Too Old To Rap?
Thursday May 03rd 2007,
Filed under: Features,Magazine Vaults,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by:

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:

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on TumblrDigg thisShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

36 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Acclaim magazine is wack and I wouldn’t buy it. the KRS and Marley Marl joints are dope.

Comment by feed 05.03.07 @

I heard Marley and Krs album was supposed to be hot. I liked 2 joints from it at least. Is it that bad?

Comment by MERCILESZ 05.03.07 @

I should mention that I was talking about the KRS LP from last year, not the one with Marley.

Comment by Robbie 05.03.07 @

The Juggaknots joint is fire, quite simply.

Comment by Dallas 05.03.07 @

I like how that Juggaknots joint got that Jay sample in it … lol

MC Lyte is one old school MC that can still hold it down …. I know y’all heard that Wonder Years joint she did over that Primo beat …. Heat, can’t wait for a new lp from her!
Now MC Shan ….. omg …. did y’all hear that hot garbage from him …. I can’t even remember the name of that ish …. lol

Comment by Dotacus 05.03.07 @

That’s a pretty touchy topic, because the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney can keep making records and performing. Should rappers be put out to pasture when they et close to the big 4-0?
This could be a good topic for debate because the youth buy albums and hit up concerts.
P.S.-KRS-one will burn many of today’s mc’s in a battle.

Comment by ron gallardo 05.03.07 @

I don’t care how old you are, banging single moms isn’t advised. Breezly’s let his game decline.

Comment by Finally 05.03.07 @

to say rappers are too old…at any age is wack.
jayz is closer to grandmaster caz’s age than people think. people who think rappers have an age limit remind me of people who thought rap would be over by 85

Comment by cv 05.03.07 @

Regarding age limits – well- let the music speak for itself always. Fu-schnickens in the lab!? – Word!. What next? a UMC’s album? LONS re-union? could be a surreal year, especially if HardKnocks made a comeback and signed to Koch. That would be Dope.

Comment by P.m.ES 05.03.07 @

how comes that most of the good mc’s that be
rockin today are over their mid 20’s-30’s ?
even ‘newcomers’ like papoose, saigon or
joell ortiz aren’t that young. where are the
interesting freshmen?

Comment by swordfish 05.03.07 @

ps. i heard the slow suicide stimulus joint with
caz (bitch – the rick james of mc’s)
a few days ago. and i thought he was killin it.

Comment by swordfish 05.03.07 @

No it depend’s on how you present your self ,,Now if you think you can keep up with tha youngster more power to ya.
Me being older i know when and where because we are all getting older?
And we can learn from one aother,do what works for you ,…Shep-One

Comment by SHEP-ONE 05.03.07 @

HipHop would be nothing,if we did’nt have that balance of old school/todays music.
That’s like saying to the one who help open or keep the door open for the next.
For the Luv of this movement we should show some respect for those who pre-date our projects.

Comment by N.O.fivetracks 05.03.07 @

There is an audience for anything. If these people want to express themselves i will support them. The fan has a hard time trying to accept anything new. We tend to be the most ingornant in the idea of “updating” a style. How the hell does a 35 year old emceee going to sound like some 18 year old emcee.
We all get old. They might have some perspectives on life at that age they needs to be expressed.
I dont care however it is….i will listen to something with substance over any bullshit any day.
So if you are 45 doing your thing I will listen to it, if you are damm 18 i will listen to it. However I have to take the time to analysis and appreciate instead of saying…beats are wack…flow wack…not the same….that is some ignornant shit….
Love this site though…always provokes great dialogue…keep up the good work.

Comment by RebelM 05.03.07 @

damn, Robbie really has an agenda to shit on Jay!

Comment by BR 05.04.07 @

in Rob’s defense though that Juggaknots song really is truly dope

Comment by BR 05.04.07 @

What makes me laugh, is how today’s rappers, mock people that continue rapping after a certain age, especially 35, like they are the wannabe Peter Pan’s of HipHop

Comment by Kevin 05.04.07 @

Kevin – I think thats why Jay came up with the 30’s the new 20 bullshit..he must be feelin’ a tad jaded being an over 35yr old, hence the line. Throw this at the populace and mean it, you could probably go on and rap forever.

Comment by P.m.ES 05.05.07 @

I think it’s kinda stupid when young rappers mock older rappers on their age (Em-Everlast…?). I mean, everybody’s gonna get to that age eventually, right?


Comment by Question Marc 05.06.07 @

Exactly Question Marc, which is why I call them THE PETER PAN WANNBES OF HIPHOP

Comment by Kevin 05.06.07 @

Mc’s that talk about life and growing will continue to be support look at Masta Ace that guy could rap until he is 70 people will follow him because he talks about what has happened in his life.

Comment by Killer Keith 05.06.07 @

Really it’s not just about the age of a few rappers, it’s about the age of HipHop itself. This is a really interesting time – it’s a complete generation old now. I’m looking forward to when rappers hit 50 and what noise their 20 kids are making . . .

Comment by Comments R Us 05.07.07 @

I dont really give a shit how old a dude is, as long as he can hold it down…

Rakim is perfect example…Kane, and G Rap too…Mattafact, G Rap still sounds as fresh and as dope as ever…but being the Greatest Of All Time kinda gives you that, so yeah…

Jay Z…dude is STILL tryin to justify being 30 or whatever…tryin to fit in?

Mothafucka is pushing 40 at least…(not that it matters)…but…his music is suffering BADLY, and he should try and resign with Def Jam as Mr Pres…and quit with the rapping part of the business.

p.s. Ghost is around 40 i think…and dude is still dope…and Son God or whatever his son name is…is quite ill himself

cant say the same for GZA and his son tho

Comment by AFFEXalicious 05.07.07 @

If you grew up listening to these older cats and remember them in their respective heydays, you can’t help but be critical about how they come across in the modern era. They simply don’t have that same ridiculously, mind-blowing hot shit. Not to say they’re wack per se, but if you wore out your Kool G. Rap, BDK, KRS, Rakim cassette tapes back in the day cause you kept rewinding to catch up with that next level shit they were spittin and then realize that you’re only giving the new shit the once over and moving on, it’s quite disappointing. Aged rappers trying to stay relevant and looking to catch the ear of new fans in this flooded hip-hop market is a sad phenom man. I’d rather to listen to the old shit over and over than hear wack verses over equally wack beats.

Comment by sooch 05.07.07 @

But I truly believe that the issue also boils down to the fact that HipHop is WAAYYY too conservative these dayz for the older MC’s to make a mark today publicly…and if you want me to elaborate even more what I mean my TOO CONSERVATIVE I’ll be glad to

Comment by Kevin 05.07.07 @

The thing with older rappers is not that they’re wack, but with most of them, their music is still stuck in whatever era they were hot in. Either it’s that or they’re trying hard as hell (and to no avail) to fit in with the new era.

KRS is still good I suppose, but nothing he’s done in the last 10 years stands up against the music he did in his first 10. He may still be lyrically better than the Jeezys and Cam’ron’s of the world today, but the vast majority of his music is severely time-warped- thus making him “old”.

Even with a Jay-Z, I think his decision to intentionally draw a line between himself and the young guys made him “old”. He was the one rapper that the general public was ready and willing to welcome back, but his “I’m grown up” stance kinda made him seem like something for the old people. And hip-hop has NEVER been about being old.

Think about how it was in the ’90s- we weren’t tryin’ to listen to new records by Kool Moe Dee or Whodini… not because they didn’t have a chance in hell of a nice verse or two, but because we had long since moved on to others. Those dudes may have been in their early 30s at the most by then, but they were like senior citizens to us. We couldn’t have cared less about a new Busy Bee record or what-have-you, because even the most middle-of-the-road new group out there (i.e. Ill & Al Skratch) was more interesting. We knew those older dudes were legends, but legendary status and current relevance are two very different things.

Comment by DANJAMANIA 05.09.07 @

Well with HipHop being coined phases and terms “THE VOICE OF THE YOUTH” and being marketed that way, of course it would be more diffcult for older MC’s to stay active in HipHop

Comment by Kevin 05.09.07 @

Dope joint, Robbie.

If the older generation of MC’s would just stay in their own lane, the music might sound better. When they start catering the younger audience, they further water down the music.

Jay needs to get a late pass though on the whole “30’s the new 20” business…dude is going on 40.

Comment by Enigmatik 05.09.07 @

that juggaknots joints is butter, is it an lp joint or a 12″?
Anyone know where i can cop it on wax?

Comment by tareq 05.10.07 @

That song was on their “Use Your Confusion” album from last year. Should be on vinyl, although I haven’t got it on wax myself yet.

Comment by Robbie 05.11.07 @

This is a really good subject. I was so disappointed with Jay’s 30 Something, I couldn’t feel it AT ALL. I guess I should be a 30 something millionaire to appreciate the song.

My new favourite quote comes from Gift of Gab:

“Used to think 30 years old then the end comes,
Now I feel like I’m just gainin’ momentum”

-Blackalicious: World of Vibrations

Comment by Perttu 05.11.07 @

That Juggernots joint is fire!!!!This whole age thing in HipHop is wack,in Rap music I think age matters because it relies on gimmicks,but with HipHop we created our own rules heads have forgotten or just don’t know.Chuck D was 28 when he dropped”It takes a nation of millions”we didn’t care how old he was,the music was hot,and it was HipHop!! Today kids listen to rap,and rap encourages the old generation gap theory.-Thatruth

Comment by Roger Jones 05.11.07 @

but also remember Roger Jones, HipHop being tagged “THE VOICE OF THE YOUTH” encourages that age factor too

Comment by Kevin 05.12.07 @

Peace Kevin,I feel you on that,I hate the ploy that is being utilized today,putting HipHop and Rap under one umberella,That voice of the youth chant was perfect back when we had a stop the violence movement,today rap music had climbed to incredible heights and Hiphop is pushed aside.I argue with cats that say HipHop has grown past those old school ways,and I counter with,”if it has grown so big,then why don’t the”youth”know how and why the culture of HipHop got started?And more importantly who started it.Respect to the Zulu nation 4ever.-Roger

Comment by Roger Jones 05.14.07 @

im 40 years old and i still rap.all these young kids talk about is drugs, sex and jewelry. the older mc’s are more versitile. it doent matter how old u are. it’s all about your lyrical skills and how you flow to the beat.

Comment by tislamic 05.30.07 @

SLOW SUICIDE STIMULUS AND GRANDMASTER CAZ’S song “roll up” shits on anything anyone says on talent not being timeless.

Comment by casey 09.15.07 @

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>