O.G.’s Rule: These 21 rappers will turn 50 this year!

(February 9, 2020).  Remember when you thought MC Hammer was old?

That was way back in 1990, and the Hammer was only a sage 28-year-old then.

But 28 was considered ancient back in hip-hop’s early days.  Rapping was considered a younger man’s domain in the 1980s and ‘90s, with labels trotting out new young artists left and right while seemingly abandoning those who were approaching there 30th birthdays.  

Hip-hop has been around long enough now that several of its pioneers have now already crossed the half-century mark.  Some – like Wonder Mike (of Sugar Hill Gang), Ice-T, Flava Flav, Grandmaster Flash, and Kurtis Blow, for instance – are even past the 60-year-old milestone, while another – Public Enemy’s Chuck D – will join that club this August. 

Yet a whole slew of rappers – many of them ‘90s legends – will hit the Big 5-0 this year, joining superstars like Jay-Z, Ice Cube, P. Diddy, Wyclef Jean, Roxanne Shante, MC Ren, Masta Killa, and RZA, all of whom reached that milestone in 2019.  

LL Cool J, Run-DMC, Rakim, Dr. Dre, Salt-N-Pepa, Kool Moe Dee, KRS-One, Will Smith, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Biz Markie, C.L. Smooth, Erick Sermon, Doug E. Fresh, Too $hort, Kool G Rap, Everlast, The D.O.C., Vanilla Ice and, of course, Hammer are among the other rappers who were already in the 50-plus club.

Here’s a list of the O.G.’s who will join that club this year – and the list is huge, with many of them still doing their thing on and off the mic as we enter the 2020s.

Check out these soon-to-be golden boys and golden girls of hip-hop (including four members of the Wu-Tang Clan), along with their birthdates:

1. Raekwon the Chef (Wu-Tang Clan) – January 12, 1970

Raekwon (real name: Corey Woods)

2. Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) – January 12, 1970

Zacharias Manuel de la Rocha

3. DJ Quik – January 18, 1970

DJ Quik (real name: David Marvin Blake)

4. Queen Latifah – March 18, 1970

Queen Latifah (real name: Dana Owens)

5. Q-Tip – April 10, 1970

Q-Tip (birth name: Jonathan William Davis; now Kamaal Ibn John Fareed)

6. Redman – April 17, 1970

Redman (real name: Reginald “Reggie” Noble)

7. Cormega – April 26, 1970

Cormega (real name: Cory McKay)

8. Master P – April 29, 1970

Master P (real name: Percy Miller)

9. Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan) – May 9, 1970

Ghostface Killah (real name: Dennis Coles)

10. B-Real (of Cypress Hill and Prophets of Rage) – June 2, 1970

B-Real (real name: Louis Freese)

11. Spice 1 – July 2, 1970

Spice 1 (real name: Robert Lee Green, Jr.)

12. Monie Love – July 2, 1970

Monie Love (real name: Simone Johnson)

13. Inspectah Deck (Wu-Tang Clan) – July 6, 1970

Inspectah Deck (real name: Jason Richard Hunter)

14. WC (of Westside Connection) – August 9, 1970

WC (real name: William Calhoun, Jr.)

15. Fat Joe – August 19, 1970

Fat Joe (real name: Joseph Antonio Cartagena)

16. MC Lyte – October 11, 1970

MC Lyte (real name: Lana Michelle Moorer)

17. Scarface – November 9, 1970

Scarface (real name: Brad Terrence Jordan)

18. Warren G – November 10, 1970

Warren G (real name: Warren Griffin III)

19. U-God (Wu-Tang Clan) – November 10, 1970

U-God (real name: Lamont Jody Hawkins)

20. Treach (Naughty by Nature) – December 2, 1970

Treach (real name: Anthony Criss)

21. DMX – December 18, 1970

DMX (real name: Earl Simmons)

Bonus: So who is the oldest known rapper still alive today?  Well, using 1979 as hip-hop’s convenient starting point – although most people understand that rap started before then – several rappers would be in the running.

For instance, Ice-T would be a safe bet; he turns 62 in August.  Some might guess that either the surviving members of Sugar Hill Gang or Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five are strong contenders.  Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) himself turned 62 in January.  The oldest living member of the Sugar Hill Gang, Wonder Mike, will be 63 on April 30.  

But the oldest known rapper of all may very well be Afrika Bambaataa of Soulsonic Force fame.  He will turn 63 on April 17, just two weeks before Wonder Mike does.

Afrika Bambaataa

To paraphrase Bambaataa and his 1982 classic, “Planet Rock,” may these legends keep rockin’ it and never stop!

DJRob

DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.

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