Jay-Z, diam's, the list is prestigious.
In rap, there are so many retirement announcements (and so little respect) that we don't even pay attention to them anymore. However, several times the announcements were true, and the rappers kept their word and really ended their careers, although they were often at the peak of their popularity. We've put together a short list of 5 “retirees” from the rap game who could still fill halls and even stadiums if they ever get their hands on a microphone again.
We start with the most famous and biggest name on our list, good old Jig. Jay-Z who already spoke about his desire to retire… in 2003, more than twenty years ago! When he first spoke about it seriously, he was only 34 years old, but he released eight albums in seven years. Superhuman pace, especially at that time, when it was not enough to record songs, arrange them and put them on Spotify to call it an album. Recently, in an interview with Kevin Hart, he admitted that he no longer makes music regularly and has no plans to record an album again. What is certain, if Jigga released new songs and went on tour, he would easily fill any hall in the world, like when he set Panama on fire with Kanye with his “Niggas in Paris”.
The loss is still just as painful for French rap, which has failed to bring forth a new female face with as much talent as Diam's. It must be said that it is a complicated mission, since Diam remains in the top of the artists who have sold the most records in the history of rap in France. With “Brut de femme”, and especially with “Dans ma Bulle”, Mélanie became a real representative of this music, from which we can no longer distance ourselves. She is also one of the few artists who honored her retirement announcement in 2012: since that date, there are no more traces of Diam on the microphone. However, she is still the emblematic artist of an entire generation, and if she were to return one day, we have no doubt that she could fill the Stade de France!
Has Nekfeu officially announced his retirement or the end of his music career? Not. But the Parisian rapper still left a few traces in his discography, to say that he really didn't appreciate all the “advances” that one has to endure when being a star in the rap game: the pressure of fans who always want something new, the fact that sometimes he feels locked in ” the box” with a role to play, the “celebrity” he doesn't like at all, the one who prefers anonymity and peace. In short, we decided, Nekfe will not last long in this game. We're not even sure we'll ever hear him on anything new again, the one who has remained very discreet since his last solo album, “Etoiles Vagabondes”, in 2019, even if we still see him from time to time. presentation. But even without a new solo album for four years, we know very well that if Bercy were to program, he would sell out in minutes, as was the case in 2016 right before the release of “Cyborg”.
One of the rappers we missed the most in the history of the French rap game. He regrets all the more that his “rough”, loud, uncompromising attitude, but also his authenticity and sincerity, even if sometimes shocking, influenced entire generations of French rappers, who all cite him as a reference. The one who rapped “I don't want the status of an artist, what I do is dirty” never officially announced his retirement, he simply left, without any fuss, after the release of his album “Tko me voli, prati me” in 2010. Since then, there has been no news, but as a true “Boulogne Boy”, we imagine that he is still somewhere in 92. And if we know that the gifts of his generation will never return, we can't help but think what a fuss it would be if he decided again to make a concert, and it is powered by all the rappers who call themselves his fans (Dinos, Sofiane, DA Uzi and many others) who would come.
We finish in style, with the true pioneers of the rap movement in the United States. Public Enemy is one of the few groups that is almost unanimous in America, and almost no artist has risked clashing with them because they are almost untouchable monuments. Their incendiary lyrics against the American society, its racism, its manipulative media have passed through the centuries, and above all, inspired an entire part of the global rap game of the 90s. And if Chuck D, Flavor Flav and their friends from Long Island haven't released anything since 2020, we know that all music listeners 40 and older would be there to raise hell with the sound of “Fight The Power” or “911 is a joke”.