Filed under: Features,Magazine Vaults,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Talk of “grown folk” music used to mean trading in your M.O.P. CD’s for some Jill Scott, but it’s becoming a topic of talk for more and more MC’s as many long-serving rap troopers are now entering middle-age. Underground stalwarts the Juggaknots tackled the issue with fellow elder statesmen Sadat X on “30 Something”, while boardroom bandit Jay-Z swagger-jacked the concept and song title a month later for his return to “official” recording.
Beyond the name, however, both songs are worlds apart in terms of their content and delivery. While (not so) Young Hov sounds more than a little defensive with his boasts of big bank ballin’, Breeze Brewin is a lot more comfortable with the relentless progress of Father Time as he points out that “if you stay nice it’s always your prime-time” while noting that he now has to watch his cholesterol levels. S. Carter boasts that “I don’t buy out the bar/I bought the night-spot” while Breeze laments the fact that “the scene is rough/seen some veterans treated like senior citizens, with niggas like ‘I seen enough’/and stay shoutin’ out ‘when you gon’ quit?'” The fact that one of these lyricists is attempting to justify his relevance to the 2006 rap game – while the other embraces a financially uncertain future – speaks volumes of their respective positions in the rap food chain.
Although Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane and Grandmaster Caz will still be able to “tear the show up” in ten years from now, I’d rather have teeth pulled with rusty pliers than listen to KRS-One‘s last record – and most rap fans seem to share this sentiment. These guys haven’t let their skills slip up over the years, but still struggle get heard in today’s over-saturated market. Whether it’s poor beat choices or attempts to sound up-to-date with “new improved” deliveries and an unhealthy reliance on modern slang, very few veterans are getting over. Aside from a handful of exceptions, while the older breed of MC’s are still welcome on stage, the record game will forever be a young man’s sport.
Jay-Z “30 Something”
Juggaknots featuring Sadat X “30 Something”
Originally published in Acclaim magazine #5:
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