Old People

'90s-Era Rap Is Officially the New Dad-Rock

Ain't no party like a minivan party, cause a minivan party — especially one that's blaring "Straight Outta Compton" — don't stop.

Well, perhaps that's not quite accurate. That minivan party stops at the day-care, and the grocery store, and at softball practice. But you can goddamn guarantee it picks right back up where it left off when that old Ford Aerostar van cranks back up and NWA starts blaring out of those cheap speakers again. 'Burb dads go hard, y'all. Remember the era of Dad Rock? Urban Dictionary defines it this way:

The standard set of albums from the '60s and '70s that every boomer likes. Boomers try to get younguns to listen to dad rock by loading up 'best albums ever' lists with them. Dad rockers have no desire to listen to recent music and are stuck in the past.

In short order, it was the worst. But while plenty of innocent wives, girlfriends and children were horrified by the never-ending CREAM playlists associated with Dad Rock, the mortification isn't even close to what they've had to deal with over the last year or so thanks to a little thing called Dad Rap. The Dad Rap era is worse. Way worse. 

So what exactly is Dad Rap? Well, it's kind of like Dad Rock, only the relatively chill sound of Neil Young — an acceptable sound for the olds — is replaced with a balls-out Compton beat and a whole lotta NWA rage. You see, this time around, suburban dads have rediscovered '90s rap and hip-hop, and they're killing what's left of the genre's coolness in spades.

Unlike with Dad Rock, '90s hip-hop didn't feel quite that...well...old yet, but it will be if these guys get their way. There ain't nothin' legit about a minivan — even if you put it on 20 inch blades (please don't) — and there ain't nothin' legit about the dude with a dad bod rapping and throwing up crude Cinco Ranch gang signs as he drives the neighborhood carpool to swim lessons, either. And yet they do it anyway. Stop doing it anyway.

You know that middle-aged dude on your block? The one with four kids and a mancave, who used to drum away in the garage to cheesy old hair-metal songs? Well, chances are, he's a Dad Rapper now. He's rediscovered his "legit" side, and instead of sporting that holey Journey shirt with pride, he's trolling Amazon for an old-school Tupac shirt right this very moment. He'll wear with that "Thug Life" shirt with pride as he runs errands across the city — picking up quiche for the dinner party, or the pants at the tailor — as he jams out to Run-DMC and Public Enemy with no shame. Hopefully someone shuts off the Internet before he succeeds.  

Dad Rap fanatics like him are everywhere, you guys, unabashedly displaying their love of Digable Planets — and their bogus rhythm — any chance they get. They congregate at PTA meetings and Snoop Dogg concerts, complaining about the skunky smell and how chafed their shoulders are from the Baby Bjorn. And listen, we'll admit that there's something pretty darn hilarious about watching a dude in stonewashed, relaxed-fit jeans spitting the lyrics, "I rock rough and stuff with my Afro Puffs," and sometimes you may be tempted to egg them on with the call of "get on with your bad selves."

We understand the urge. But don't give in. Just...don't. No good can come of it. Chafing and minivans and the Dad Rap dorky flava in your ear may seem harmless, but it's not. These are the same guys who made poor Tom Petty lame; please don't let them take away A Tribe Called Quest, too. It's all of the acceptable nostalgia us '90s-era fools have left. They can keep rap from the '80s like Sugarhill Gang's "Apache," though. That stuff is ripe for the Dad-Rap pickins.