40 Is the New 30

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  • 40/40
    Hip-hop is a young man’s game no more. Gone are the days when MCs fresh off their Similac diet ridiculed their elders for supposedly being over the hill in age and rhyme skills. Rather than fade into obscurity, rappers have used middle age to reinvent themselves into independent powerhouses. They’ve also found success in performing their classic works from the 1990s as mentioned in XXL’s Veterans Day article in the October 2011 issue. XXL takes a look at 40 rappers that are either pushing 40, or have already reached the milestone and are still going strong.—<em>XXL Staff</em>
  • nas-2011
    <strong>Age:</strong> 38<br />Though still two years removed from the big 4-0, Nas first entered the game 20 years ago via his scene-stealing guest verse on Main Source’s “Live At the Barbecue.” Two decades and nine solo albums later, the Queensbridge lyricist is still considered Top 5, dead or alive. His 10th solo LP, <em>Life Is Good</em>, is scheduled for an early 2012 release.
  • Bun LEAD 605
    Bun B
    <strong>Age:</strong> 38<br />Uncle Bun remains a sought after guest rapper well over 20 years after UGK began its influential journey in the late ‘80s. With Pimp C gone, the underground king continues to hold it down on the solo tip. His third solo effort, <em>Trill OG</em>, was released to rave reviews last year. His fourth disc, <em>Keep It Trill IVEver</em>, should hit stores next year.
  • eminemlive
    <strong>Age:</strong> 38<br />Hip-hop is a young man’s game? The biggest rapper on the planet is almost 40. Em’s four-times platinum album, <em>Recover</em> is still on the Billboard 200 and Bad Meets Evil’s <em>Hell: The Sequel</em> with Royce Da 5’ 9”—released in June of this year— has sold over 500, 000 copies. Those are numbers to strive for, youngbloods.
  • common-gets-release-date
    <strong>Age:</strong> 39<br />Common may have a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card now (and is now also an author), but hip-hop still claims him. He recently released a single, “Ghetto Dreams” with Nas and his ninth LP, <em>The Dreamer, The Believer</em> is slated to hit stores November 22, 2011.
  • Black Thought
    Black Thought
    <strong>Age:</strong> 39<br />The Roots front man can still rhyme rappers under the table at 39. Thought ably juggles his nightly obligations on <em>Late Night with Jimmy Fallon</em>, random spots dates and recording. The Roots released the Grammy Award-winning <em>Wake Up!</em> with John Legend last year and there’s been talk of a new record titled, <em>Undun</em> in the near future.
  • seanpriceruben
    Sean Price
    <strong>Age:</strong> 39<br />Sean Price (P!) gets better with age. The incomparable Brooklyn MC teamed up with Black Milk and Guilty Simpson to release their well-received <em>Random Axe</em> project in June of this year. Price’s highly anticipated, <em>Mic Tyson</em>, should hit stores in late 2011 or early 2012.
  • Busta3
    Busta Rhymes
    <strong>Age:</strong> 39<br />It’s hard to believe that Bussa Buss recorded his legendary star-making verse on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” almost 20 years ago. Spitting after the Dungeon Dragon is still practically an impossible task today as evidenced on Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” and Tech N9ne’s “Worldwide Choppers.”Rumor has it that Bus’s next project will be <em>E.L.E. II</em>—a sequel to his 1998 album, <em>E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front</em>.
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    Snoop Dogg
    <strong>Age:</strong> 39<br />Snoop Dogg has gone from being one of America’s most wanted to coaching peewee football leagues and appearing on muppet shows, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the Doggfather’s work ethic in the studio. The Long Beach legend released his 11th album, <em>The Doggumentary</em>, in March 2011.
  • Tech9_5
    Tech N9ne
    <strong>Age:</strong> 39<br />There’s been a change in Tech N9ne’s lane since Lil Wayne shouted his name. After years of being the top independent rapper in the world, Tech reached major heights when his All 6’s and 7’s debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts—selling 55, 000 units in its first week. The Kansas City chopper is currently finishing up an 85-city tour and will be releasing Welcome to Strangeland—a collection of Tech collaborations—on his 40th birthday, November 8.
  • qtipfeature40
    <strong>Age:</strong> 40<br />Tip’x yet another MC who’s hitting milestones in 2011, and is still going. A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory will be celebrating 20 years this weekend (September 24). The Abstract recently contributed production to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne and is rumored to be prepping an LP, The Last Zulu, for 2012.
  • Missy-Elliot
    Missy Elliot
  • fat-joe
    Fat Joe
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />Joey Crack hasn’t skipped a beat through his respectable 18-year career. The Bronx representative dropped the well-received <strong>The Darkside, Vol. 1</strong> last year and is working on dropping his 11th album in the near future.
  • Lil Jon
    Lil Jon
    <strong>Age:</strong> 40<br />Lil Jon’s not a rapper per se, but he still has one gold and two double platinum plaques on his wall. After being delayed for nearly six years, his solo debut, <em>Crunk Rock</em> was finally released in June of last year. Fresh off a standout turn on Donald Trump’s <em>The Celebrity Apprentice</em>, Jon is working on his next LP, <em>Party Animal</em>.
  • scarface-tenpu
    <strong>Age:</strong> 40<br />Scarface just can’t stay away. After threatening to retire after <em>Made</em> in 2007, he followed up with <em>Emeritus</em> in 2008 and <em>Dopeman Music</em> in 2010. Now that he’s free after spending months in lock up for not paying his child support, it’s probably a matter of time before Face Mob announces his next record.
  • Warren-G
    Warren G
    <strong>Age:</strong> 40The Regulator’s yet another MC who’s poised to experience a resurgence by dropping a sequel a decade-plus after the original’s release date. Warren G is working on dropping <em>Regulate… G Funk Era Pt 2</em> in 2012. Mount up.
  • DMX
    <strong>Age:</strong> 40Fresh out of jail DMX plans on resuming his chart-topping ways with some new music soon. He’s recently collaborated with Busta Rhymes (“Otis” Freestyle) and N.O.R.E. (“Electrolytes (Remix))” and is prepping his new album, Redemption of the Beast, for release before year’s end.
  • wyclefjean40feature
    Wyclef Jean
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />His ambitions have deviated from a music a bit in recent years, but ‘Clef is always up to pick up his guitar and drop his brand of eclectic hip-hop. The former Fugee released <em>If I Were President: The Haitian Experience</em>—a project in support of his presidential hopes in Haiti—last year; and is prepping a self-titled debut that should impact before year’s end or early next year.
  • MF Doom
    <strong>Age:</strong> 40The artist formerly known as Zev Love X has become an underground God in the last decade. Though he’s taken a step back from his exhausting release schedule in the past two calendars, DOOM has a highly anticipated collaboration with Ghostface, as well as a proper Madvillainy sequel, in the works.
  • method-man
    Method Man
    Age: 40Mr. Meth lives on stage these days, but he’s still pretty active in the booth as well. After touring with Wu-Tang Clan, he and Redman are cooking up <em>Blackout! 3</em> as well as his fifth solo album, Crystal Meth, for late 2011 and 2012 releases, respectively.
  • Diddy
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />The Puffster’s always been more of a businessman, but aligning himself with the likes of Rick Ross seems to have rejuvenated his reciting skills. Last year, he offered his best verse since “It’s All About the Benjamins” (13 years later) on Waka Flocka Flame’s “O’ Let’s Do It (Remix).” Though his mogul hat is back on with the recent signing of Machine Gun Kelly, his union with Rozay (Bugatti Boyz) should produce a release soon.
  • WCfeature1
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41The Compton rapper is one of many veterans who is embracing the independent grind after years in the major label system. The rap OG’s fourth solo album, <em>Revenge of the Barracuda</em>, dropped just last year.
  • Jay-Z
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41The God MC’s been breaking new ground for middle-aged MCs since “returning” to rap with his 2006 album, Kingdome Come. Hov is arguably bigger than ever 15 years after releasing his classic debut, Reasonable Doubt. Fresh off a successful joint LP, Watch the Throne, with Kanye West, Jigga Man shows no signs of slowing down. There are already talks of Jay releasing his 12th solo LP in 2012.
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    Baby Bash
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />This Vallejo, California rapper has been consistently dropping albums since 2001. Now 41, Bash is still in the promotional cycle of his March release—<em>Bashtown</em>—on Universal.
  • DJ Quik
    DJ Quik
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />Quick released his 8th solo album, <em>The Book of David</em>, on April 19, 2011. Just as renowned, if not more, for his production, the Compton representer still contributes production to acts like Game and Nick Cannon, to name a few.
  • footprint-redman
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41The Funk Doc is still rocking the spot into his 40s. The Brick City lyricist is prepping the release of Blackout! 3 with his partner-in-rhyme, Method Man, later this year and a sequel to his 1996 fan-favorite, Muddy Waters 2, for next year.
  • B-Real
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />Cypress Hill were always touring extensively during their heyday and now that group members B-Real, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs, have reached middle age, they are probably performing more than ever. B-Real was just prominently seen in VH1’s Planet Rock documentary.
  • Raekwon3
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />The Chef has become more active leading up to his 40s. After a six-year hiatus, he released the critically-acclaimed Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II—the sequel to his seminal debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…—at the age of 39. Rae also scored momentous guest appearances on Justin Bieber’s “Runaway Love (Remix)” and Kanye West’s “Gorgeous” last year. He also dropped Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang earlier this year and has been touring across the US and overseas.
  • ghost-face-killah-ringtone
    Ghostface Killah
    <strong>Age:</strong> 41<br />Like his brother from another mother, Raekwon, Tone Starks still commands big bucks for his stage show. One of the most consistent MCs of all time, Ghost Deini will be adding to his superb catalog next year when Supreme Clientele Presents: Blue & Cream: The Wally Era, hits stores.
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    Ice Cube
    <strong>Age:</strong> 42<br />Cube hasn’t left hip-hop completely behind. For years now, the South Central, Los Angeles legend has juggled movie roles with LP released. He dropped his ninth album, <em>I Am the West</em> last year and toured overseas to support the record this year.
  • birdman-knockout
    Age: 42Birdman doesn’t consider himself a rapper, but he sure drops albums like one. The 5-Star Stunna’s been featured on a healthy number of records in preparation for his fifth solo LP, <em>Bigger Than Life</em>.
  • De_La_Soul
    De La Soul
    <strong>Age:</strong> Posdnuos (42), Dave (43) Posdnuos (42)<br />Though they haven’t released a studio album since 2004’s <em>The Grind Date</em>, Dave and Pos have been busy on the touring circuit— including appearances at Rock the Bells—the past few years. They’re presently working on the long delayed third installment of <em>Art Official Intelligence</em>.
  • BlackRob3
    Black Rob
    <strong>Age:</strong> 43<br />After years on Bad Boy, Bacardi Rob has transitioned into the independent grind. He released his third album, Game Tested, Streets Approved on Duck Down in July of this year.
  • E-40
    <strong>Age:</strong> 43<br />Fonzarelli is arguably more prolific in his middle age. He kicked off his Revenue Retrievin’ series in 2010 and has dropped four installments—two per year—since then. He’s also been touring at length, including a trek with the relentless Tech N9ne. 40 Water is also working on the release of <em>The History Channel</em> with fellow Bay Area legend Too $hort.
  • Kool G. Rap
    Kool G. Rap
    <strong>Age:</strong> 43<br />The legendary lyricist has been vocal about his disappointment with the younger generation’s lack of verbal skills, but some are still G. Rap-approved. The drug rap pioneer is set to drop a joint album with Necro titled, <em>The Godfathers</em>, next year.
    <strong>Age:</strong> 45<br />The veteran swordsman is looking to follow his fellow Wu-Tang Clansman when he releases <em>Liquid Swords 2: Return of the Shadowboxer</em> next year.
  • tooshort
    Too $hort
    <strong>Age:</strong> 45<br />Short Dawg threatened to leave the game over 10 years ago, but quickly came back after a brief hiatus. He’s been hammering out records ever since.
  • drdre
    Dr. Dre
    <strong>Age:</strong> 46<br />As mentioned in <em>XXL</em>’s Veteran’s Day article, the Good Doctor may be 50 years old by the time <em>Detox</em> finally drops. In the past year, Dre has come the closest to dropping the mythical album in 10 years when he dropped two singles—“Kush” and “I Need a Doctor”—in a four-month span.
  • KRS-One_Book_signing1
    <strong>Age:</strong> 46<br />The Blastmaster dropped <em>Back to the L.A.B.</em> in 2010 and is reportedly working on <em>Return of the Boom Bip</em> with DJ Premier. The album should hit stores in late 2011 or early 2012.
  • 2004 MTV Video Music Awards Latin America - Arrivals
    Beastie Boys
    <strong>Age:</strong>Ad-Rock (44), Mike D (45) MCA (47)<br />Forget 40, Beastie Boys are damn near pushing 50. Their “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” clip—a sequel of their 1987 smash hit featuring Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell and Jack Black—was one of the best visuals of the year. The still feisty trio released their eight studio album, <em>Hot Sauce Committee Part Two</em>, in April.

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    Camel face going strong???lol…he WONT even fight for the thrown, oh yeah, hes above that..lol..whatever, anyway, think red, hiphop lives on with the red album

    • ny

      Umm do just got a plat for WTT and ALL of his albums have sold a million plus. The most number 1 albums for a solo artist. Jay is still at the top of his game. Why should he respond to Lil Wayne’s weak diss from his weak ass album?

  • jesse watkins

    IDIOT!!!! only you and the 100,000 fools think the red album is hot he went from 5 million to 100,000 the jig is up THE GAME IS OVER Fuck him and anybody that fucks with him


      damn…chill out man…baby boy need a hug or what? ,,shut ur mouth..Game the man..he makes sick ass music…keeps it real and never went hollywood..he never went pop, thats why his album sales are the way the are, and hes ok with that, his concern isnt unitS sold, but STAYING TRUE TO HIPHOP, HE SITTING ON 25 MILL, HE DONT GIVE FUK..

  • Mean Wolf

    Birdman is older than 42. Birdman is actually 50…

  • Troy Johnson

    Tech N9ne FUCK YEAH BABY!

    • Nicol

      Tech is hella better than stupid a** jz he sucks!!!!

  • XSmall….

    Ya’ll MAINSTREAM publications are so predictable….. How did i know CORMEGA was going to be absent from this list? Nigga dropped 3 CLASSIC LPs yes…. CLASSIC! Nigga is an independent pioneer…. bought back his unreleased Def Jam album The Testament and released it himself….. Isn’t it bad enough that radio plays politics but now a magazine that has it’s own power can’t agknowledge hip hop either? Ya’ll got rappers that don’t even “Consider themselves rappers” and rappers that used to be rappers but are no longer relevant that are just old/aged but no Cormega?!?! Fuck you niggas…..

    • thinker

      you must be the biggest cormega fan. who would u take off the list with your biased-ass? they said they would put 40 rappers nears their 40s. be happy that they got the legends on there. they pretty much put the whole wu-tang on there, minus rza, I.D., U-god and a few other rappers. do u WANT to know that your rapper is olda as fuck and going to die? shiiieeeet

  • jrash87

    yep Tech fucking N9ne

  • jrash87

    gotta agree game never sold out (well kinda he does jump on a record with any1 thats hot at the time to generate interest), stayed true to hiphop, an best of all he speaks his mind

    • JugularKill


      Do you even understand what selling out means?

      Selling out in the music sense is about tailoring your music to the masses:

      Name dropping sells right? (sell out)
      Lying about selling dope right? (sell out)
      Pop sounding songs “Red Nation” (sell out, sounds like a gay club anthem)
      Auto tune (sell out)
      Collaborating with Mr popular lil Wayne too much (sell out)

      Selling out is also “Being disloyal to the group you belong to or started with”
      Errr,,,,dissing Gunit (sell out)
      Dissing a man that helped you get noticed (sell out)

      Game is the biggest sell out in hip hop.

      All that fake beef to please the white executives, they love that shit. They love to see black people beefing to increase record sales. They don’t give a fuk bout his endorsements that only hurts him.

      Personally for me, the music is the thing.

      In 2011 if you have a solo album featuring lil wayne
      Or with auto tune,
      Or you lie about ur history,
      You’re over the age of 20 and you use the word “SWAG”,
      Or you use Nicki Minaj flow where she drops a line and sums it up in 1 word. You are a sell out

      That’s like 90% of the rappers out there.

  • The Funkologist

    Ayo Where Mega at? This list is a joke.

  • Chuck

    I think Cormega and AZ should be included on this list….but maybe they’re not old enough yet?

  • mz

    Man, rock stars are still touring in their 50s. Just look at The Big 4 metal tour(Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth) some of those dudes are 50 and they’re still bringing thousands of people to their show. In Hip-Hop why is it lame to be a rapper over 40??

  • mz

    Chuck D is still killing the mic!! He’s 51!

  • corey

    doesnt matter how old you are, respect your superiors! and by superiors i mean Tech N9ne. unfuckwithable

  • King Wheelz

    Tech should have been in da top five definitley b4 snoop

  • Bryan Mendoza

    Love how the pictures fit the MC’s personalities, which is why I’m so glad to see Tech N9ne on this list among all these other greats.

  • Alex

    About time Tech N9ne gets the credit he well deserves,but XXL instead of mentioning him all the time now give that man the cover.He’s well deserving he holds the independent crown,has the most loyal fan base in the world and anything he touches turns into “Beautiful Music” i rest my case WELCOME TO STRANGELAND IN STORES 11/8/11 <—-Tech N9ne's new Colabo's Album for the dumb

  • RealHH

    Tech n9ne is the one and only making 2 records a year with the sickest flow keep it strange!

  • wikidlette

    ma nigga tech n9ne i always knew you were one of the greats…i had faith in you the whole way…much love tech and i hope i get to tlk to you at the gathering next year … i love all you strange music rappers

  • Infamous


  • Vlad

    SEAN PRICE !! I know most of yall are sleepin on him, don’t even front. ” The brokest rapper you know, sell crack after the show, with a foe foe that’ll blow back half your fro, P! “

  • http://theelwinpost.com Benjamin

    TECH N9NE the KING! Cant a soul bust harder than that cat. From absoulte power to tha carter 4, never a dull moment

  • Seth

    Tech N9ne is for real the best rapper dead or alive (IMO) I could honestly care less what anyone else thinks. No one is or ever has been on his level….

  • Strange420

    Tech N9ne and Strange all day all night. Tech needs to get on the cover of XXL soon.

  • Zach Campbell

    Damn, are haters getting dumber and dumber these days?

  • jak

    Tech keep it up mang all your fans love ya.

  • Nicol

    ALL rappers except Tech suck!!! After 2Pac I hated Rap until Tech came along! I am soooooooooo tired of these b*tch & ho, drop it like it’s hot,stripper, look what I got songs….they don’t mean SH*T……Lil’ Wayn??? you sound like Foggy from The Lil’ Rascals, you know that dorky lil white bot with the rice bowl number 5 haircut sounding like a frog…THAT’S lil wienner wayne! You need to have a nice voice with style for rap, not sound like special ed Jayz or any other rappers out here now. So what your selling records, its like polictics, slim pickins and the better of 2 evils, I choose not to spend my good money on SH*T . Snoop Dogg- get back to Ol’ School not commercial pop Sh*t, too short you dont need to collab with a bunch of 1 hit wonders….TECH you are alone at the TOP!!!!

  • JK

    Where are Bone Thugs ~N~ Harmony on this list? They are consistantly putting out good music unlike most on here who haven’t been around for years. Props for always giving Tech N9ne love.

  • David A. Berg

    Tech nine may be from kansas city but that is all he has going for him. His lyrics are a HORRIBLE influence on the young minds I am trying to mold into honest, responsible young men.

  • jamie

    There is no better rapper then tech n9ne


    Tech to the n.9.n.e!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nquestion

    How in the hell can u compile this list and not include two of the greatest mc’s of all time who are both still very relevant today both Rakim and LL COOL J deserved to be on this damn list some of the people u have on here i have never even heard before XXL u should really be ashamed !!!!

  • nquestion

    How in the hell can u compile this list and not include two of the greatest mc’s of all time who are both still very relevant today both Rakim and LL COOL J deserved to be on this damn list some of the people u have on here i have never even heard before XXL u should really be ashamed !!!!