Dear Joe, 

I hope this letter finds you well.

First off, I would like to thank you for your Hip Hop contributions. Your solo output and Slaughterhouse work helped formulate a sentimental rap era for me that I’ll always cherish. My veins will perpetually course excitement when the exhilarating sonics from “Pump It Up” command a room’s attention. My heart broke for you when I heard the melancholic story of your twins’ miscarriage on “Goodbye”. You’re such a skilled, passionate artist, Joe. But I think you need to mitigate your emotional Hip Hop attachment by approaching it more objectively, before you remove yourself from the genre indefinitely. 

I think that you mean well, but your abrasive, callous approach makes you unlikeable. Your palpable bitterness towards the “younger rap generation” widens the divide between you and this wave, ironically distancing you from Hip Hop. You feel incredibly disenfranchised and threatened by the new rap wave, so you compensate by consistently attacking it and its players. Mainly, Lil Yachty. 

During the recent “Everyday Struggle” interview with Lil Boat, you lost your cool on several occasions, probing his advice for you to “chill”. Your frequent irrational and condescending responses compromised your composure, making you appear unprofessional and immature. It’s as if you forgot that you’re a 36-year-old man speaking to a kid 17-years your junior. Your juvenile actions are growing into a sophomoric disposition. 

You seemed genuinely upset that Yachty’s victory path doesn’t adhere to a traditional Hip Hop route, even though you agreed that music’s changing landscape affects an individual’s revenue generation. I would think that you’d respect a kid’s hustle to increase his bottom line, and relish in his success—not try and tear him down. Lil Boat is strategically taking advantage of his skill set by leveraging his brand for alternative opportunities, like Sprite and Target commercials, because he thoroughly understands his business and the marketplace. He is a smart, savvy kid. And you come off as a despondent, angry old man—angry that a teenager is finding success through untraditional means, with an untraditional image in your domain. Your resistance to change will bury you, Joe. You disguise this hostility as protectiveness by “looking out for his best interests” because you don’t want to see him exploited by Capitol, which I appreciate, but you don’t have a leg to stand on.

You exude this off-putting self-righteous demeanor, and narcissistically expect a 19-year-old kid to present you with his 10-year plan. And why should he give a damn about your unsolicited opinions? You frequently slander him behind his back, saying that “I don’t think Yachty is Hip Hop,” and that Yachty “is ruining the culture.” Those are you words, Joe. Don’t act surprised when he meets your hostility with virulence. That’s what happens when you constantly belittle someone—they get defensive. It’s kind of sad to see you, this once grand Hip Hop presence, so upset and intimidated by a kid and what he represents. At the end of the day, I feel badly for you, Joe. 

You’re clearly unhappy. While you wouldn’t ever admit it, you use that depression as ammunition against someone’s joy. You’ve grown into a caricature of an angry old man. I think you feel slighted in the rap community because your talent went under appreciated, and now you're seeking vengeance against successful kids. You are a fantastic lyricist who respects this game so much that you’ll hoist yourself on your own petard blindly defending it. But your anger is festering, and cannibalizing your credibility. So you displace that anger on those who are winning with a formula that is the antithesis of your approach. I get it, Joe. You respect the craft, the artistry, playing with words and ideas. It must be difficult to see a 19-year-old with red braids, wearing $500k worth of jewelry, win off watered-down bars that impart euphoria, and neglect conventional rap topics.  

I don’t say all of this to attack you, I say it to help you. I want you to be remembered for your thought-provoking lyrics, not for a defiant stand against innovation, or verbal fisticuffs with a kid half your age. But Joe, tread cautiously down this road—a legacy can be tarnished as quickly as it was established. 

I wish you all the luck in the world with “Everyday Struggle,” and hope you find your happiness. 

All the best,

Zach Hurwitz