Oh, Chi Ali, we hardly knew thee....
Age Ain't Nothin' but a Number was a nice little hit for the Black Sheep sidekick back in 1992. I must, say, it is quite the catchy little song.
In it, Chi attempts to debunk the age old myth that maturity is linked to age. Instead, purports Mr. Ali, maturity is an attained by everyone at their own pace. Age, in fact, is nothing but a number.
Curiously, however, right out of the box, Ali seems to link maturity to age. He discourages girls from excessive hookups while they're still too young to handle sexually charged relationships and advises them that he will wait until they're a bit older and, yes more mature, to hook up with them. And lest they think that just being older and more mature will enable them to diss the young superstar, beware, as he will play them for sure.
In the second verse, Ali dismisses a girl out of hand as she is merely 13 years old - Ali would have 15 or 16 at the time, having been born in 1976. Ali is hitting on the girl and threatening to "snuff" her boyfriend the next time he's feeling tough but upon hearing that she is only 13, he is audi. Her body is that of a young woman, but he advises her to take three years and call him in the morning when she is mentally ready to handle a man such as himself.
Finally, in the last verse, Chi seems to circle back to his original point. He hits on a 17 year old down in the village who recognizes him due to his rap-based fame. While she seems to be attracted to him, she is aware of his age and deems him too young for her. Oh, for shame, nameless hot 17 year old, for you have just proved yourself to be small minded and, thus, not worthy of our hero, Chi. While her body may that of a woman, perhaps even one of the flyest women in the world, mentally, alas, she is just a little girl.
So, ultimately, I think Ali's point is this: while older women should not look down upon him due to his relative youth, he may do so to younger women - but he does justify this by framing his prejudices as based in an almost paternalistic, well-intentioned way. He, however, is more than capable of taking care of himself and does not want to hear otherwise.
A valiant effort, yet it is this blogger's view that Chi leaves the philosophical waters of the link between age and maturity as murky as when he waded into them. But not without catchy song.
This is The Notorious LJT on Nervous Thursday and here's Chi Ali with "Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number".