Like many, I was saddened by the recent murders of 22 year old rap artist, Doe B and 21 year oldĀ Kimbrele Johnson, who was killed by a stray bullet in the same shooting. I saw many rappers and executives take to social media and express their condolences to the families of those killed, and I don’t doubt their sincerity. But if we don’t actively work to change the culture of violence in our communities, and a music industry that celebrates, promotes, and profits off of Black death, then we can guarantee even more murders in 2014.

I made the song “21 Forever” because I was tired of hearing the same played out and destructive topics in almost every rap song that made it to the mainstream. Even worse, many of the artists performing these songs were in their mid 30s or older. These grown men are not just rappers, most are fathers and successful entrepreneurs. How come we don’t hear more songs about being in committed relationships, good parenting, and running a successful legitimate business? Why do we continue to hear the same hood stories of selling drugs and pimping women on repeat?

In 2014, with Hip-Hop turning 40, and many of it’s most successful representatives approaching middle age, will we finally grow up? Or will Hip-Hop be 21 forever?