READ: Dawn of the Hip-Hop Father
It seems everywhere we look now; social media channels are flooded with Hip-hops new obsession; children. From the long-awaited arrival of Beyoncé’s twins to Asahd Khaled, artists are now being more public with their children and being more open with the trials that come with parenting, Chance the Rapper, after defeating an addiction to Xanax has spoken time and time again how his daughter being born completely changed his life, but Chance isn’t the only artist were seeing change in. This year alone Donald Glover, J Cole, Wale, and DJ Khaled have all become first time fathers and its clear they are not shy about it. This isn’t the first generation of hip-hop fathers, but the first were seeing true fatherhood come from, but why now?
The absence of fathers in the late 80’s and early 90’s gave the founding fathers of Hip-Hop no role models besides ones they would never know. With the absence of strong father figures, they turned to greats such as Malcom X, Huey Newton, and TV dads, who seemingly could give some sort of diluted knowledge that could be absorbed through regularly scheduled programing. “No love from my daddy, ‘cause the coward wasn’t there/ he passed away and I didn’t cry, ‘cause my anger/ wouldn’t let me feel for a stranger” on Dear Mama, Pac reminisces on the struggle of growing without a father, but that vulnerable quickly turns into anger a couple of bars down, some rappers were more ruthless like Ice Cube who simply put it “F--- my daddy” on Westside Connection.
The question remains, how did Ice Cube, along with countless other fatherless father in hip-hop change the parental game and become positive role models for their children?
Positivity. Making positive music about fatherhood, showing off their children “I’ve been too quick with the advice / I just wanna be right like a dad right," (Broad shoulders, Chance) or in Childish Gambino’s, Little Boy, Glover begs the mother of his child to not take the child away, cleaving to the life he created “ Oh, thinkin’ ‘bout the time we spent/ fallin in love together/ I don’t wanna leave you,/I don’t wanna deceive you’.
The selfless action of trying to be a father with no knowledge on what it means to be a father is the bravest thing a man can do. Ballads such as I Love you So Much by Dj Khaled and Chance the Rapper “Mom and Daddy, love you/There's nothing that you can't do/You the greatest that ever did it/You're born blessed”
Some A-List parents are opting for less of a public spectacle of their love for their children, such as Snoop Dogg, who openly supports his kids, but has never pushed them into the spot light. He believes “By you creating so many different avenues and options, you created this. You helped you son find his way…But this—he don’t have no shoes to follow."
The reward will be reaped in the coming generations where were going to see more and more unapologetic and loved boys, raise children of their own as they become fathers. Maybe through these great examples this handful of fathers is giving to us, this counterattack on absentee fathers may change the way fatherhood in hip hop looks forever.
Words by: Hana Tadesse