Aging Rappers Make Everyone Sad. Dead Rappers Too

I used to have a teacher who, whenever he was being mocked for being old would cheerily reply that it’s better than the alternative.  And with that, let’s talk about Snoop Dogg.

How do we feel about Snoop Dogg? I mean, he’s getting pretty old, right? He turns 40 before the end of this month. He has pretty much outlasted every rapper ever from his era. Check out wikipedia’s list of things he’s endorsed, which I will partially republish here (there are 36 items on the actual list), for posterity:

  • Boost Mobile cell phone
  • Metro PCS Samsung Galaxy 4G
  • “Vybe Mobile”
  • “Snoop Dogg Board Company (SDBC)” – skateboards and Luggage fabrication company (with Pentagon Distribution)
  • Love Don’t Live Here No More, Doggy Tales Vol.1 – love novel (co-written by David E. Talbert)
  • “WRFF” – unique design scooters
  • “Snoop Dogg Pet Accessory Line”
  • Snoop Dogg is a celebrity voice of a TomTom GPS navigation system.
  • “Hack is Wack” – Promoting Norton AntiVirus.

I mean, he made a Girls Gone Wild video and still gets to sponsor three different phone-related products. An Amazon review of  Love Don’t Live Here No More, Doggy Tales Vol. 1, claims it “would easily have become a bestseller,” with better marketing, so it must be true. And the title hints at sequels. It’s only been five years–I’m sure he’s working on it. Like he’s working on continuing “Lay Low” as promised at the end of that video.

But, I mean, back to the original point, Jesus Christ! He has shilled for Norton AntiVirus! This man was on Death Row Records! The evidence, on the balance, points to him going soft. In fairness, music in general and rap in particular are hard fields to age out of. And on the whole, he’s still been pretty successful at making music in the past decade (I maintain that “Signs” is criminally underrated, but that’s for another time).

He’s had a twenty-year career with very little in the way of failures. The only objectively negative contribution he’s made is the “-izzle” business, but that’s much more a victim of its own popularity than of its inherent annoyingness.

The reason I picked Snoop Dogg’s aging process as a topic of conversation today comes via The Daily Mail (so it must be true):

A sex tape has allegedly emerged of late rapper Tupac Shakur, 15 years after his death…

It was allegedly filmed during a house party and also sees Shakur with a cocktail in one hand and what is thought to be a joint in the other.

At the same time as getting the sexual attention of the woman, Shakur is  also engaged in conversation with Money B from rap group Digital Underground.

The reason this seems newsworthy is because Tupac died fifteen years ago. He was young and took himself very seriously in a way that Snoop Dogg used to, but eventually grew out of. Don’t believe me? Only remember Snoop Dogg as a jokester?

Forget all the TomToms and the pet accessories for a moment, and come back with me to 1994, when a young Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. was facing murder charges for driving a car from which his bodyguard fatally opened fired on Phillip Woldermarian. He would be arrested right after this performance.

Now, I’m not saying Tupac would’ve eventually started making songs with Katy Perry if he had survived. But people are constantly growing and changing. Maybe Tupac would’ve found that it didn’t make sense to be shouting “Thug Life” into his late-30s. We can never know because James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond and Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant  killed him. [under pressure from my publisher, I am being forced to retract that claim. Sorry, Jimmy Henchman and Haitian Jack. Please forgive the misunderstanding.]

The lesson, as always: even in death, you never know when someone is going to release a sex tape featuring you and one of the guys responsible for the Humpty Dance. But if there’s one thing we know about Tupac, it’s that you never can say when he is going to release a new, shockingly topical song to address this matter.

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