Rap mogul Jay-Z has explained why retirement talk is nothing more than gossip and how he is still competing at the same pace as artists like Lil Wayne in the new Rolling Stone issue.
Despite being 40 years-old, Young Hov says his competitive nature has not slowed down.
“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 talked 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)
Rap pioneer Rakim also discussed the 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)
Recently, Mobb Deep‘s Havoc discussed why some 30 year-old newcomers should re-consider breaking into the music industry.
“Here’s my problem, now Jay-Z killed it, killed the game, he could do that and if somebody was in that same position, I feel they could do it,” Hav explained in an interview with DJ Vlad. “But if you haven’t already gotten on and you past 30, then I think you should [stop]. That’s my opinion and not to kill anybody’s dreams that’s trying because it’s just my opinion — it’s in my strong opinion that if you haven’t gotten on by the time that you’re 30 and you’re past your 30’s, try something else. And especially if you don’t have any money. Because then you’re wasting time. And there’s probably a million motherf*ckers 30 and past it that could prove me wrong, but I’m just saying in my strong opinion.” (Vlad TV)
The new Rolling Stone issue should be released this month.
Check out Havoc speaking on older rappers below: