New York rapper Ja Rule recently spoke on aging rappers like Jay-Z and why hip-hop will not allow them to become irrelevant.
Rule believes Jay can still be successful because hip-hop has continued to grow and mature.
“It’s always going to be a youth-driven business,” Ja told DJ Vlad in an interview. “It’s basically a rebellious music, a music of the culture, of the now, it changes constantly, so it’s always gonna be youth-driven. But here’s what you got to understand, as hip-hop gets older, so does the audience. I grew up listening to hip-hop, my kids are growing up listening to hip-hop, we listen to hip-hop together. So I’ll get a Blueprint III album for myself and they may want New Boyz. It’s a perfect contrast, let it be what it’s gonna be. Hip-Hop’s not going anywhere because the older we get, we’re still listening…You gotta think 60 years down the line, if I’m a 60 year-old dude, I think I’m still gonna be listening to hip-hop…I don’t think there’s an age limit on hip-hop anymore, like I said, it’s always gonna be a youth-driven music but we’re growing up and we’re getting older and we’re still listening to hip-hop so, there’s an audience for it all.” (Vlad TV)
In a recent interview. Jay talked about still being able to compete with young artists like Lil Wayne despite being over 40.
“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)
Last year, Jay-Z chopped it up about nearing 40 and still wanting to have a long-run in hip-hop.
“I hear it all the time — ‘Yo, he should let the young guys, the new generation of guys come in,'” Jay explained in an interview. “But you don’t become the front-runner in music because someone lets you. You have to claim your shoes…If you grow up listening to hip-hop, you love hip-hop and that’s the end of it. But if you’re a 30 year-old rapper still trying to make music like you’re 15, then you’re making it narrow. At my age, I can’t relate to a 15 year-old. I deal with mature and relevant topics for my age group — it has to all be based on true emotions. The more diversity and the more mature we make hip-hop, the bigger the net you cast.” (Reuters)
Earlier this year, The LOX‘s Styles P discussed placing a timetable on his rap career.
“You can’t rap forever. We got young D-Block, I’m still in the [rap] game but eventually I gotta pass the baton but eventually I’ll be out of the relay. It’ll be all on them and I can just spot check when I want to. I think a lot of rappers and emcees forget to pass the torch and open the door for other people. So when I do do that and I’m not playing the whole game, I wanna do something where I ‘can’ play the whole game — around six, seven more years so I can relax and do the whole book thing…” (Mr. Peter Parker)
Check out Ja Rule’s interview below: