Is Lil’ Kim Too Old to Rap or Are Double Standards Pushing Her Out?
So a snippet of Lil’ Kim’s new song dropped yesterday and well, let’s just move on…
Between the Drake-esque flows and the auto tuning, an interesting and heated discussion not around the song but Lil’ Kim herself emerged with some friends of mine, who questioned if Lil’
Kim was just too old to make a comeback.
And by old, I’m not talking about played out, to which I would agree to a certain extent. At some point, any rapper over the age of 30 still trying to play the role of a 21-year old girl, chasing after trends and dressing like he/she just stepped out of a high school, needs to probably go sit down somewhere. However, my male and female friends, believed that Lil’ Kim, who is around 36 years of age, is just too damn old period to rock the mic. “No one wants to listen to some old lady rap. It’s just not cute,” said one friend.
Wow. I find this idea of being too old to rap interesting considering that Jay-Z is not to far off from qualifying for an AARP membership himself and still continues to churn out music and play to sell-out audiences. I brought this point up to my friends but they weren’t hearing it. One of them remarked: “Listen, I know you don’t like to hear this but the lifespan of a female rapper is much shorter. No one wants to listen to a female rapper spittin’ about how Hot they are when they are 40. Deal wit it. Jay-Z is like a box of cereal with a long shelf life that you can eat at anytime and it still taste good, Lil’ Kim is like the gallon of milk. You got to hurry up and drink it or it goes bad.”
First off, I resented my friend’s summation of the role of women in hip-hop. Secondly, Lil’ Kim is 36, which is two years old than me. If as a woman listener, I can still bangs to hip-hop music than why can’t a woman rapper of a more mature age still be able to bust a rhyme or two and still be lyrically viable?
But I must admit that my friends did have a point – it is rare to see a woman MC past a certain age in the game. Queen Latifah, who was commanding us to put Ladies First in the industry, has abandoned the mic in favor of movies. Mc Lyte, who told us not to be Paper Thin, is still around but only as a guest host on award shows. Lady of Rage, well she was still rocking rough and stuff with her Afro Puffs on the BET cypher but ain’t no one calling her to spit verses on an album.
Matter of fact, most female emcees never seem to go past an album or two before being banished to the Def Jam early-retirement plan. And even the talk show Queen of Mean Wendy Williams seems to agree, when earlier this year she said, “for whatever reason, old lady rappers don’t work as well as old lady rockers.”