Jay-Z is one of the greatest rappers of all-time. NO ONE DENIES THIS. Between his 1996 stunning debut Reasonable Doubt and 2003’s The Black Album, Hova put out one classic after another, including The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, which screw you, has aged well. Then something weird happened: Jay-Z got old. Yes, even once-in-a-generation rappers age, and while Jay’s still able to do something brilliant here and there (like “Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)”), his output has diminished in quality over the years. The Blueprint 3 was the work of a man who desperately wanted to appear younger than he actually was; protege Kanye consistently sounded more engaged than his mentor on Watch the Throne; and the less said about his verse on “Suit & Tie,” the better.
I’m not hating on Jay (he’s Jay-Z; I’m not) — I just think he’s going through something right now. He’s become A Cool Dad, the guy who tries to prove to his kid’s friends just how hip he is. There might even be a little bit of a mid-life crisis going on in there, at least if you go by the symptoms provided here. For proof…
He’s surrounding himself with people younger than he is.
He’s robbing the cradle. (Next up: divorces Beyonce, marries Solange.)
He’s referencing 1990s alt-rock (find the R.E.M. lyric, this coming a week after his Nirvana nod).
He’s bored with his actual job and decided to try something radically new, in this case, being a sports agent.
He’s obsessed with the holy grail, which keeps you forever youthful.
He’s reading Time, to stay in touch with The Young Kids.
He’s a 42-year-old man wearing skinny jeans.
If he shows up at a Chili’s, we’ll know we’re onto something.
(via Getty Image)