I’m an 80’s baby which means I grew up in the golden era of hip-hop. Even our rock-n-roll was grungier and riddled with that sub-rock style born and bread out west. We were rebellious, born into political turmoil and inequality, jumping up and down on our beds screaming “F*CK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!” Running wild in the night lost to the Jungle Riddims of field parties.
We had all the free spirited will of our hippie, outlaw parents and none of their reservations. They told us to be free thinkers and raised us on Zeppelin and hair metal. My own Mother never shied away from being a pot smoking misfit in her younger years. She made sure the importance of artistic expression was instilled in me. Sure she taught me how to discern with the Spirit and use my Bible but she always, always, always spoke of tolerance. Peace. Love.
“Keep an open mind. Just not so open your brain falls out.”-Mom Wisdom
The Dead Heads encouraged- and supplied- our treks into illicit chemicals that expanded the consciousness. They handed us the philosophies of Aldous Huxley, Tim Leary, Osho and watched with joy as we ate it up with little strips of acid on our tongues.
Shortly after they all watched in horror as we swallowed copious amounts of these powerful hallucinogens while watching slasher flicks. Just think of the kid in SLC Punk who was fried, that’s about the size of it. Our art was an angry graffiti scribbled on train cars. Even our version of woodstock erupted into riots that left 1,200 people in need of medical attention and left 4 women sexually assaulted.
What happened to the peace and love?
Sometimes I look back and ask myself if we were really any worse than the generations before us who were born into the same type of struggle and turmoil. I mean, the hippie movement we all look back on with glee also birthed the Black Panther Party and a lot of really serious revolutionary ideals. Sure, we amplified those ideologies to the max but we didn’t create them. In fact, it can be argued that the OG was actually birthed way back in the 1800’s. And. Marx was on a whole other continent.
The Bolsheviks acted the fool too, didn’t they?
I think the resistance we feel in those final years of our childhoods is the angst that screams WHY!?!
- Why must we chose a career that takes our will to be?
- Is it to attract the partner that’ll complete the look?
- To buy the house to fill with kids our Nanny’s will raise?
- Wait. We need a new car every two years right?
- Have you seen the new Tesla?
“It’s amazing. It drives itself so I can totally get road head from my mistress safely.” I know it seems crass but these are the echoes of a teenage rageaholic who’s learned to use his cynical sense of humor to mask the pain.
Were we so different from the ones who came before us? We were toddlers in the mix of Reaganomics and the crack epidemic, watching Saturday morning cartoons and McGruff the crime dog. Sprinkle in a few street gangs, have 4 cops beat a man senseless just to be acquitted, and watch Bradley Nowell get a new guitar and make a hit song about the whole bloody saga.
“Cuz everybody in the Hood has had it up to here, it’s getting harder and harder each and every year.”-Sublime
Civil unrest is timeless. People have been looking for ways to move beyond the monetary system since the moment we realized just how dangerous unchecked greed is. Most people become aware of these social issues as they come of age. You know, when our hormones go through their most drastic changes. Right then. Maybe that’s why every generation makes waves when they set out to leave their mark on the world.
Or maybe we know that inequality and injustice are wrong.
Maybe our kids will get it right.
I mean, why cry over spilled milk.
Don’t raise your eye.
It’s only teenage wasteland.