What are kids listening to!?

It was 1999.  I was 17 about to graduate high school.  I only really listened to two radio shows at the time: The Wake Up Show, and We Came from Beyond with Mike Nardone.  Underground Hip Hop.  It was around this time that some of my friends and I would declare : “I don’t listen to the radio.”

The statement was our way of rebellion.  An “Overthrow the system.” type comment.  When I was in middle school MTV and BET played all kinds of music I never heard on the radio; but, by my senior year in high school both of those stations reflected commercial radio.

Then it got worse.

I had friends during college tell me they would drive in silence, or maybe play mix cds.  The radio was rarely turned on.

Once the iPod arrived, there was a point where I saw people everywhere with their earbuds in ALL the time, even IN THE CAR!

A lot of my peers now don’t listen to the radio at all.  A lot of the underground shows have changed or not around anymore.  It’s hard to dance all night at a club because a lot of “new” music sucks.  My friends would say we’re at the age where there’s a generational gap with music today.

I don’t believe that.

Good music is good music.

I’ve been asking younger people what they’re listening to, and in a lot of cases they’d say the same thing I said when I was a teen :“I don’t listen to the radio.”   In fact, many of them seem to be listening to the music I grew up to.

I once had a 15 year old tell me, “It’s not like when Biggie was out and people had good albums.”  He was born around the same year Biggie died. He doesn’t have the same context I had when I was 13 and Biggie stepped on the scene; yet, he feels a drop in quality albums just like my older friends.

I had a 19 year old on Myspace tell me he “…discovered a group called The Wascals” and had been bumpin’ them lately.  Little did he know me and my crew wanted to be just like The Wascals when we were in 8th grade.

A lot of the music coming out today is supposed to target young people with a more disposable income so they can buy albums, but a lot of them don’t seem to really be paying attention.  I can’t ask every young person in the world to verify it all, but even when I look at Youtube comments on old videos, I’ve seen some say  “I’m 13 years old and I love this song.  I can’t stand the stuff that’s out now.”

I guess not much has changed since I was in high school…



  • Yeah at 17, i can’t even recall the last time i turned on the radio or even wondered what could be on.

  • Well, it’s refreshing to know that they know that most of the music today is complete bullshit. LOL

  • That’s crazy to hear that even the kids that weren’t around when the transition happened know there’s something intrinsically wrong with the music. That’s pretty surprising & eye opening at the same time…

    Good work with this.


  • 01/19/2010 at 9:39 pm //

    Dope. Dope. Dope. Most folk settle for retelling their versions of what other people have said. U took it further & showed the youth speaking for themselves. Can’t wait to see what’s next.


  • good post fam! it’s a trip when kids run around dancin to SupaManDatHoe and it means ejaculating on a girl’s back & sticking a sheet on her back. and THAT is the hiphop kids today have. bring back Black Moon and backpack lyricists!!

  • so inspiring. all is not lost, they KNOW what’s up. i was losing faith! the kids ain’t fooled….

  • If it weren’t for my 15-year-old neighbor who loves great music and I therefore felt obligated to lace with a Wax Poetics subscription for his Christmas present, I would think all hope is lost. Thanks again for reminding me that it isn’t.

  • It’s good to know that good music always prevails…wait til’ they hear Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, Pink Floyd, Bjork etc… Diggin in the crates is what exposed to a lot of Musical treats. The Wascals….lol they were dope. Don’t forget about Anotha Level with the polos and curly tops.

  • 01/20/2010 at 12:51 pm //

    I enjoyed reading this Yohance`.That’s the beauty of living in the information /technology age. The internet allows one access to musical variety, making the radio OPTIONAL.

  • Wowzers! Some of these kids know more than I do, or at least more than I did when I was their age. Great stuff Yohance!

  • another reason why i think your super dope. but dag 1999 graduating high school i feel hella young. so funny the 9th graders ATCQ, ” i know enough, from myself.”

  • great work my dude. it’s ironic that the radio is trying to market the kind of music they do to the kids, when even the KIDS ain’t feelin it. I was really feelin dude’s music at the end man, nice to see youngins are still the future!

  • Really good insight into what young heads are listening to these days. Like Common once said… instead of just talking about how hip-hop has changed and fallen off, the key is create the kind of music you want to hear and then put it out, and hopefully the people will feel it.

  • 01/20/2010 at 10:51 pm //

    We have to convince our youth and our aspiring musicians that there’s an incentive to NOT JUST create music, but also invest real time, real energy, and real emotion into it. Music is incredible. It speaks directly to the soul. And Music is the only art form where you can integrate every other art form. Music can incorporate Art, Dance, Theater, and so much more because it is so universal. Music is all encompassing. Let’s develop the new generation of artists and there will be Change.

  • if this is any indication of how your site will continue to be, then I will definitely be bookmarking this page. Good shit. Very interesting, and the internet is missing it.

  • 01/21/2010 at 2:40 am //

    Emon is that dude!
    We just need more exposure and balance of the real I dont hate what exists we just need 2 know and believe theres ore than what we heard… Its coming back 2 the music though. It always does..


  • Great job on this Hance! It has been a minute since I’ve seen just straight discussion around a high school lunch table. Feeling really old seeing that, but not feeling so old in hearing that these kids share a viewpoint with folks our age. An interesting follow-up to this roundtable could be how the accessibility and almost innate use of technology and social networking sites influence the musical tastes of kids today. With the infiltration of iTunes, FB, MySpace, imeem, etc, the avenues through which to release and promote both commercial and underground hits are more readily available than ever before. Which is winning the war however? Can we successfully use social networking to kill the radio star? Keep it up!

  • Yea when I was younger (for me it was the 80’s) Hip Hop/Rap had meaning you could feel the emotion behind it. Someplace towards the end of the 90’s that emotion faded away and all that was left is what CORPORATE America (just about every other country too) thought would sell.

    My god what they thought would sell in the 50s was in no way, shape, or form Elvis Presly. And yet he is still several decades after his death an Icon and his music still sells.

    There are companies coming out today that KNOW it is about the fans. However there is a problem that many of them are facing. Music fans today are afraid to participate rather that is sharing great music with friends or otherwise promoting FOR FREE the great music they found. This is due to the record industry spending the last 10 years suing fans into submission.

    For the future of music we NEED TO RETEACH and motivate music fans to be just that FANS tell the world about the great music that isn’t being shoved down your throat because it has to be as it is WORTHLESS.

  • nice segment. glad to feature.
    i wouldn’t say listenin to the radio is bad though.
    just gotta know what artists to listen to.

    -Kid A *Korean American* KA Hip-Hop.

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