Hip-Hop Is Really Old

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I think Just-Ice was the first rapper whose lyrics I listened to and thought, "Oh, wow." I mean I liked other rappers before, but for me, Just was the precusor of the whole Kool G, Rap/Rakim/Nas/Wu aesthetic that sticks with me to this day. His approach was just ill--starting off with the ironic, "To the best of my knowledge, I guess that I'm fresh..."


Anyway, it's interesting to listen to this joint and think that as early as mid-80s, rappers--and rap fans--were nostalgic for a lost era. I mean, I was born in 75. KRS and Red Alert look like they're having so much fun...

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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