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2nd Childhood


Hip Hop has been around for what, 30 some odd years now? It can be considered grown-up, numerically speaking. Its old enough to have Honors awards shows and hand out Legends trophies at other award shows. Its old enough for some of us to say “back in MY day” and others to say “back in THE day.” We’ve gone from buying vinyl to cassettes to CDs to MP3. Boomboxes to IPods…you get my point.

So, contrary to what a few label A&R’s, select rappers and some of these young Thundercats say, Hip Hop ain’t necessarily a young man’s game. And it shouldn’t be. There’s nothing wrong with not being an 80’s Baby. I think everybody has their time and place in Hip Hop. As much as older cats deserve their 25 and over sets at the club, the young cats deserve to Superman a couple hoes (i suppose). But like I said, time and place my nigga, time and place.

Say what you will. But I don’t think anyone over the age of 21 should be bumping Superman Dat Hoe or “A Bay Bay” like that.

I ain’t saying don’t dance to it when it comes on at a club, party or sporting event. I’m saying it looks kinda crazy to see older cats bumping that kind of music like its their Earth, Wind & Fire or Maze.

For instance, I caught the train downtown today. There was this older cat sitting across from me. It looked like he’s seen some shit in his years. He was one of them older cats who look like he always wears shades, smoke Newports back-to-back-to-back and has one of those worn-out Stoney Jackson-like perm-curls. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, he was playing his music loud as hell through his headphones. Seeing that he had a CD Walkman and not an Ipod, I kinda figured that he was “old school” in a sense. When my ears adjusted to hearing what he was listening to, all I heard was “A BAY BAY A BAY BAY!” Now, I don’t have a big problem with that song or Hurricane Chris. Granted, I’m not big fan of the song, but Chris is aight with me. But to see a 50-plus year old brotha blasting that shit was kinda awkward. Like, nothing about that shit struck me as cool.

You know, I used to think some of my friend’s parents were cool because they might have listened to some pre-Makaveli era 2Pac, maybe a little LL. You know, I thought it was cool that my moms really dug Scarface’s “Never Seen A Man Cry.” Hell, my pops listened to Doug E. Fresh and Kool Moe Dee and pretty much helped expose me to Hip Hop. But, a 50 year old bumping “A Bay Bay” like that…nah, that shit ain’t look too cool.

At that point, he was only mumbling the words. But then, after that went off, “Spiderman Dat Hoe” came on. No, not “Superman Dat Hoe,”…”Spiderman Dat Hoe!” Which means his old ass is either hanging with little kids or actually on YouTube staying up on this shit. I was afraid that he was gonna crank the “Shootout” next.

Now, once again. Ain’t nothing wrong with knowing what’s current. You know, if you are someone like Michael Eric Dyson or Cornel West who seeks to have some discourse with people of the Hip Hop generation, then yeah, that’s cool. After all, if you want to school cats and build with them, you gotta understand where they at. You can’t just take the Al Sharpton/Bill Cosby approach to everything all the time.

But, to just be an old ass dude bumping “Spiderman Dat Hoe” like that…nah, man, that shit ain’t cool. You know, if you an older person, that is some shit that I think you can get along fine without knowing. What’s crazier is that dude knew every single word to that shit. I tried holding in my laugh, but I couldn’t. As soon as I started laughing everyone else on the train started laughing too. Then, just like a child would do, the old head started rapping the words louder and putting on a show. Then, finally when his little mix CD landed on “Superman Dat Hoe,” he did the dance in his seat and rapped the words.

Seeing this behavior reminded me of them 40-year old women who dress like they are 21 and dance like they are 17. That shit is crazy as hell. The fountain of youth’s water ain’t always clean shawty.

So I ask, when are you too old for Hip Hop, or better yet, certain kinds of Hip Hop? I remember going to an event where Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was speaking. At the time, everyone wanted to label him the “Hip Hop Mayor” because of how young he was. He half-way welcomed the title, but made sure that people knew that he came up on shit like LL, Rakim and KRS-One. Not the “gangsta shit” or the buffonery music (note: I said “or”, making an obvious distinction). In saying that, he was letting people know that he was a grown ass man and wasn’t gonna be caught throwing up DipSet or screaming G-G-G-Uniiiiiit!

So again I ask, how do you know when you are too old? I want to be able to prevent other old heads from embarrassing themselves if I can. Its bad enough some of them are still rocking Fubu.

I don’t want to have conversations with old heads about Lil Wayne’s The Drought 3. I want them to school me on the shit that came out before my time. Like, I kinda enjoy being able to break down [dope] lyrics for my elders so they can see that some cats actually be saying something. I don’t want to get to the point that they, and not my little cousin, are teaching me how to “Crank Dat.” That shit is backwards as hell.

Side Note/Question: How ya’ll feel about grown-ass DJ’s that be playing and promoting young ass music?

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