By Gene Denby
Hip-hops Big Bang exploded four decades ago this week at a party that Kool Herc threw at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, N.Y. The legend goes that this was the first time someone had ever scratched turntables while an MC rhymed over a breakbeat. It was from that humble, late-summer party — admission was 25 cents for ladies and 50 cents for fellas! — that a whole movement would be birthed.
This young persons genre, powered mightily by braggadocio and irreverence, is now 40 and undeniably middle-aged. It may have been that cliched angst about aging might be why Jay Z tried to outslick Father Time a few years ago: 30s the new 20. Then later he was claiming to be “Young Forever.” You protest too much, my dude.
And so it seems kind of fitting that the biggest news in hip-hop this week was Kendrick Lamars verse on an unreleased Big Sean track called “Control.” His lyrics got a lot of attention mostly because he called out a bunch of other youngish 20-something rappers and boasted that he was better than all of them. Lamar is hip-hops reigning Big Thing, and deservedly so: After making noise on mixtapes, his proper debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, was at or near the top of just about every Best of 2012 list.