanges like this in the very near future.