Hip-hop has always been a young man's game, but don't tell that 25-year rap veteran Redman.
At 47 years of age, retirement from rap is the last thing on the mind of the New Jersey native, who later this year will release Muddy Waters 2, the sequel to the best solo album in his catalog.
During a recent appearance on the Grass Routes Podcast, Red shared his thoughts on ageism in the music industry—in particular, hip-hop—and why, even at 65, he doesn't plan to put his microphone out to pasture.
"When I see my peers before me, like Big Daddy Kane, when I see Rakim on the 'Gram. Nigga, when I see EPMD still on the shows, I'm like, 'Yo, these motherfuckers came out in '88 and they still moving," Redman explained to hosts Brandon "Killabh" Hall and Erin Ashley Simon, adding, "I get inspired from that. I get inspired knowing that I still have some years to go before I can say, alright, 'I don't wanna be no 55-year-old rapper.' Fuck that! Muh-fuckin' Grandmaster Flash and them be rocking. They still be touring. How I'ma sit here and put a lifeline on my career? Nah, fuck that, nigga. If I can pick up a mic at muh-fuckin' 65 years old, and shut that bitch down, I'ma be out there with a walker and a mic."
First, let's take a moment to appreciate the line, "When I see Rakim on the 'Gram." That is amazing.
Okay, now we can move on...
Unlike professional sports, where Father Time is and will forever remain undefeated, artists can and should continue to perform until their very last breath—so long as a promoter is interested in booking them for a show. The great Tony Bennett is 91 and he is still selling out shows nationwide. Gladys Knight is 73 and she's doing the same thing.
And you know who agrees? Redman. "Nigga, when I see Gladys Knight on tour, I'm like—and she's incredible, just to put that out there, after all these years, she still has the legs, the ass, the beauty, the look, the beautiful Black skin like she's been drinking water," the rapper said.
Rappers might often threaten retirement, but that is more often than not the product of frustration and industry politics and not an inability to still write, record and perform material.
Death to ageism.