UGK‘s Bun B recently talked about not wanting to retire and why stepping away from music seems unlikely as artists such as LL Cool J and Jay-Z are rapping into their 40’s.
From the 37 year-old rapper’s perspective, he still feels like a youthful solo emcee.
“I don’t know, because my solo career is still dawning,” he explained. “I look at the [LL] Cool J’s out there and the Hov’s, and they got the 10-albums-and-running type of situation. And people like Short Dog, who I think is on album 20 by now. So as a solo artist, I’m still kind of young in this game, but I have made some major steps. So maybe we’ll call me a late prodigy on the solo side. But we had some good moments.” (MTV)
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Jay-Z said he has been able to compete with artists like Lil Wayne despite being 40 years-old.
“One of the reasons I wanted to make Blueprint 3 was because of the challenge,” Jay told the magazine in a cover story out this week. “We’ve seen people like LL [Cool J] have longevity, and we respect the heritage of what he’s done, but it’s not like, right now, he’s competing on the same level as Lil Wayne. So for me to still be able to compete at that level at my age, that’s rarefied air. It’s never been done. I think the problem with people, as they start to mature, they say, ‘Rap is a young man’s game,’ and they keep trying to make young songs. But you don’t know the slang — it changes every day. You can visit the topic, but these young kids live it every day, and you’re just visiting. So you’re trying to be something you’re not, and the audience doesn’t buy into that. And people wonder why. ‘I made a great Southern bounce song!’ You’re from New York, and you’re 70! Why are you bouncing?” (MTV)
LL Cool J recently talked about not rushing out a post-retirement album.
“I’m starting to think about it and I am going to do it,” he told Extra when asked about a possible musical comeback. “The key is for me is that when I do it, it has to be really important and it has to be something original. It can’t be me trying to sound like what’s acceptable because this is what is played on the radio today because that is so tired and boring and no one really cares about it…It has to be something with some substance and some depth…Until I can create that kind of record I’m not putting anything out. I don’t care how many years it takes.” (Music Rooms)
Rap pioneer Rakim also discussed rap’s age issue with SOHH last fall.
“Yeah, I think what’s happening is, rappers are becoming, especially for people that love a rapper, rap and hip-hop come toparty,” Rakim explained. “You can’t just put it down. It’s not likesports where you know, you lose a step. You can lose skills in rapping of course, but it’s a little different man and I think sitting back and watching the R&B genre, you got, at any awards show and you see brothers like Al Green come out and tear it down. It’s longevity in R&B…I just touched 40, but still, I don’t plan on stop listening to rap anytime soon and I don’t plan stop rhyming no time soon and it’s that tug-of-war with the fans. Every time you see the fans or go to a show, they’re like ‘Yo, do another album,’ so it’s like that love between the two, the fans and your music. I think we should stretch out our age limit as far as hip-hop ’cause if that’s the case, I think when brothers grow up they just want to leave rap entirely and listen to other genres of music so I think there is room for a little mature sound of hip-hop, for the older, grown and sexy, whatever you wanna call it.” (SOHH)
Check out some past Bun B footage below: