The proliferation of the Internet has played a huge part in this generation chasm phenomenon in regards to Rap listeners as well. Older heads who were present during the Golden Eras usually don't understand the appeal of Max B, Lil' B, French Montana, Future, Migos or many other rappers popular today. Let's finish this by going back to my point about how Rap is still viewed as being a part of a “youth culture.”
One of the key issues Rap is having (besides it being at it's all time low point both creatively and lyrically at the mainstream level) is many of the top MCs have been in the game in excess of a decade. In the early days of Rap, having a 10 year career was astonishing. Now Jay-Z and Nas have been around since the early 90's and several other rappers that are still relevant are holdovers from previous eras. When the biggest star in Rap music is 44 years old and the genre has appeared in recorded form for 35 years at some point it ceases being a “youth culture.”
When Rap was the dominion of young, hungry, inventive MCs that would push the boundaries of the artform to the point the previous generation had to hand over the reins it was different. In 2014, MCs like Black Thought who have careers spanning two decades can still dispatch any young lions in the game.
The fact is, the new waves of MCs can't force the old ones out of the game anymore. This puts Rap into a new space that it's never before experienced. This resentment from the younger cats that can't take the game over adds to the generation gap. What we're currently left with is a huge chasm akin to the Grand Canyon in width and depth.
The fact of the matter is that my generation, the one that retreated to the underground like the Morlocks from the X-Men comic books is in large part to blame for this generation chasm. We're the ones that broke away and didn't do for the youth what the older kids did for us. We let our little brothers, sisters & cousins gleefully recite “Bling Bling” and instead retreated to our headphones and played Common & Sadat X's “1999" to combat it rather than actively bridging the gap. Now I'm just left sitting in front of a MacBook wondering “What if?”…