Lil Wayne refuses to embrace hip-hop’s new generation, Zombie Juice is appalled at their lack of attachment to the art form, and Cassidy doesn’t think their work should even be considered “rap,” but not every artist over the age of 25 has given up on the youth.
Despite his advanced age, Yo Gotti, 36, seems to understand the mindset of hip-hop’s latest incarnation and, in a new interview with XXL for their 20th Anniversary, made clear he has no problem with their music or their attitude.
“The new generation, I don’t think it’s intentional disrespect, I just think they don’t really give a fuck,” Gotti told XXL. “I’ve been around several artists who, like—I always knew I wanted a Kanye West feature or a JAY-Z feature. When I was starting in the game, when it didn’t even feel realistic to happen, I already knew who I wanted to do records with. I don’t think the young kids think like that. They might not even pick up the phone if you reach out. But I think they shit cool too, though.”
It’s hard for me to believe that a Lil Pump or Smokepurrp or Lil Xan would ignore a phone call from Kanye or JAY-Z, asking to work with them on a new record or album, but Gotti’s sweeping assessment of today’s generation is pretty spot-on.
The children infiltrating the rap game on SoundCloud have carved out massive online followings without the help of anyone in hip-hop’s ivory tower. While Gotti and many of his same-era peers, especially those who broke out in smaller cities like Memphis, Tennessee, had to rely on connections and co-signs from bigger names in order to get a deal or breakthrough, the internet has afforded younger talent the luxury of non-reliance.
Yo Gotti isn’t all words and no actions, either. Over the past few years, he has worked with Young Thug (“Rihanna”), Kodak Black (“Weatherman”), Blac Youngsta (“Wait For It”) and Smokepurpp (“I Don’t Know You”), among others.
You don’t have to like the music, but hip-hop’s new generation, like it or not, is part of its evolution.