In Never Scared, Chris Rock had some fun riffing about what it was like to be a 39-year-old hip-hop head. And I can personally remember The Chronic dropping and talking with friends about how this would be our generation’s smooth-jazz retirement music. I’m still looking forward to bumping “Let Me Ride” as I lean back playing some Bingo at the Soundview Senior Center.
But what about when the rappers get old? Back in the day, KRS-One famously rhymed “No one’s from the old school, cause rap on a whole isn’t even twenty years old / Fifty years down the line you can start this.” Well, it’s not quite fifty years, but we’re getting close! And with Jay-Z and the Roots' Questlove and Black Thought over the hill, and Em turning 39 in a few days (Happy Birthday!), it feels like we’re ushering in a new era of Old Man Rap. I’d call it a Renaissance except it’s really the first time we’re seeing our platinum rap stars approach their platinum anniversaries.
I got to thinking about this because the ever-youthful-looking Nas, who is working on the tenth album of his 20-year career, and now pushing 40, dropped the video for his first single “Nasty" (below). It's a little sample of what his Old Man Rap game looks like.
CONTINUED ON GRANTLAND