Stop Being Shocked Jay-Z Is an Elite Rapper in Middle Age
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Stop Being Shocked Jay-Z Is an Elite Rapper in Middle Age

Great writers get better with age and wisdom, and after all, Hov is the G.O.A.T.

DJ Khaled dropped his 13th studio album, God Did, last night. In typical DJ Khaled fashion, the project is filled to the brim with superstars—Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Rick Ross, Future, SZA, City Girls, and Drake are among the many big names who grace the tracklist. However, thanks to Young Guru, Lenny S., and other insiders, most of the hype before the general public heard the record was about the epicness of Jay-Z’s verse on the title track. It doesn’t disappoint.

Hov spends nearly half of an eight-minute song rapping, uninterrupted, with no hook or anything like it in sight. Just four minutes of pure bars. In typical guest verse Hov fashion, he addresses rumors and memes you constantly see on an internet the rapper doesn’t have much of a public presence on. He also spits cleverly about his favorite topics like his erstwhile dope boy pedigree, billionaire status, and religious iconography. It’s a strong verse, just look at this collection of bars, it’s otherworldly:

These ain't songs, these are hymns 'cause I'm him,
It's the Psalm 151, this New Testament, The Book of Hov,
Jesus turned water to wine, for Hov, it just took a stove

However, I’m not sure if, solely based on its content, it’s his best guest work over the last couple of years. It is hard to ignore the sheer spectacle of the record, but you should probably let this thing marinate for a little while longer before making such a claim. It’s a lot to take in and is probably the last of S. Carter you’ll hear for a while.

What is quite obvious is that Jay-Z is 52 years old and still rapping his ass off, which plenty of people will give him his praise, but is this really necessary? In what other creative fields are 50-year-old men not expected to be at their very best? If there are any, I can’t think of a single one besides hip-hop, which for some reason is confounded when it sees its elder statesmen age gracefully.

Regarding writers especially, the commonly held belief is as you grow older and see more of the world, your wisdom seeps into your pen. It’s curious why rappers aren’t afforded this belief. The positive aspect of youth is its vitality, its constant surges of energy, and new ideas. It's an essential piece of the history of what has made so many great rappers great. Still, rap is an old genre now. Let us not overlook the virtues of wisdom and mastery of craft. It’s not surprising that Hov’s still this great. The only shocking thing is that you’re shocked. That’s some food for thought. You do the dishes.

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