Versus just talking about this song, I’d like to explore the teen experience through modern social media. It’s a different world for them. They have different pressures I don’t think those of us who may have been born between like ’65 and ’75 don’t face. What was the equivalent of social media for us? The radio? The scuttlebutt around school? For any small town in Texas it was the Dairy Queen (equivalent of a City Hall or Community Center). There wasn’t an equivalent in 1987 to Instagram, YouTube, & SnapChat. It’s a different world for teens now.
What does it take to achieve fame or success as a teen? Is it the American Dream or something worse? We know that things tend to be a rough rough road for child stars, teenaged rockstars… those who achieve widespread popularity before the age of 16 or 18. It ain’t easy. I mean for every Brittney Spears where it worked out so well (still need sarcasm font)…there’s one in one-hundred Taylor Swift’s who it actually does seem to have worked out well with some semblance of normalcy. I mean the rails haven’t come off the Swiftie Train yet and we are rooting for her… but secretly don’t we expect something epic to unravel?
So maybe it’s a curse of coming up in this world as a pre-adult, a teen with infamous dreams of fame. Kids are just finding their way during those years and the freedom of adulthood can be pretty alluring, until we realize what it’s like to work 9-5 trying to take in more than you spend. Those first few solo grocery store visits are pretty fun. But the 10th one where you are scouring the ramen and tuna helper aisles…not so much.
The pathway to fame, in the day, from what I recall, was maybe writing that great american novel, making it through years and years of baseball, getting paid zip in the minors and maybe just maybe… having a shot at the pro’s, making that great album or song… but oh, wait, there’s 10,000 hours of practice and discipline built into that dream of fame. Like Britney says… you wanna a Maserati, drive a Bugatti… you gotta work *****!!
So the teenage American Dream, whether it be to star in an arena as a headliner, rock out your local club while thousands and thousands of other teens lose their ever-loving minds to your creation…. whatever it is… its happening. Lil Tecca, Lil Peep, Lil Pump, Lil Shock, Lil Mosey, Lil Skies…. Lil just about anything and that’s a teen who is achieving their version of success. But without the support systems in place that vision of fame can quickly become a Hotel California. For a cautionary tale, even though the Mumble or SoundCloud rap might not be your thing, Watch This Doc about Lil’ Peep or at least parts of it.
You may not understand your teen’s references to pop culture, be it the raps or whatever they and their friends are in to. But find a way, at least, to share that world. It may mean listening to music you’d never dream of listening to on your own as your teen and their posse or crew or whatever the lingo is…drive around and lose their ever-loving teenage minds. It’s what you do at that age. Search for your own thing, try to find your own path, and if fame happens to come, hope and pray it comes at least into their 20’s after they’ve got in 10,000 hours of practice. Those years will make it worth it.
Lil Shock, a North Carolina teen achieving fame and success. Looking for love, looking for his own path, finding a way in the world. But he sometimes, “just don’t know where to start.” Lil S, that’s some universal shi-ite right there. Get someone aged 51, ‘burb dad, fairly caucasian, but a Lil’ Native American… and they’ll tell ya, “you’ll be searching for where to start throughout your life young ‘un.” Don’t go seeking fame but learn to love the journey, because that’s life right there, live for the dash, that dash between birth and death. That’ll make you a Rockstar…and hopefully you experience many loves along the way. Peace, just a lil’ bit.