(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
2. Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) – January 12, 1970
3. DJ Quik – January 18, 1970
4. Queen Latifah – March 18, 1970
5. Q-Tip – April 10, 1970
6. Redman – April 17, 1970
7. Cormega – April 26, 1970
8. Master P – April 29, 1970
9. Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan) – May 9, 1970
10. B-Real (of Cypress Hill and Prophets of Rage) – June 2, 1970
11. Spice 1 – July 2, 1970
12. Monie Love – July 2, 1970
13. Inspectah Deck (Wu-Tang Clan) – July 6, 1970
14. WC (of Westside Connection) – August 9, 1970
15. Fat Joe – August 19, 1970
16. MC Lyte – October 11, 1970
17. Scarface – November 9, 1970
18. Warren G – November 10, 1970
19. U-God (Wu-Tang Clan) – November 10, 1970
20. Treach (Naughty by Nature) – December 2, 1970
21. DMX – December 18, 1970
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.
To paraphrase Bambaataa and his 1982 classic, “Planet Rock,” may these legends keep rockin’ it and never stop!
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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