This week, the release of LL Cool J’s latest single “Rachet” and Fat Joe’s “Instagram that H**" have generated debate around the internet as to whether the two artists seem credible making the kind of music that has been successful for their much younger counterparts. Both songs seem to be pandering to the teenage audience that likes artists like Drake, LI’l Wayne, Rick Ross and Nicki MInaj, but for each of them, the songs seem out of place given their age and past success. LL, born James Todd Smith in Queens, N.Y. put his rap career on the back burner some years ago to carve out a lucrative niche in films and TV. He’s currently starring on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” part of the CBS ratings juggernaut of crime procedurals.
Now that he’s a 40-somehing father of four, it’s difficult to see LL revitalizing his career with a song that complains about the rachet chicks that get on his nerves. LL ‘s career never depended on objectifying women – his hit “Round the Way Girl” was an appreciation of girls from the 'hood and even racier songs songs like “Dear Yvette”, “Doin’ It” and “Big Ole Butt” were always delivered a little tongue-in-cheek. As a rapper much more known for his wordplay, it’s hard to see him try to reenter the hip-hop arena with a song so obviously beneath his lyrical talents. And now that he’s hosted the Grammys and the Grammy Nomination concert, which airs from Nashville on CBS December 5, the public views LL much more as a senior statesman in music who might condemn its current rachetness rather than give in to it.
As for Fat Joe, the Bronx, N.Y. native who brought us Big Pun, “Lean Back” and “We Thuggin,’” his recent release “Instagram that H**” is not so far from other records he’s done. But again, Fat Joe is now viewed as one of rap’s pioneers and the man behind beloved hits from the 90’s that we turn way up when they (infrequently) get played on the radio. “Instagram that H**” which features current hitmakers Rick Ross and Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J, seems like an attempt to hop on the latest social media trend as well as pack his record with artists that have more current sway with a younger audience. It’s not a bad song if you consider it in context with everything else that’s out. It just seems like a desperation move on Fat Joe’s part. Despite a big weight loss, he hasn’t parlayed his previous hits into anything that’s been relevant lately. At 41, Joe’s not that much older than Rick Ross or 2 Chainz (both 36). We just expect a little more from the guy who was once the hottest Puerto Rican artist outside of Jennifer Lopez.
We don’t want these guys to do what the kids do. We want them to try to elevate the art form for the adults that liked them in the past. Jay-Z is a prime example of how to smoothly navigate aging in hip-hop. He just does what he’s always done but doesn’t waste his time trying to follow the latest trends. Jay’s like an old playa who realizes that you don’t have run a bunch of game at women once you’re older – you can be just as smooth and waste less time by telling the truth.
LL and Fat Joe can look to another rap star for inspiration as well. Nas has enjoyed one of the longest periods of relevancy in hip-hop being consistent and putting lyrics first. Yes, Rick Ross guest stars on his new CD “Life’s Good”, but the song made sense for both artists. Destpite his 20-year career, unprecedented these days, Nas doesn’t have a TV show, he doesn’t have a clothing line or own his own label, yet somehow he earns a living (and a good one if his divorce settlement with ex-wife Kelis is any indication). More than that, Nas has retained the respect of his audience and his peers. It’s a tricky balancing art, but he’s found the formula. Maybe LL and Joe should get together, dig in their respective musical crates and figure out how to take the best of what they’ve done in the past and update it for the people that can still appreciate it.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31