Senility isn't a pretty thing, particularly if it affects your grandmama or uncle Charles. And once it hits your rap heroes, it's even worse. For the most part, we folks in our late twenties and early thirties have succumbed to the preternatural forces that make hip-hop a commercial juggernaut, knowing today will never compare to the exuberance of yesterday but submitting to the sparkle of a new Missy-and-Timbaland joint just the same. More interesting is witnessing how the seemingly infallible players from back in the day age into the uncertainty of tomorrow. Grandmaster Caz runs with a youth organization uptown, hawking Type I cassette dubs of his legendary battles ($20 per slaying), and there's a certain poignancy in his trying to catch raindrops with a teaspoon. Chuck D sounds as if he's divorced himself from hip-hop entirely, letting the lessons learned from his Def Jam days (It Takes Russell Simmons to Hold Us Back) serve as guidance on the digital frontier; but at least in his creakiness he's had the decency to formally change his name to... More >>>