“I am looking forward to the death of rap,” he said. “I’m looking forward to music coming back to lyrics and melody, instead of just talking. A song, as far as I’m concerned, is by definition lyric and melody… or just melody.”
He expanded on his comments by noting that all genres are cyclical. “Rap will die,” he reiterated. “Next year, 10 years from now, at some point, and then something else will come along. And all that is good and healthy.”
Simmons also said his background dictated his feelings on rap. “I don’t have the cultural background to appreciate being a gangster,” he explained. “Of course that’s not what it’s all about, but that’s where it comes from. That’s the heart and soul of it. It came from the streets.”
On Friday (March 18), rapper Talib Kweli fired back at Simmons on Twitter. “Would it be unfair of me to say I’m looking forward to the death @genesimmons or nah?,” he wrote, alongside a screenshot of his Rolling Stone interview. “Chuck Berry shits on Kiss,” he added, name-dropping the rock n’ roll pioneer.
Simmons — who has criticized rap’s inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the past — later responded to a Twitter user asking if the RS quote was accurate. “Save this,” he wrote. “Everything has it’s [sic] day. Rock. Folk. Raga. Doo Wop. New Romance. Grunge. Alternative. Rap. Wait n see.”
Save this. Everything has it’s day. Rock. Folk. Raga. Doo Wop. New Romance. Grunge. Alternative. Rap. Wait n see. https://t.co/58ycjkMHOL
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) March 17, 2016
Simmons later tweeted, “Apparently pointing out that everything is cyclical — even music — is ‘controversial.’ People are very easily offended.” Kweli directly responded to the tweet on his own Twitter account, writing, “Pointing out everything is ‘cyclical’ is different than ‘looking forward’ to things dying. Do better Gene.” The Brooklyn-born rhymer also offered him rap legend KRS-One’s lyrics on Instagram.
Apparently pointing out that everything is cyclical – even music – is “controversial”. People are very easily offended.
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) March 18, 2016
Pointing out everything is “cyclical” is different than “looking forward” to things dying. Do better Gene. https://t.co/7OJHZLHPdf
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) March 18, 2016
In the interview, Simmons also said R.I.P. to rock: “As far as I’m concerned, rock is dead.”
Reps for Talib Kweli and Simmons were not immediately available for comment.