Rap Pioneers Reach Middle Age

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    When rap music was introduced in late 1979 with a huge hit titled “Rapper’s Delight,” just about everybody believed the catchy song was a one-time-only novelty.

    Talking over a bass line and break section borrowed from Chic’s No. 1 hit “Good Times” from a few months earlier. Imagine that. And when more rap records came along, the assumption was that it was a fad. Little did we know, this was actually the birth of hip-hop.

    Rap was a young Black man’s thing. But many years have passed and the original rap stars are all middle-aged, or close to it. That includes the Sugarhill Gang, the trio who made “Rapper’s Delight.” Their ages range from 52 to 62.

    It seems rather strange, but the following is the new reality.

    Grandmaster Flash is 51. Darryl McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. is 45 and his partner, Joseph Simmons, will be 45 on Nov. 14. Kurtis Blow is 50. Chuck D from Public Enemy has reached 49. Kool Moe Dee may have had to adjust to being 47.

    Big Daddy Kane is 41. Marley Marl celebrated birthday number 47. Master P is 40. Doug E. Fresh has reached 43, as has Too Short. Melle Mel is 48. KRS-One turned 44 this year. Afrika Bambaataa knows what it feels like to be 49. Slick Rick is 44.

    As the years march on, it will eventually look a little silly for someone to still be rapping. Fortunately, some have found success in the acting field, including LL Cool J and Will Smith (both 41), Ice-T (51), Heavy D (42) and Ice Cube (40).

    IN COMPLETELY different music territory, we all remember the pop supergroup Tony Orlando & Dawn, who also had their own highly successful television show. Dawn consisted of two Detroiters, Joyce Vincent Wilson and well-known actress Telma Hopkins.

    Vincent (it’s no longer “Wilson”) recently joined the Former Ladies of the Supremes, a group comprised of latter-day Supremes Lynda Lawrence and Scherrie Payne. The group, whose third member was originally Diana Ross replacement Jean Terrell, has been working since 1986. Of course, Vincent was never a Supreme, but that’s not a problem.

    Chris Brown, getting ready for his “fan appreciation tour,” is well aware of the fact that being accepted again following the Rihanna scandal will be an uphill battle. Still, he is guardedly excited about his new album, “Graffiti,” which is slated for Dec. 15 release.

    That is also the date when Alicia Keys’ album, “The Element of Freedom,” is expected to become available. I love the title of one of the tracks: “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart.”

    Tyler Perry says he wishes fellow filmmaker Spike Lee would back off with the criticism, which he says is “insulting.”

    SEEMS TO me that age 37 is a bit young for someone to be writing their autobiography. But that is just what Wyclef Jean, former member of the Fugees, is doing right now.

    Madonna has never been one to pull any punches. She is to be admired for laying it on the line in a recent interview. “I’m not going to let public opinion dictate my feelings about myself,” she said. “And I’m not to apologize for anything I’ve done.”

    Beyoncé  postponed her concert tour of Malaysia after the government suggested that her show might be “immoral.” Can you imagine that?

    Although “Soul Train” is off the air, the Soul Train Music Awards continues. The ceremony was taped Nov. 3 and will air on BET and Centric on Nov. 29.

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW ….that Nina Simone’s name was really Eunice Waymon.

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