One for the Road: A History of Rap’s Retirement Plans

Yesterday on Hot 97, Lil Wayne sat down with Angie Martinez to talk about his jail time, Nicki Minaj and Drake’s success,  Jersey Shore and more. Weezy also shockingly revealed his  plans to retire at age 35. Wayne isn’t the first to say he’s leaving the game, but if he sticks to it as promised, he may just be the first MC to follow through on his announcement. So, as the XXL staff sits here and selfishly hopes Weezy doesn’t walk away in seven years, we take a look back at some other retirement proclamations and how they played out. —Michael Naclerio

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  • kool moe dee gallery
    Kool Moe Dee
    In 1994, he released <em>Interlude</em>, but when it failed to achieve the critical acclaim he was looking for, he announced retirement. He has yet to release another album.
  • too short gallery
    Too $hort
    Though $hort Dog announced retirement in 1996 after the release of <em>Getting It</em>, he came back shortly thereafter. The retirement was linked to an attempt at gaining leverage in contract negotiations with Jive Records. He's since released eight albums.
  • mase gallery
    In April of 1999, Ma$e retired from the rap game so he could focus on religion. The retirement lasted about 5 years, as the Harlemite came out with a new album in 2004 entitled <em>Welcome Back</em>. After the album and a stint with G-Unit, things slowed, and now he has basically fallen back, save for a few appearances here and there.
  • jay z gallery
    <em>Reasonable Doubt</em> was initially supposed to be Jay-Z's first and last album. Though he hinted at calling it quits with every album, he first officially announced that he's be retiring after <em>The Black Album</em>'s release in 2003. He spoke about retirement throughout the album. He later came back in 2006 with the release of <em>Kingdom Come</em>.
  • master p gallery
    Master P
    Master P announced his retirement in 2004, though he released an album shortly thereafter. In 2009, the No Limit General said that he would never be retired, just that he wouldn't be going on tour.
  • 50 cent gallery
    50 Cent
    In 2007, 50 declared that if Kanye’s <em>Graduation</em> outsold his album <em>Curtis</em>, he'd hang it up. Fif lost, but didn't quit. We're not mad he didn't keep his word.
  • game gallery
    The Game
    While performing with Nas on New Years Eve 2007, Game announced he was done, saying <em>LAX</em> would be his last album. Though we're still waiting patiently for his next album, <em>The R.E.D. Album</em>, the Compton native changed his mind and has been steadily releasing music.
  • lupe gallery
    Lupe Fiasco
    After Lupe’s second album, <em>The Cool</em>, hit stores in 2007, there were talks about a possible retirement. In interviews with HipHopDX he first said he was 96 percent sure and then 85 percent sure. For now, at least, that percentage is zero, as Lupe just dropped his third offering, <em>Lasers</em>.
  • saigon gallery
    Sai announced his retirement through a statement in 2007, which said that the game forced him to do things for others and not for himself. He eventually reneged and his long-awaited first album, <em>The Greatest Story Never Told</em>, hit shelves last month.
  • scarface gallery
    Brad Jordan has pulled a Michael Jordan in that he has now twice said he was retiring without following through. He first announced he was quitting prior to releasing his 2007 album,<em>Made</em>. Then again, in 2008, he said he was gonna be done after <em>Emeritus</em>. Last year, though, he came out of retirement and dropped his first mixtape.
  • ll cool j gallery
    LL Cool J
    After releasing the album <em>Exit 13</em> in September of 2008, Uncle L started talking about retirement for the first time. Over the past few years, in numerous interviews he has referenced coming back with another album, although he said it could take some time. He also has said that an artist never technically retires.
  • bobby ray gallery
    In 2009, the ATLien blamed the rap game and its drama as his reason for wanting to retire. Shortly thereafter, though, he rescinded that statement and declared that he would retire the name B.o.B. and from that point forward use Bobby Ray. Eventually he backed off that, too, and still uses both.
  • kid cudi gallery
    Kid Cudi
    Just as Cudi signed a deal with Universal Motown and his debut album was in the works, he announced on his blog that he was going to retire due to the drama of the music industry. Then Cudder turned around at a concert and declared he needed his fans and wouldn’t be retiring. This all went down during the month of March, 2009.

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  • K.I.D.

    not retiring click on my name :) i just got here

  • Don mcCaine


    rap has been told from Right On! to NahRight. That alone is progression

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    There isn’t any rapper named Scareface that i’ve heard of. Scarface has a similar story..trippy.

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    didnt em retire too?

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    happy birthday method man.lets do golf

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