It’s been long believed that rap is no country for old men, resulting in every artist subconsciously running a race against father time. Being that rap is a sport largely predicated on youth, many artists in the genre strive to stay young at heart and in spirit, for fear of having the game pass them by. For many artists, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel or exit plan once a rapper reaches the twilight of their career. this has manifested in a number of tragic stories about those who have failed to adjust to life beyond the mic. On the flip side, as rap artists have matured as creatives and businessmen, there has been an increased focus on setting one’s self up to maintain their lifestyle and afford themselves to pick up and put down the mic whenever they see fit.
A number of artists have toyed with the idea of retirement while in the prime years of their careers, but it’s usually under the guise of driving up record sales or interest in a forthcoming project. However, there has been the rare occasion when a rapper that’s still able to move the needle and perform at an elite level decides to go on a farewell tour, albeit leaving the door open for their eventual return.
VIBE looks back at some of the more notorious instances of rappers calling it quits over the years by way of a studio album or musical project.