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From Jay-Z to Prodigy, It’s Time to Talk About Hip-Hop’s Elders


Jay-Z’s return with his new album “4:44” has stirred conversation about older artists in hip-hop.

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The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in pop music criticism, trends and news.

When music fans of a certain age gripe about how what’s happening now is infinitely inferior to what was happening back in the day, it is almost always false — an easy crutch to lean on instead of acknowledging the creativity of a new generation with different aesthetics and values.

That doesn’t mean looking backward is inherently bad, though. Recent weeks have occasioned several opportunities to do so: the return of Jay-Z, with his new album, “4:44”: the HBO docuseries “The Defiant Ones,” about the rise of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine; “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” a documentary about Sean Combs, a.k.a. Diddy, and Bad Boy Records; and the death of Prodigy, of Mobb Deep, at 42.

On this week’s Popcast, Mr. Caramanica leads a conversation about hip-hop elders, and a couple of youngsters, joined in Los Angeles by Sean Fennessey, the editor in chief of The Ringer and the host of The Big Picture podcast; Chris Ryan, the executive editor of The Ringer and a co-host of The Watch podcast; and Zach Baron, a staff writer at GQ.

Email your questions, thoughts and ideas about what’s happening in pop music to popcast@nytimes.com.

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