Hip-hop is one of the only genres where rappers older than 40 are often dismissed due to age. Masai Turner and longtime collaborator, producer Akil Esoon, are looking to change that perception with their rap group, Grxwn Fxlks.
On Sept, 18, the group recently released its song, “Grxwn Fxlks,” which features DJ Jazzy Jeff.
During a recent interview with “rolling out A.M. Wake-Up Call,” the duo shared its thoughts on their music and mature hip-hop.
Why does the industry often shun rappers when they reach a certain age?
Masai: This is an industry trick to ensure that your intellectual property has no value. If you look at your masters and catalog, record labels are keeping those recordings and licensing it out. Why would you tell a genre of music that is predominately Black to stop making it at 30? The reason is that by 30-35, you stop doing dumb stuff. You have more perspective and you’re wiser. Now those lessons are passed down generationally. It’s a ploy by record labels to make artists less [valuable] as they get older. If we allow people to tell us when to stop making culture, the culture would suffer. Imagine telling Miles Davis he could no longer make culture because he was too old. Imagine if Quincy Jones was told to stop producing records. It’s only rappers and R&B artists who have to go through this. They would rather an 18-year-old with limited experience to be popular in music.
On the song “Grxwn Fxlks,” you rap, “Be quiet when grown folks talking.” What was the inspiration behind that hook?
Masai: When you were at the dinner table as a child, some grandparents and parents told you to have respect. In this game, there often appears as if there is a lack of respect for alternate opinions and experiences. I realize the generational gap. When you think about your favorite rapper, he/she is probably not under 30. We believe there is an appeal to young rappers. But it doesn’t appeal to everyone. The music industry says you need a certain appearance to be successful. There is a niche that exists because it’s something that people have been waiting for.
What advice do you have for all artists?
Akil: Outgrow your yesterday. Learn how to move forward and not carry your yesterday with you. Put more into the bank of self-improvement.
Masai: Imagine if you tried something new. Continue to grow each day.