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.

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