SUGA -T Talks Ageism and How the 50th Anniversary can Unite all Women and Men Hip-Hop Artists

Suga T Talks Ageism

We need to Unite as we near the end of this milestone!

Now is the time that Hip Hop needs to come together for another 50 years”

— Suga T

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, November 6, 2023 / — Public Relations Director
Alexis Levi

During the Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Dr. Suga-T Stevens, BKA, Suga T a veteran hip hop artist, speaks about ageism in the industry. She highlighted the challenges faced by older artists, newer artists and the lack of cohesiveness between the two. Suga-T states, “We all need each other, in the 90’s Suga-T was through the door right with MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Salt and Pepa, Roxanne Shante and Yo Yo.” “In the 70’s it was Sha Rock and Lady B. Then came Suga T and The Click (1984), Lil Kim, Biggie and P Diddy, Eve and DMX and Missy and Timbaland, Remy Ma and Big Pun and Fat Joe.” “Nicki Minaj came in and became the Highest Selling Rapper as we in the beginning got older and assumed other responsibilities. Cardi B became the Most Certified Rap Artist, branding herself using controversy on the reality shows. New Artists like Doja Cat, Meg the Stallion, Yung Miami, Latto, Ice Spice, Sawette and Flo Milli and so many more are coming in the future, and have the digital space to play harder with.”

“What we have to remember is that 50 years have gone by but a lot of artists are still here and we have lost a few. Those still around have true followers and we should be thinking about how to make sure we sustain another 50 years and more for all of us to get our equitable and equal opportunities.”

Suga-T expresses her witnessing of the industry obsession with youth and how it often overlooks the talent and experience that older artists bring to the table, “I want to challenge the industry and especially Northern California to make the next 50 right.” “She emphasized that age should not be a determining factor in an artist’s worth or relevance, especially when the northern california bay area women offer one of a kind trendsetters that brought a lot of innovation and game to the Hip Hop Industry”. “ The West Coast has had too many gatekeepers which in turn pushes artists to Los Angeles to try to get visibility.” “The hip hop industry has historically been dominated by younger artists, with a focus on the latest trends and sounds.” “This has created a culture where older artists are often pushed aside or forgotten, despite their contributions to the genre or to society.”

Suga-T shares that “the cycle must be broken and calls for a change in this mindset, urging the Industry and followers recognize and appreciate the wisdom and creativity that older artists possess.” “She emphasized the importance of giving them a platform to showcase their skills and continue making meaningful contributions to hip hop, while providing the same equitable and equal opportunities that they deserve.”

Furthermore, Suga-T highlighted “the need for more diverse representation within the industry, including artists of different ages, backgrounds, and perspectives.” She argued that this would not only benefit the artists themselves but also enrich the overall hip hop culture, their fans and community.” “Many of us have raised generations and stood through the test of time and that should be appreciated and admired.” “The fact that I have a catalog of gold and platinum hit records up to date, along with releasing a 25th album, is a miracle.” But without my persistence and knowledge regarding the machine, I could not have ever accomplished it.” “We often end up in the shadows of our counterpart, and have to find creative ways to get out of it.”

Overall, Suga-T, comments shed light on the issue of ageism in the hip hop industry and the need for a more inclusive and supportive environment for artists of all ages. Her words serve as a reminder that talent and creativity should not be limited by age, but rather celebrated and embraced. She eluded that ” wisdom is celebrated in many cultures and Hip Hop seems to be the only industry that continues to push the cycle of youth being the head and the older that you get the more you become buried”. She also relates that “if 2 pac was here. It would never have gone this far because he understood the value of the women with Big Momma Game.”

“This systemic trauma oppresses the artists who have to work ten times harder, while getting paid ten times less. While, the older men in Hip Hop reap far more benefits than the older women in Hip Hop, especially on the West Coast, Bay Area, Northern California. Unfortunately, this same behavior leaks into community and societal behaviors and has been a gateway to those that model this behavior causing dysfunctional behavior of youth not appreciating or respecting their elders. Us who raise generations, take on real women’s responsibilities, keep balance and messages of content that bring other views, are needed as Big Mommas and Aunties in the Hip Hop Rap Game.” “ If it does not change it will be a vice to itself. It’s all self destructive behavior.”

Tenina Stevens
Sprinkle Me Social Enterprise
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