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Aging rappers such as Rick Ross and Jay-Z are still on top

C. Stiles

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke says hip-hop artists are never too old to stop rapping.

Rick Ross recently celebrated his 36th birthday. Some folks might think the Boss is getting too old to make rap music. But Ross is just starting to hit his peak as a hip-hop entertainer. When pop music fans think of artists with longevity, they usually come up with rock bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones. However, why should hip-hop artists who are getting up in age ebb any differently? Rappers have shown they can stand the test of time even when people have written off hip-hop as dead.

Just look at the top performers in the game. Jay-Z and Eminem are 43 and 40. Neither dude is showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Jay-Z just did a wildly popular album with Kanye West, Watch the Throne. And Eminem received two Grammy nominations this year after getting ten nods, more than anyone else, in 2011.

The Beastie Boys are no spring chickens, but they're still going strong. The same can be said of rappers Snoop Dogg and Nas, both of whom first experienced success when they were in their 20s and 30s during the '90s, the golden era of hip-hop. Collectively, the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan are older than the real Shaolin monks who inspired them. Yet those cats are still touring and packing stadiums. Doug E. Fresh, at 46, is still killing it onstage too.

Hip-Hop is not some kiddie fad music anymore. The fans who got hooked on rap in the '80s are now inching closer to their 40s too. Does that mean the doctors and lawyers who as teens used to listen to 2 Live Crew and Uncle Luke are chilled-out now? Hell, nah. You'll see them at one of my concerts alongside their teenage children getting down to booty music just like those families that used to follow the Grateful Dead around the country.

As long as Jay-Z, Eminem, the Beastie Boys, and the Wu-Tang Clan can continue performing at a high level, there is no reason they should hang up the microphone. You don't see the NFL telling Madonna or Prince that they are too old to perform in the Super Bowl halftime show. A great entertainer, regardless of age, will always draw fans.

People think you have to be a young buck like Drake to have a great career in hip-hop. But we older artists perform better all the time.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.


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