Jay-Z takes shots at LL Cool J saying that competing at his level, at his age is “rarefied air” in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine
Jay-Z also acknowledges the fact that the path that his career has taken is not the usual for most rappers—if any.
I guess when you are on top of the rap game, 40 years old, and bored you have nothing better to do than start beef with other 40 year olds?
We’ve seen people like LL Cool J have longevity and we respect the heritage of what he’s done but it’s not like right now he’s competing on the same level as Lil’ Wayne so for me to still be able to compete at that level at my age, that’s rarefied air, it’s never been done.”
Jay-Z feels that the real way to stay in the game is to stay true to who you are as a rapper and not try to make “young songs.”
I think the problem with people, as they start to mature, they say, ‘Rap is a young man’s game,’ and they keep trying to make young songs. But you don’t know the slang — it changes every day. You can visit the topic, but these young kids live it every day, and you’re just visiting. So you’re trying to be something you’re not, and the audience doesn’t buy into that. And people wonder why [they’re not selling]. ‘I made a great Southern bounce song!’ You’re from New York, and you’re 70! Why are you bouncing?”