Friday, January 25, 2013

[Commentary] Too Early For Hip Hop?

First time parents deal with many different situations for the first time and today we get a piece that dives into the question of when is it time to expose your young children to certain things and in this case Hip Hop.

By Gabriel Mendoza (@WeekendGabe)

 I’m 3 years in to a lifetime responsibility as the father of my incredible son.  We receive a lot of compliments about his behavior and contagious laugh from family members and friends, I would like to think my wife and I are doing okay as first time parents. With that being said, every day going forward the question in my mind is “what can I do to not screw up my son?” There are plenty things as adults we can do that can cause irreparable harm to a child’s character including emotion and behavior damage, so often times I catch myself in thinking if I should or shouldn’t do something involving my son because I will not be THAT parent. You already know.

As a contributor and reporter of this wonderful Hip Hop culture, I like many parents want my child to have the same likes as I do. Lately, I have been pondering when I should introduce my son to Hip Hop. Sure we have the radio on to an urban station during travel to satisfy my hip hop jones, and from his bouncing and head nodding I can tell he likes it, HE REALLY LIKES IT! Now that I know that much, what is the next step? Is it too early to introduce him to Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star? Can I begin to play Dilla’s Donuts at nap time to sooth his fatigue? I want him to get a nice smooth introduction in to.. you know? The good stuff. Where to begin, oh thou where to begin? With all things involving children timing is key, put them on the playing field too early they might get hurt, nurture them too long they become too dependent. The balancing act that comes with being a parent is unlike anything else you will do in life. My wants are not necessarily his and his wants aren’t necessarily things he should have. A balancing act that is a full time job.

In hopes of not embarrassing our family, I rather not have my son going to day care or any open family function dropping explicit words from something he heard me play. This explains why I never play music besides Soul records openly in our home, safety first people and always keep a pair of ear plugs near. Obviously the harder sound of Hip Hop is shelved my young son until he turns a responsible age like 15. Okay 31. So as I listen to record after record and mixtape after mixtape, as most of you have noticed the content has grown stronger with anger and less important about making a cool vibing song. I get it, not many artists are trying to ring in that 2 to 3 year age listening group. What about when my son gets to 5, 6 or even 10? Is that also still too young for an adult Hip Hop song? Some, if not most of the music out there is not designed for a listener that young to be bouncing and adhering to the harsh realities the music represents. Hell, sometimes I wonder if I’m old enough. The danger that lurks in the music has been written all too frequently, and everybody wants their child to have a childhood of smiles and laughs, so here I am aching for my son to be a part of something I’m so passionate about, but as we we’re all told as children at least once, maybe he’s too young.

Truth be told, I was never given the guiding hand to listening to music, whatever was on was on, the only warning I received was to never bump the record player. I’m confident most of us grew up this way minus the turntable instructions. Other than that, I was out there on my own to discover what the world had to offer, thank you MTV, BET and The Box (Music YOU control). So when I purchased Dr. Dre’s The Chronic on tape that was a choice I made, although a good one some might say, but for an 11 or 12 year old, the decision even today is a questionable one. I spent most of my time as a youth listening to gangster rap albums and understood that the lifestyle vocalized on the West Coast although true for them, was something of a fantasy to me. I didn’t live in Compton, I didn’t tote guns in school and I didn’t sell drugs to make it out the hood, thankfully I could decipher the two worlds but some take the words of a hip hop artist a bit too literal and that scares the hell out of parents everywhere. Including this one right here.

My parents played soft rock from the 70’s, 80’s R & B and Motown every Saturday and Sunday morning while growing up, so I have this eclectic sense of music I take pride in. Don’t you ever talk bad about Boston the band! I too want my son to have those same experiences and if he chooses a different genre from mine to like that’s cool, but liking what I like would be even cooler. I suppose tying my love for Hip Hop music and my son together is a way to form a tighter bond, but as I learned, life is much more than beats and rhymes. For now, I’ll put back Common’s Resurrection and continue listening to that worn out CD of Yo Gabba Gabba, I mean that’s kind of a introduction to Hip Hop right? So here I am worrying, when there’s nothing to worry about. Such a parent thing to do.

Representing The Hip Hop Culture: Mybsideblog.Com

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