There’s an old Seinfeld episode where George is sitting in a meeting and has a really good suggestion but then follows with a lame joke and loses the respect of the room. Later on Jerry tells him he should do it like the Vegas performers do and “walk off” after a high note because you’re only going downhill from there.
Hip-Hop would do well to heed that same advice. The people love nothing more than when you walk off in your prime. It leaves us wondering, did they have more genius material in the stash or did they barely eke out that last one? And it avoids Detox-like hype and disappointment (drop it anytime and we’ll be back on your side, Dre). But for some reason, rappers cannot let the mic go, even when they know they don’t have it anymore.
I’m a Biggie fan, I think he’s hands down the G.O.A.T. But we love him because the material he was able to produce in his life was great. He died in his prime and so we’ll never know if he could have gone 10 albums strong or if he would have done some bullshit and lost the crown. And not knowing is the best recipe for a legacy, because as far as we know everything he touched, even the St. Ides and Sprite commercials, were certified dope (insert some commenter hate here).
I have a laundry list of rappers who should hang it up and be done with it. There is no need to mention names but if you’re an artist who’s prime is past, just stop now. We love you for your classics, but every song and album you release now just drops you down a few notches in the public opinion. And you could always follow the old rockstar recipe and put out a few great albums, create a die-hard fan base and then tour on the strength of those albums until you die or get tired of that Ticket Master money.-MikeD