RAP music recently turned 50, and so did many of its fans. Here are five iconic tracks all middle-aged men can do a strangely-accented version of.
Men in Black – Will Smith
This extraterrestrial-themed banger from the 1997 movie is rap if it had been invented by dads – inoffensive, lyrically incoherent and steeped in nostalgia. Wild Wild West is arguably better, but nothing can beat the spectacle of a dad bod stuffed into a holiday polo shirt singing: ‘We’re your first, last and only line of defence/ Against the worst scum of the universe.’
John Barnes’ bit from World in Motion – New Order
Every middle-aged man can relive 1990 and the glory days of Gazza, Waddle and Lineker by winding down the windows of his people carrier and rapping along to Barnesy and New Order at full volume. In the back seats the kids – decked out in full Man City kit despite being from Kent – beg him to stop. Meanwhile his wife considers hurling herself into the path of a lorry as he launches into: ‘Catch me if you can/ ‘Cause I’m the England man/ And what you’re looking at/ Is the master plan.’
Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio
A throwback to 1995 and a dad’s early teens. He begged his folks to buy this single on cassette from Woolworths. They only let him have it because it had no swearing in it. He then played it so much it became part of his DNA – gun violence and gangsta rap being very much part of growing up just outside Surbiton. He can still rap it line-for-line these days, normally in the shower. It’s the only time this homie gets any peace and quiet from his kids Noah and Ophelia.
My Name Is – Eminem
A key part of middle age is forgetting how long ago songs came out. So if men wish to impress onlookers with a rap, they don’t think of Kendrick Lamar, J Hus or Lil Uzi Vert and instead reach for this recent Eminem hit from 1999. They only know the radio edit, because their mum would have made them turn off the explicit version, but Eminem’s most obvious song works for them. More adventurous dads may enjoying spitting the lyrics ‘There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti’ from Lose Yourself as they put on their cosy Fairisle jumper.
U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
The lamest of the lame middle-aged rap genre and full-on ‘embarrassing dad’ stuff. Especially if he’s got a pair of late 80s parachute pants he’s excited to dig out for a fancy dress party. Family and friends and will wish he’d retained some street cred with an equally toe-curling rendition of NWA’s F**k Tha Police. Even though he’s on first name terms with the local rozzers now due to being a member of the parish council, and feels the kids graffitiing the bus stop need stringing up.