A generation ago the West Coast, with the rise of Gangster Rap, changed the course of pop music with a turn away for fantasy and bright music to a much darker, reality-tinged music. Dead homies and the ghetto apocalypse softened by melody became a very successful formula. 20 years later, Murs and Fashawn drop This Generation to return Hip-Hop to reality and away from the hyper masculine fantasy of lies it has become.This Generation is a compact examination of society, Hip-Hop and a generation of men struggling to deal with urban archetypes along with the socioeconomic and political pressures of poverty. The album’s triumph stems from its expository examination of urbna culture on a personal level. Themes of drgus sex and crime are examined without romanticism or disdain. The duo question why negativity is the norm but maintain their ability to navigate this world as-is without despair.
On track “And It Goes,” Fashawn posits the reality of a young man under pressure:
Seeking a blessing, seeking direction/Lost in the reefer, knee deep in depression
Your problems are meager, not even an issue/Every day it’s a dilemna, I’m in need of a pistol
Murs takes his turn on “Heartbreaks & Handcuffs,” interpolating “Fight The Power” while examining the global landscape with efficiency and addressing education in a way that politicians are afraid to acknowledge:
20-12′s the number, another summer,Americans keep getting dumber
Billion dollar corporations still going under,Rest of the world still struggling with hunger
…come from the same hood with no hope, but never used that excuse to sling dope
These conversations are being had in music and Hip-Hop but major labels and media conspire to mute these instances or bury them with counter messages that stifle thought.
Even relationships are tackled in a mature manner on “Future Love,” which deals with taking responsibility for the failings of a relationship. No fuck you bitches or vitriol to the fairer sex, just tacit acknowledgment of the greed men have, even when we have nice things and good women.
The jazzy “Other Side” closes the album on a high and delivers the summation of the album. When you are yourself and not confined by the pressures of maintaining a facade, it’s much easier to be a dope emcee. Murs lays it down for fronting ass rappers on the lead verse:
I’d rather just be me free from all the politics, a dope emcee/
See my homies on the block when I’m back on the block/Don’t need an entourage on stage when I rock/
And shit if something pops off, it’s just a phone call to get the guns dropped off/
But game recognize game and everybody that I ever had a problem with is lame/
So it never came to that, so many suckers in this game of rap/
They really from the hood but they can’t go back/
And when it comes down to it they don’t really want to scrap/
So let’s chat about women, money,politics or how to save the children/
Cause if you’re really from the trap, you know what it is, you ain’t trying to go back
Couldn’t have put it better myself.
This Generation is full of thoughtful, engaging lyricism and intelligent discourse along with enough ignorance to keep your interest. There are times where the presence of one detracts from the individual strengths of the duo but there aren’t any musical missteps here. The album stands as more of a spotlight on who Murs and Fashawn are than an indictment of Hip-Hop and that’s by design. This generation leads more by example than finger pointing.
3.75 Out of 5
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