There’s a certain point in an entertainer’s career when they ought to stop and ask themselves, “Is it time for me to sit my ass down somewhere?” For a number of rappers who’ve enjoyed great successes over several years but are currently stifled, the moment is now. Well, technically the alarm went off for that about five years ago, only the snooze option is no longer available.
Enter the 44-year-old LL Cool J, who just released a new single called “Ratchet.” If you needed any remaining proof that it’s time to tie “ratchet” up, shoot it, bury it, and then build an arena over it, just in case it tries to crawl its way out of his casket, here you go.
Not to be done, there’s Fat Joe’s “Instagram That Hoe,” a horrifically non-catchy song geared towards the creepy old man in the club living inside you.
There are other rappers in danger of embarrassing themselves in their pursuit of rebuilding rap relevance – what up, Ludacris and T.I. – but LL Cool J and Fat Joe are hurting the most. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are lessons to be learned, and in the latest roundtable, the ghosts of hip-hop’s past attempt to encourage their peers to get out of the booth and log onto Career Builder.
Will Smith: I had a great run in rap, but when you start getting calls from Luther Vandross threatening to choke you with a shiny jacket after you and your wife butcher one of the man’s biggest hits, you begin to wonder whether or not it’s worth it anymore. LL, mama said knock you out in 1990, but Big Willie is begging you to cancel all studio sessions from this day forward. Don’t go out like this, man. You’re better than this. You’re an actor. By the way, Luther’s ghost still haunts me. Never piss off a man that wears that much purple.
Ice-T: What the hell is “Ratchet” and “Instagram That Hoe,” man? That s*it is garbage, man. We came all the way from Rakim, we came all the way from Das EFX, we came all the way from dudes flowing like Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube, and you come with that s*it? Soulja Boy done already given hip-hop diabetes, man, so what? You trying to cut off its leg now? You don’t even want to try insulin, you’re just like, “Nah, cut off raps limbs.” You want hip-hop walking around like a three-legged clown? Like Big Ears, Bigger Money said, why can’t you just act, LL? Fat Joe, I’m pretty sure I can get you a role as a Puerto Rican pedophile on SVU. Say the word.
Master P: I don’t know what they talking about, ya heard me? I say if you can string along seven words together and make at least two of them rhyme you still got it, ya feel me?
Ice-T: Oh, so this is still having it? Smoking with your grand nephew? Man, didn’t you file for Chapter 7 and 11 years ago? You want know s*it I don’t like? People like you who couldn’t rap when you were popular sounding even worse 20 years later. God gave you a way out – pimping out your kids and collecting management fees – so stop being greedy and accept the blessing.
Master P: But what about I Got The Hook Up 2?
Nelly: Me, personally, I agree with P. You ain’t gotta stop just because you get old or if your last album went copper. This life is like a penny. After a while, folks act like they’re too good to use you, but you stick around anyway because eventually they’re going to need you. Say, when they’re at Jack in the Box at 2:00 in the morning trying to get two tacos to tame the liquor. Got change, y’all? I’m saying, be that penny.
Ice-T: Yo, so you’re just never going to hire a speech coach, huh, Cornell?
Will Smith: Why hasn’t Nelly quit while he’s way behind and go shoot a fitness DVD? He can call it “St. Lunatic Those Love Handles” or something. No need to pay me, Nelly, just move out the way. Jaden is coming with his Cali grammar.
Nelly: Sure Will, maybe I’ll include “Boom! Shake The Room?” as a thank you. Or not. Ice, I only listen to you on Wednesday nights.
MC Hammer: Hold on, can someone explain to me why I’m Instragramming a hoe? Shouldn’t you be more interested in liking the hoe versus getting strangers to like your picture of that hoe?
Ice-T: Focus on the point. These dudes are supposed to be OGs of hip-hop but they going out like suckers. Can’t even get a hit now if God ghostwrite it.
MC Hammer: All I got to say is trying to keep up with new breed may sound like a good idea... for now. You’re in your speedo, girls are all around, and everyone around you is saying “’Pumps in a Bump’ is going to be huge!” Later you find yourself standing out front of your now foreclosed home with a box full of unsold copies of The Funky Headhunter.
Will Smith: And click, clack, trick, it won’t be Hammertime ever again.
Ice-T: No matter what a man name Percy tells you, the same thing is going to happen to you if you don’t stop releasing bullshit. Fat Joe, open up a Fatburger.
Will Smith: LL, call Debbie Allen and Maia Campbell and give my kids that In The House reunion they’ve been dying for.
Nelly: What about me?
Ice-T: Call VH1
Will Smith:…or Ashanti, she seems like the only one who cares.