Friday, October 14, 2011

Old Man Rap: Nas Still Got It, Son

(On Grantland)

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.



  1. Anonymous10/15/2011

    listen to jay-z for old man rap

  2. Anonymous10/15/2011

    We have to see more from Nas before using this as a measure of his old man rap game. Maybe the older you get the more you only get it up for one or two songs.

  3. I dig it, but it doesn't feel all that different or new (not that you're saying it is... are you?). Maybe: one artist's continuing struggle to demonstrate relevancy as he moves even further away from the roots of his medium... In this case, the relevancy has more to do with age? But still he spends the whole video showing how accepted he is by his community. Seems necessary now for a new reason, but like the problem isn't new...


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