Like mainstream society the definition of a Veteran has changed in Hip Hop, gone are the days when we expect a rapper to gracefully bow out once they pass there 35th or 40th birthday. We are now in a new era of hip hop where the veterans are blazing paths and making new deals at a rate never seen before in our culture. Take a moment to look at the obvious candidates for this blog piece Jay-z, what other rapper took Oprah too the projects or had a sit down with financial titanWarren Buffet to have an engaging conversation for all people not just hip hop heads. Or Dr. Dre who hasn’t released a studio album in over 10 years but still sits atop the Forbes list with his Beats by Dre headphones line. Wall street loves hip hop, mainstream America is accepting hip hop and the culture is cashing in led by the new veterans of game.
Go back with me to the late 80’s in the deep south, Port Arthur , TX to be exact a town right outside of Houston. A legendary rap group was being formed consisting of two members the outspoken Chad Butler aka Pimp c , and the more laid back underrated Bun B. Collectively they became the inspiration for the southern style that you see present in hip hop today. Fast forward to Jay-z ‘s Big Pimping a chart topping hit that featured the duo and also took them from regional to national attention grabbers. Pimp C has since passed on to record in the studio in the sky, but Bun is making a way for himself as a legend that will be long remembered when he’s done. Bun recently joined the staff at Rice University as an distinguished lecturer on the topic of Hip-Hop and religion. Bun also created a new line of coloring books based on Hip Hop artists; an idea that’s fresh and new, combine that with his new website for foodies “You Gotta Eat This” and being a fixture at the upscale rally race Gumball 3000, and its clear he’ssurpassing expectations and crushing stereotypes of what a hip hop vet is and what they can be successful at. Hip Hop sees you Bun and we salute.
Now to another Hip Hop vet , google the name Earl Stevens. Not only does the occupation of rapper appear in his Wiki profile but it also states that Earl or as we know him E-40 is an entrepreneur , and investor. E-40 has been nestled away in his corner of California known as “The Bay” for nearly two decades. During that time releasing numerous projects , doing numerous features, and creating a language of slang that couldn’t be taught by Rosetta Stone. Investments include buying early stock in Microsoft , (though the rappers later says he wish’s it was Apple), also a California burger chain FatBurger, and bringing a Wingstop to his local Cali area, and to top all of that he even released a dictionary explaining his lingo and slang called “Book of Slang” and 40 water energy drinks was recently added to his profile . So while Earl may not be a multi platinum selling artist he is the perfect example of a hip hop vet thriving in today’s game and again we salute.
Now I just singled out two of many Hip Hop vets that are taking HipHop to new heights not seen before in our culture. The remarkable thing about these two and numerous other artist is seeing the transition and how successful the moves have been . From a young Sean Puffy Combs interning at Uptown for free then turning that into his own Cable TV network, to a shirtless Kangol and sweatpants rocking LL Cool J, that grew into the lead of a top rated primetime network show, to a former drug dealing Sean Carter that would eventually work with famed director Ron Howard on his own documentary for his Made in America Festival. It is clear that the new class of Hip Hop veterans are setting up the culture to be more successful than ever and we are enjoying the view and looking forward to reaping those benefits…………………Happy Veterans Day to that!!!!