The State of 15 Rappers' Careers When They Turned 30

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 5 years ago '09        #1
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The State of 15 Rappers' Careers When They Turned 30
 

 

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Jay-Z
Year He Turned 30: 1999

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 4

When Jay-Z turned 30, he was a freshly minted superstar. His previous album, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, had gone five-times platinum. His entrepreneurial career was also in full swing, with his record label, Roc-A-Fella, and clothing line, Rocawear, both flourishing.

Side hustles notwithstanding, Hov also maintained an undeniable presence on the Billboard charts. Before his second classic, The Blueprint, Jay released Vol. 3... The Life and Times of S. Carter, a triple platinum, No. 1 album with crossover hits like "Big Pimpin'." Despite the heights, the Brooklyn rapper's reign was just beginning. He'd go on to dominate for the entirety of the next decade, heading up more businesses and releasing another 10 albums.

His "All I Need" lyric, "A n*gga been focused since I said 'Hi' to 30" proved to be prophetic.

Eminem
Year He Turned 30: 2003

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 5

Eminem is one of the best-selling artists in music history, and that became wholly apparent as he entered his fourth decade. At 30, Em had just released The Eminem Show, another multi-platinum smash. Mostly produced by him, it showcased him effortlessly balancing Marshall Mathers and Slim Shady with a compelling delivery. The album went on to win him a third Grammy for Best Rap Album.

Outside of music, Eminem was beginning an acting career. But at the same time, he was battling a drugs habit that became uncontrollable. During the filming of 8 Mile, his addiction to prescription pills grew. He told Rolling Stone in a 2011 interview, “We were doing 16 hours on the set, and you had a certain window where you had to sleep. One day somebody gave me an Ambien, and it knocked me the fu-k out. I was like, 'I need this all the time.'"


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Nas
Year He Turned 30: 2003

Number of Albums Released At The Time: 8

On the heels of a heated feud with Jay-Z, Nas was once again one of the most relevant and well-regarded rappers working. Before turning 30, he proved that Stillmatic's critical acclaim wasn't a fluke and continued to redeem his missteps of the late '90s with the successful releases of both The Lost Tapes and God’s Son in late 2002.

Singles “Made You Look,” “I Can,” and "Thugz Mansion" gave Nas serious momentum heading into his 30s, and even with the ups and downs of the decade since, it's this period that made it clear he'd be respected forever.

50 Cent
Year He Turned 30: 2005

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 2

50 Cent was at his commerical peak when he turned 30. G-Unit was taking off with signees Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Game all building their own fan bases. Then, after the huge success of 2003's Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, 50 followed up with The Massacre. The album sold 1.14 million copies its first week of release, establishing 50 as the undisputed hottest rapper in the game.

Andre 3000
Year He Turned 30: 2005

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 5 (With OutKast)

Andre 3000 began his transition to the film around the same time he released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below with Big Boi. In the years after that album and before Idlewild, which came in 2006, 3 Stacks took roles in movies like Be Cool, Four Brothers and Revolver.

He's since gone on a run of guest appearances on other artists' albums, sparking discussions about a solo album, presumably due sometime in 2013.

Rick Ross
Year He Turned 30: 2006

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 1

Rick Ross was 30 when he released his debut, Port Of Miami. On that album, Ross’ drug-dealing narratives and husky delivery set the stage for the dominant MC we see today. Songs like “Hustlin” and “Push It” were rap anthems that went mainstream, and are widely ranked among the modern classics in the Miami rapper's catalog.

Cam'ron
Year He Turned 30: 2006

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 5

Killa Cam had a crazy 2006. A then 30-year-old Cam was feuding with Jay-Z and released a diss track titled “You Got To Love It.” Hov allegedly blocked him from getting a Vice President position at Roc-A-Fella. The song also addressed an incident from the year prior in which Cam'ron was shot after a failed carjacking in Washington D.C.

2006 was was also the year when Cam released k!lla Season, a street favorite out of NYC right as Southern rap was becoming the dominant sound in hip-hop. Cam released a violent, hilarious, low-budget film, also titled k!lla Season, around the same time.


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2 Chainz
Year He Turned 30: 2006

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 1

Before the solo success and affiliation with G.O.O.D. Music, Tauheed Epps was just Tity Boi, one-half of Atlanta duo, Playaz Circle. The group released an independent album, United We Stand, United We Fall, in 2002 that got them introduced to Ludacris. They would eventually sign to Disturbing Tha Peace.

Outside of a hit with "Duffle Bag Boy" in 2007, Epps would remain relatively unknown. That all changed years later when he re-branded himself as 2 Chainz.

Kanye West
Year He Turned 30: 2007

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 3

Kanye West had already established himself as a successful rapper after two excellent albums—The College Dropout and Late Registration—but in 2007, with a streak of hot guest appearances and the release of his third LP, Graduation, Kanye had become the most influential figure in hip-hop.

This was proven when 'Ye battled rap's previous sales king, 50 Cent, for the No. 1 album in America when they both released projects on September 11. Kanye ended up winning with 957,000 in first-week sales.

Ludacris
Year He Turned 30: 2007

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 5

Ludacris shifted to a more mature sound that started with 2004's The Red Light District and culminated in 2006's Release Therapy. The album cover had Luda sporting a new look and featured collaborations with R&B greats like R. Kelly (“Woozy”) and “Runaway Love” (Mary J. Blige) that cemented his coming of age. The album was a commercial success and won Luda the Best Rap Album award at the 2007 Grammys.

His acting career was also buzzing at the time, following up Crash with minor roles in American Hustle and Fred Claus. These would later give him the necessary accolades to be casted in major films like 2008’s Max Payne.


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Pusha T
Year He Turned 30: 2007

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 2 (With Clipse)

Pusha T was still making strides with his brother Malice, years before his name was changed to No Malice. Clipse released their second album, Hell Hath No Fury, that featured the edgy production styles of the Neptunes. The LP came four years after their critically acclaimed debut, Lord Willin', but proved to be worth the wait, again, receiving extremely favorable reviews.

One of its tracks, “Mr. Me Too,” contained subliminal jabs at Lil Wayne for wearing BAPE. These lines marked the beginning of Pusha and Wayne's beef that still hasn't fizzled out, to this day.

Young Jeezy
Year He Turned 30: 2008

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 3

Young Jeezy brought in his 30s with the release of The Recession. On that album, Jeezy’s endorsement of presidential candidate Barack Obama ("My President), helped transcend the Atlanta rapper's appeal from street-oriented audiences to the masses, particularly when Obama indeed won the election in November 2008.

2005's "Soul Survivor" was a top 5 single on the pop charts, and The Inspiration scored him a platinum plaque the following year, but Jeezy's first year of his 30s was when his ambition came full circle.

T.I.
Year He Turned 30: 2010

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 7

T.I. had just come off a streak of wildly successful albums, but two years ago, his career was in the midst of a few hiccups. After serving a nine-month prison term for federal gun charges in 2009, he would get into another incident in Los Angeles a year later. He was arrested for drug possession of ecstasy, which violated his probation. This would stall his career since he was forced to serve another 11-month sentence starting in October of that year.

T.I. was prepping the release of King Uncaged, which was changed to No Mercy, because of his incarceration. Despite poor promotion and poorly-received singles, the album still went gold.


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Curren$y
Year He Turned 30: 2011

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 6

Spitta just turned 30 a year ago, and the New Orleans rapper's tireless work ethic is still intact. After countless mixtapes and two Pilot Talk releases with Def Jam Curren$y caught the attention of another major. In 2011, he inked a deal with Warner Bros. for his Jet Life imprint. Weekend At Burnie’s was the first release, with Curren$y sounding as comfortable as ever.

Lupe Fiasco
Year He Turned 30: 2012

Number of Albums Released at the Time: 4

Lupe just turned 30 in February, and in the half decade or so that he's been active, the Chicago native has become one of the most polarizing figures in hip-hop. His interviews, Twitter rants, and music have drawn criticisms, yet, it’s these characteristics that make Lupe one of the genre’s greatest artists and lyricists today.

His latest release, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, is an example of Lupe in his element—rapping about political and social content with a sharp focus on technical delivery. It’s been his musical style for a number of years and looks to be for the foreseeable.


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 Curren$y — The State of 15 Rappers' Careers When They Turned 30 | Complex

85 comments for "The State of 15 Rappers' Careers When They Turned 30"

 5 years ago '11        #2
ChickBoss414 27 heat pts27
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-- Interesting analyses, yet what does being 30 have to do with anything other than being 30. This is just another way to subliminally weave ageism into the basis of how we percieve rappers and hip-hop culture-- as to say the elders/gatekeepers need to give it up or sit down! Creativity has no age limit...
 5 years ago '10        #3
ReelCeasar 181 heat pts181
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thought spitta was olderr hes still pretty young.
 5 years ago '07        #4
Playa 70 heat pts70
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Forgot somebody
 10-08-2012, 10:24 PM         #5
bigree61 
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so you gone leave wayne off because what he did by 30 is only macthed by 2pac
 5 years ago '05        #6
KDE21K 
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.... Wait for it.... Waaaaiiit fooooorrr it
 5 years ago '12        #7
5E8FW 
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E-40 sold a million albums at age 40. Solo.
 5 years ago '11        #8
UrbanGAAWD 209 heat pts209
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50 cent is 37......geezzz things are getting old...i remember selling bootleg Get Rich or Die Trying albums in middle school....think i was in the 8th grade...uncle just bought me a cd burner and just started using boxden...damn i've been on this site damn near 10 years....fu*k....i feel old at 24 lol

far as i'm concern...jay-z is the biggest artist on this list....marshall LP and eminem show were before he was 30....basically camron, juelz and jim jones clown jay-z for being old yet they are getting up in age now and they haven't been hot since the middle of last decade...them n*ggas careers are over
 5 years ago '05        #9
Universal~Mind 59 heat pts59
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 bigree61 said:
so you gone leave wayne off because what he did by 30 is only macthed by 2pac
Comparing wayne to Pac?
 5 years ago '05        #10
WCIB 111 heat pts111
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If they're gonna have Andre 3000 on the list, they should have Big Boi on it too. Until proven otherwise, Andre 3000's success in hip-hop is tied to Big Boi... Ain't no solos under his belt that were sold separately from his partner... sh*t is becoming lame and disrespectful IMO and it's wildly underrating Big Boi and overrating Andre... Vent ended.

And where's Ice Cube and Snoop?
 5 years ago '11        #11
UrbanGAAWD 209 heat pts209
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 WCIB said:
If they're gonna have Andre 3000 on the list, they should have Big Boi on it too. Until proven otherwise, Andre 3000's success in hip-hop is tied to Big Boi... Ain't no solos under his belt that were sold separately from his partner... sh*t is becoming lame and disrespectful IMO and it's wildly underrating Big Boi and overrating Andre... Vent ended.

And where's Ice Cube and Snoop?
but when you think of Speakerboxx/Love Below you think of Love Below....my man andre came correct on that whole disc....big boi had sprinkle good songs on speakerboxx
 5 years ago '10        #12
keezy504 18 heat pts18
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Wtf i thought pusha t was a young n*gga.
 5 years ago '10        #13
BBhiphop 523 heat pts523
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why is 2 Chainz on this list ==
 5 years ago '10        #14
BBhiphop 523 heat pts523
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 keezy504 said:
Wtf i thought pusha t was a young n*gga.
young? how old are you lol...you realize he had probably his biggest hit over 10 years ago right?
 5 years ago '11        #15
UrbanGAAWD 209 heat pts209
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 bigree61 said:
so you gone leave wayne off because what he did by 30 is only macthed by 2pac
Tupac died at 25 and was only in hip hop for 5 years and look at his impact and to be honest tupac spent damn near a full year in jail so for 4 years Tupac did what every rapper wishes they could accomplish

Lil Wayne at 25 was some fake gangster wearing baggy clothing with gaudy chains and making out with another man he claims is his "daddy"


Last edited by UrbanGAAWD; 10-09-2012 at 03:45 PM..
 5 years ago '06        #16
Mike in Tampa 20 heat pts20
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 urbangatsby said:
but when you think of Speakerboxx/Love Below you think of Love Below....my man andre came correct on that whole disc....big boi had sprinkle good songs on speakerboxx
Doesn't matter. Andre has no solo releases.
 5 years ago '10        #17
keezy504 18 heat pts18
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 BBhiphop said:
young? how old are you lol...you realize he had probably his biggest hit over 10 years ago right?
I know but i thought he was ilke 16 back then.

I'm 22 now.
 5 years ago '12        #18
ThePainkiller 347 heat pts347
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LOL at putting Overrated 3000 on the list.
 5 years ago '04        #19
justinjones 307 heat pts307
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this set of rappers is going to show how far can a rapper go age wise. mainly jay-z and nas. seems like eminem might slow down soon but he doesn't drop a lot of material anyway the last few years
 5 years ago '05        #20
dblockallday 
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my fav rappers are so old now
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