Is there room for aging rappers in hip-hop culture?

It’s common to hear today’s rap fans dismiss 
middle-aged artists as “washed up” old heads with nothing more to offer. While I agree that there are some rappers (young and old) who are better off bagging grocery than trying to “make it rain” in the club, this argument is a knock on the bevy of able veterans who’ve helped keep hip-hop relevant.


There’s only room if they can still produce. Its as simple as that. You don’t have to be making music currently to maintain the fact that you are a legend. We don’t need to hear their newer stuff to appreciate the music they made that actually matters. If they retire, its not like what they did goes away. That history is still there and will never leave. And no, music artists of any genre don’t get better with age. In most cases, the best stuff is the first album. Nas’ best: Illmatic. Jay-Z’s best: Reasonable Doubt. Dr. Dre’s best: The Chronic. Sometimes, they get a little better, but at a certain point, they peak and everything else pales a little bit in comparison. Jay-Z, Nas, and Eminem can still play, but I think I’ll check out Curren$y before I check out Ice Cube’s new album.

—Guest Jonathan

Legends are Always Legends

I personally believe that to this day aging rappers still produce the most lyrically inclined music. Modern day rappers want to talk about who they killed and who they had sex with, when old school wants to discuss life and what it means. Why would I want to listen to Lil Wayne make up a word just to make a rhyme when I could put on some Sir Lucious Left Foot and hear Big Boi spit fire. Or why would I listen to the Game dis everyone alive when I could listen to Jay-Z flow like water while ignoring his childish comments. No I believe the exact opposite, I say we stop letting lame mainstream rappers emerge on to the scene until they can prove they know what real rap is
—Guest Horace

Imagine If soulja boy was vintage

If it were not for the greats when you had to actually have talent I don’t know what we’d do now. I can out rap most of these clowns nowadays.—Guest bostic

Definitely Fine Wine

Rakim said it best “Timeless, cause age don’t count in the booth, when your flow stays submerged in the fountain of youth” That being said, I certainly don’t mind “aging” rappers making music. If you can still flow and have a passion for it, then you can go ahead and do whatever you please. Besides, with all these new and young rappers coming in to Hip Hop today we need the elder statesmen to stay and make music. To teach the young ones a lesson and to help to keep the music alive.— Guest bigpoppa1115

aging rappers

i too cherish older rappers its like looking at ancient Egypt and seeing the mighty pharaohs who built this genre and as long as they can create something worthwhile it really dosent matter i mean think about it there are old gospel and rand b singers still gardnering attention why should hiphop be restricted to kids who know so little of its roots and true meaning not just rump shaking and club hopping but expressing oneself artically i myself am a 16 year old rapper heavily influenced by 90’s rap and without it we’d just be another fatherless child struggling to find our way.
—Guest avarice

Fine Wine or Fast Food?

Any rapper who has at least put out a classic album should never put down the mic. The whole thing about a “washed-up” rapper at age 35-40 is bogus anyway; a rapper can be 25 years old and become washed-up because he’s not “bringing that heat” from his first album, so age doesn’t matter. The last thing I care for is age, because musicians in any genre are supposed get better with time, not worse. Of course they’re not gonna sound like their 25-year-old selves, but that doesn’t make any album any worse. And no one is gonna get me to say that hip hop is dead, but it is, it’s because of the lack of respect for the older rappers. Hip hop wouldn’t be what is if it wasn’t for the older generation. Not to mention that this is a culture, not a sport. Joints and bones wear out, but if a rapper is that good, he can keep going until he becomes a mute or goes deaf. There are more important issues with hip hop than age anyway, like a lack of positivity and the female dilemma.—Guest Mark Sylvia

Better with age

Well as with wine, rappers get better with age. If you listen to most middle aged rappers today and compare them to how thay sounded 10 yrs ago, you’ll find that they make alot of sense now. A good example is Cube. In his most recent album he actually he got lots of advice for the younger generation, which is how it should be. Just like in African Societies, the elderly share their life experiences so that the youth cannot make the same mistakes they did; the case should be similarion hihop.—Guest Lumumba

Where are the instant classics?

All the young rappers are standing in the shadow of the older ones, that’s my opinion. If they made half a reasonable doubt or half an illmatic they would be stepping out of the shadow. I think the older rappers are the reason why the whole rapscene still makes sense. I think they will know their time has passed when there’s an instant classic from a younger rapper, but the truth is that no young rapper seems to be capable to produce that kind of albums anymore. No?—Guest Bob

They built this house!

Is there room? It’s a tragedy that this question even has to be asked! The names mentioned in your article along with their predecessors are the reason that this genre has exploded to what it is today. I was just thinking the other day when Michael Jordan was introduced into the basketball hall of fame, that the greats always seem to go by too fast. I know I’d never get tired of seeing M.J. hit the last minute buzzer beater to win the game or his awesome air time. There are so many awesome talents in sports that are rushed into retirement for the next up and coming rookie of the year. We should be so thankful that it doesn’t require the ultimate body to be the hip-hop equivalent of Michael Jordan. With hip-hop, we don’t have to set age restrictions. As long as the gift is there and they results are the same, age definitely should not matter. We should embrace the fact that it doesn’t! Don’t rush those who can still perform into retirement! Cherish them!—Guest Stacy Pearson

Older Rappers Lead the Way

I have a friend who exists on the other side of the hip hop spectrum. I like older rappers and the younger rappers that emulate them, and she likes the rappers that rap about sex and the club who should take a lot of pointers from their elders on how to rap. I respect both equally for what they’re able to accomplish off of their talents, but the same respect should be paid to all rappers equally and if not, more to the ones that put rap on the map.—Guest David


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