Archive for the ‘East Coast Rapper’ category

Cam’ron is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

December 31, 2008

Cam’ron is the worst rapper of the decade. The best thing Cam’ron ever did was have friends who were more talented than him: Big L, Ma$e, Juelz Santana, and Dame Dash. The worst thing he ever did was pretty much everything else.

Cam’ron began this decade in a muddle. He’d been unable to parlay his lifelong friendship with then-Bad Boy star, Ma$e, into a lasting career (or even an awesome song). He’d released an album on a label that folded soon after and seen his contract absorbed into Sony Records. He fought to get out of his contract with Sony and ran into the arms of his other friend, co-founder of Roc-a-Fella Records, Dame Dash.  Roc-a-Fella Records was the home of Jay-Z, a rapper whose wordplay makes him among the most clever to ever grab a mic. Cam’Ron on the other hand makes rap sound stupid, which is a major part of his problem. If a white rapper were attempting to get away with Cam’ron’s lyrics, he would be laughed out of the studio. Cam’ron would be shown up by The Blizzard Man. Here are some lyrics from one of the biggest hits of Cam’ron’s career. 

Killa, I’m not your companion or your man standin
Hit me when you wanna get rammed in, I’ll be scramblin
With lot’s of mobsters shop for lobsters
Cops and robbers listen every block is blocka (Blocka!!!)
But she like the way I diddy bop you peeped that
Mink on maury kicks plus chanel ski hat
She wan’t the (Boy) so I give her the (Boy)
Now she screamin out (Boy, Boy, Boy, Boy)

What’s really amazing is that those lyrics, alone, don’t do justice to how stupid they sound when added to music and rapped by Cam’ron. Those lyrics are from “Oh Boy,” the second single released by Cam’ron on Roc-a-Fella Records. This song and his other single, “Hey Ma,” featured Cam’ron’s protege, Juelz Santana, who outshines Cam’ron in every way. Perhaps sensing that, Cam’ron joined forces with Juelz Santana and another friend, Jim Jones, to form The Diplomats (also known as Dip Set). They ruled New York, this decade, but not much else. They released a couple of albums to ever diminishing sales and acclaim (outside of New York) before essentially dissolving.

Now, there are plenty of rappers who are mediocre but are able to stick around through the people they know. What gives Cam’ron the extra boost he needs to be the worst rapper of the decade are all of other non-musical contributions and distractions Cam’ron has left in his wake. 

Yes, that's a pink cell phone.

Let’s begin with fashion. Cam’ron affectionately refers to himself as the Pink Panther. Why? Because he enveloped himself in pink. Kanye showed us that a little pink can look great, but head-to-toe pink really just makes you look like home insulation (advertised by the other pink panther!). That’s not something he bequeathed to hip hop– it’s just a measure of Cam’ron’s audacity. His look says, “Yes, I may look like an idiot, but are you gonna say something about it?” The REAL Pink Panther is only pink through a freak genetic mutation and would love to dye his hair if only the pink hadn’t become such a profitable trademark for him. So, Cam’ron, feel free to give it a rest.

One thing Cam’ron did leave hip hop is the evolution of the hip hop feud. Rap battles used to be awesome things. A rapper would diss another rapper in a song. Months later a response song would be released. LL Cool J, having withstood a challenge from Kool Moe Dee and taken on both Wyclef and Canibus at once, perfected the hip hop feud, generating hit songs from his battles. Cam’ron took the feuds off of wax and onto Youtube, during his skirmish with rap juggernaut, 50 Cent. Without that groundbreaking evolution in the hip hop feud, we wouldn’t have had to have been bored to death by this year’s Ice-T/Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em feud on Youtube. Thanks, Cam! 

Cam’ron’s other notable achievement was his appearance on 60 Minutes to espouse his “stop snitchin'” philosophy. What can I say about that other than this: Hip Hop’s most beloved rappers were killed in the middle of two of America’s most visible cities, and Tupac and Biggie’s murderers remain unpunished because no one has stepped forward to “snitch.” Thanks, Cam! 

So what could be more stupid than that? How about his defense of the “no homo” trend? Oh wait… I should tell you what no homo is. “No Homo” is the disclaimer one calls out after saying something that might be misconstrued (but not really) as being gay. For instance, you might say “I want to wear entirely pink outfits and carry a pink cell phone!” Well, immediately before or after that announcement, you’d have to say “No homo” or else be outed amongst your friends. On New York’s Hot 97, Miss Info asked Cam’ron about No Homo and tried to get him to see how stupid it was. Here’s his idiotic response. No homo is insulting to anyone who hears it, gay or not. Thanks, Cam! 

There’s a reason that Cam’ron, despite his connections, has failed to forge a career that will be remembered. Cam’ron is a below average rapper with little charisma whose only lasting contributions to hip hop will be remembered  as big parts of the reason this era sucks. That’s why Cam’ron is the worst rapper of the decade.

Mos Def Is The Worst Rapper of the Decade

December 8, 2008

I’ve been a fan of Mos Def since before I knew he rapped. I knew him as the quirky, young guy on Cosby Mysteries, which aired for about a heartbeat in the mid-nineties on NBC. I read, then, that he was into slam poetry and spoken word– remember when people used to say “spoken word” as if it were an actual thing? Well, following that blink of an eye, I completely forgot about Mos Def until he turned up on De La Soul’s album Stakes Is High. His voice was youthful, smart, fun… I couldn’t wait to hear more from him.

And then I did. Mos Def released Black on Both Sides toward the end of 1999. I’m sure there must have been a good song on the album, but I have no idea what it was. The yawn starts at track one and extends to track seventeen. It’s a yawn that you resent more than the second Bush term because you like Mos Def so much that you want to like his music.

Case in point: Mos Def followed his album with roles in several movies. He appeared in Carmen: A Hip Hopera, Bamboozled, Monster’s Ball, Brown Sugar and The Italian Job. Not all of these are good movies, but he’s the best part of most of them. So he spends five years building up all this credit, and then he releases The New Danger in 2004.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t given The New Danger a complete listen, but that’s because I started hearing songs from the album and was instantly reminded that Mos Def bores me like daytime programming on TLC. It featured an eclectic collection of music styles. You know what that means? That means that Mos Def was embracing diversity as a way of boring different musical audiences. Actually, that means that Mos Def was probably high and listening to, say, a blues song, thinking “Hey, I wear a hipster brim, I bet I could pull off the blues.”

I just want to shake him and yell, “Whhhhhhyyyyyyyyy? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know we want to like you??” Apparently, it was around this time that he launched his plan for expanding his audience by having five children with four women. That’s nine people who won’t care that he’s mind-numbingly dull.

In 2006, Mos Def released an album, True Magic, with no cover art. None. Just a clear case. It also had zero promotion, which was apparently as Mos Def wished. To me, that sums up Mos Def– just sitting there, daring you not to be interested, when really there’s little to be interested in.

So here’s the argument for Mos Def as the worst rapper of the decade. It isn’t that he can’t rap. It isn’t that he isn’t smart. It’s that none of the charsima that Mos Def exudes off the microphone has ever been translated through the microphone into a memorable song, let alone a whole album. He is disappointment personified. If this decade were to be stricken from the record, not one record that he’s made would need to be stricken from your memory.

photo by Bouzardphoto