Rage of the Age
Local rapper making name for self on Internet
By Fawn Porter
Thursday, May 25, 2006
It’s quite alright if you call him elderly because that’s his rap. Literally.
Mustang’s “El D’Rage” is 60 years old, but he’s not about to let that slow him down from his side career – creating and performing rap music.
Rich Smith said he’s on a mission to create rap music that transcends generations and that all people can listen to – without being offended.
“I was always interested in music and listened to rap and was turned off,” he said. “I thought I could do a lot better than that and I started doing it.”
A Minnesota native, El D’Rage said his music is about three things: a celebration of baby boomers and their parents, unwrapping the rappers and sharing life experiences accumulated through the years.
“First, it’s a celebration of two proud generations – the aptly named ‘Greatest Generation’ and their notoriously funky kids, the Baby Boomers,” he said. “These two generations have experienced it all – the Great Depression, wars, peace, poverty, riches … and El D’Rage’s rap puts lyrics to their lives.”
Secondly, El D’Rage said his music is about “unwrapping the rappers” – a phrase meant to abandon certain aspects of modern rap music.
He said rap music originated as an “insightful drama of life in American ghettos,” but quickly became nothing more than violent, racist music geared toward making the artist money.
“It’s everything America shouldn’t stand for,” he said. “(Rap music) had denigrated into a foul-mouthed expression of all that is wrong with America. Much of it is racist, sexist, obscene, hateful and just plain wrong for our kids.
El D’Rage said rap’s modern take propagates the wrong message – crime pays, disrespect pays, being offensive pays and doing one’s worst will “reap the rewards of a nation growing too fat, too dumb and lazy to give a hoot.”
His call is for parents to stand up and “do your job.”
Finally, through his raps, El D’Rage said he wants to take the life lessons of those over age 60, teaching future generations with them.
“Elder Rap is about teaching the three T’s – tent, twenties and thirties – about the values and experiences of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations,” he said. “I want to entertain them with things they like … but many (songs) have adult themes like life, death, loss, fun … you name it.”
One of El D’Rage’s raps, “Sunday Morning,” compares spending a Sunday morning with a loved one to feeling the pain of loss. He said his inspiration came when he and his wife Cath – whose rapper name is Puppy Luv – were living in Puerto Rico. Having gone to Starbucks for coffee and spending the morning at the piers, El D’Rage said he saw a man at a nearby table whose eyes held the hollowness of having been with someone his entire life and recently found himself without that person.
“The look in his eyes … you could tell he’d never been alone like this before,” El D’Rage said. “I put those two concepts together … and if you listen to it there’s a bit of a twist.”
The rapper describes his music as, “what you’d like your grandfather to sound like … but not necessarily when you’re with him!”
“There are lots of messages, lots of moralizing and lots of reliving the good old days,” he said.
He also coins his rap as “Geritol for mature ears.”