Posted tagged ‘hip hop’

Kobe and Shaq Are The Worst Rappers of the Decade

March 8, 2009
Rap battle?

Rap battle?

That Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant should share this honor is fitting. Shaq and Kobe were an indomitable force on the basketball court, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. You might say they made sweet, Championship music on the basketball court. Off the court, though, their music was less than pleasing. In fact, their output was so bad, that Kobe and Shaq just may be the Worst Rappers of the Decade.

Shaq, first. At some point, Shaquille O’Neal must have heard someone call him an Everyman and decided that an everyman was a man who did everything. When he burst on the scene in the early nineties, he made it known that he would be more than the guy who shattered backboards for a living. He would be a movie star and a rap star… who rapped about shattering backboards for a living. What’s funny is that people actually gave him movies to star in, which should make you question the very fundamentals of Hollywood’s power structure. Anyone who has ever seen Shaq in an interview knows that 1) he’s charismatic 2)he’s articulate and 3)he drones monotonously. It doesn’t matter how many “a’s” you put in it or how many exclamation points you put after it, “Kazaam!” is going to come out, “kazam

As I mentioned, Shaq also tried his hand at rap throughout the 90’s. Despite having the lyrical prowess of an insurance salesman singing karaoke, Shaq managed to send two albums past the platinum mark. In doing so, Shaq Diesel would create the template for the basketball-playing rapper. 1) Make sure to mention basketball as much as possible and 2) bring your fancy friends along to grant you the cred that you lack from your non-involvement in street gangs and/or crime. Shaq has released a ton of singles that you probably don’t remember. In fact, I’d wager that his most memorable appearance was on a song that wasn’t his: What’s Up Doc (Can We Rock?). That song met both rules. Shaq rapped along side the Fu Schnickens and made sure to make reference to his basketball career.

It’s not that Shaq was horrible–he wasn’t. He was mediocre, but Shaq put out enough material in the nineties that he was able to release a greatest hits album! He did all that in the nineties, the result of the irrational exuberance and fiscal irresponsibility that led to the dot-com crash and our current economic stagnation. His last album, Shaquille O’Neal Presents His Superfriends, was slated to be released on September 11th, 2001, but Osama Bin Laden got it pushed back (and eventually shelved) in an uncharacteristic show of mercy. Let us leave Shaq, there, for now.

Fresh out of high school, Kobe Bryant grew up in Shaq’s considerable shadow on the Lakers. One thing he must have learned from Shaq is that it’s not enough to make people drool with your superhuman feats of physicality. No, you must also make them cringe with your inhumane feats of musicality. Kobe did just that with the release of K.O.B.E. ft. Tyra Banks (yes, Tyra Banks) in 2001.

Uh, what I live for? Basketball, beats and broads

From Italy to the US, yes, it’s raw

I’ma search for the one that make my wealth feel poor

Who can ignore the spotlight like my Grandma

I guess it’s honest, but it’s also artless, and Kobe’s delivery is more wooden than baseball player making a cameo in a movie in the fifties. Actually, it’s more wooden than the bat held by the baseball player making a cameo in the fifties. You should note that Kobe has fulfilled both requirements necessary for basketball rapper songs: fancy friends and basketball references.

Take Will Smith, subtract twenty years of rapping and making hits, throw away the charisma the Fresh Prince has always exuded through your speakers, and add four to five strained basketball metaphors, and you have Kobe Bryant, who actually managed to squeeze out a couple other songs. One is “Thug Poet,” which features 50 Cent, years before Wanksta, and opens with “my microphone is my glock nine” (and you handle them both so well, Kobe!). He also managed to get himself featured on other people’s songs, including a remix to “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child.

Basically, Kobe spent much of 2001 sucking the charm out of hip hop. For every breath Jay-Z and Missy Elliott breathed into hip hop that year, Kobe’s well-conditioned lungs sucked an equal amount back out. To his credit, he put the microphone down and hasn’t yet picked it up again. He’s a looming threat, but not a clear and present danger.

Shaq, however, has picked up the microphone again. No one in his life is brave enough to tell him that there are some things that are better left hidden in your den, performed in the middle of the night, when Jack Daniels is the only person in the audience. Instead, last year, Shaq grabbed the mic and aimed a freestyle at former teammate, Kobe Bryant.

“Kobe, tell me how my ass taste?” This is probably the most ambiguous diss ever levelled in rap. First off, is this a request for information or a command? A little further…

Check it you know how I be.

Last week Kobe couldn’t do it without me.

I’m a horse…Kobe ratted me out..thats why I am getting a divorce.

He said Shaq gave a bitch a mill…I don’t do that…cause my name’s Shaquille

Freestyling is about being able to be clever, quickly. This fails in both regards, reminding us that basketball players should never rap. Thankfully, Kobe didn’t respond. That freestyle alone was worth being nominated worst rapper.

Shaquille O’Neal created the mold of that basketball/rapper that many would copy. His success encouraged far too many basketball players to waste studio time that might otherwise have been used to record a new Fugees album. Kobe Bryant took the baton from Shaq and ran straight into a brick wall. Shaq created the opportunity that Kobe capitalized upon to show America and the World that basketball and rap only work well together when hip hop is the background music underlying basketball action. Shaq, for the quantity of his mediocrity, and Kobe, for the depth of his suckage, are the worst rappers of the decade.

Rick Ross is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

March 3, 2009

Rick Ross is a Florida-based rapper whose major claim to fame is his ability to extend his name five seconds beyond its normal duration. “Raaaaaaaawwwwwssss.”  It has recently come to our attention that Rick Ross may be the Worst Rapper of the Decade. To support that case, we present an article published last year, recently unearthed by Worst Rapper:

Akon and Rick Ross to Collaborate on Backstory

Acclaimed hard core rapper and “prevariKator” Akon announced today his intention to collaborate with fellow rapper and recently exposed fabulist Rick Ross, on “an entirely new, and completely convincing backstory”.

Both rappers recently suffered public relations setbacks when their elaborate and oft-cited criminal histories were shown to be at least in part “completely made up and shit”.

Earlier this year, online secrets repository The Smoking Gun (www.thesmokinggun.com) posted evidence that despite frequent assertions to the contrary, Akon, among whose albums is the 2006 hit “Konvicted”, has not spent a considerable amount of time in prison. However, inside sources do indicate that he has visited numerous prisons via Google Streetz View. Similar problems have only recently derailed Rick Ross fast rising rap career. Ross, who frequently claims to have made his first fortune “slinging weight,” appears to have been employed at least part time as a guard in a Federal prison. Ross’ latest album “Trilla,” a recent chart topper is, according to the rotund law enforcer, a combination of True and Real. Ross was unavailable for comment at press time, but in the wake of allegations that his backstory is neither, Ross’s publicist is defending the title as “Fronic”, or “Funny and Ironic”.

According to sources within music industry, representatives for the artists have contacted noted backstory embellisher and Hip Hop impresario Dr. Dre, and Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to assist them in the development of a new backstory that is “hard core, disturbing, and almost completely verifiable.” Record industry observers speculate that if Dre and Whedon agree to collaborate, this new backstory could “be plausible”, and possibly hit the streets as early as September, in time for the VMA’s.

In a press release, Akon elaborated on his desire to work with the troubled corrections officer.

“Sometimes, it feels like a man is being Konvicted without a fair trial in a Kourt of Law. That’s why worKing with someone who has close up Knowldge of the justice system is integral to the suKcess of this projeKt. Personally, I Kan understand why AmeriKa might feel inKlined to judge us by our KontradiKtions, but I ask them to resist drawing a KonKlusion, and wait to see what the final produKt will look liKe.”
In an interview given almost hours after evidence of his law enforcement past surfaced, Ross seemed to indicate the direction this project might take. “Personally, biography embellishment is played out. It’s time to do something totally hard core, without any basis in fact whatsoever. On the real, I’d love to work with a visonary like Akon.” Added Ross, “We goin’ straight make up. No Homo.”

Related Stories:

* Akon denies first album purchased with own money “Tiny Dancer”
* Rick Ross admits to taking day off from hustlin’
* Mr. Rogers denies link between Akon and Land of Make Believe

Additional reporting by Ross Lincoln and Earnest Pettie

Being undermined by a fabricated backstory is so 1991. In fact, Vanilla Ice just called up Rick Ross and Akon to ask for royalties to be paid on that particular method of being played out. Furthermore, Rick Ross is currently engaged in a war of words with 50 Cent. That’s the equivalent of Japan taking on Bermuda in a battle for military supremacy. That Rick Ross is battling the G Unit… and losing… is reason enough for us to declare him the Worst Rapper of the Decade.

Will I. Am is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

February 2, 2009
Courtesy Jurvetson on Flickr

Courtesy Jurvetson on Flickr

When The Hague’s war crimes commission is expanded to include crimes against music, the list of defendants will be long and the determination of who swings and who is absolved will be a grisly, painful matter. Legions of former music industry powerhouses will stand before the tribunal to shamelessly declare their innocence, insisting before god and man that they were nowhere near Kanye’s studio when he first adopted AutoTune, that they were actually opposed to American Idol the entire time, secretly running an indie label dedicated to undermining the regime, or that they were only “following orders”.

And much like the Nuremburg trials, these defenses will probably have some limited success for the small fries, sparing thousands of verified musical monsters from the chopping block, freeing them to start over anew, this time somewhere in South America where copyright law isn’t so strict and former employees of Tommy Mottola can mingle with Murder Inc. underlings living in hiding, without any fear of judicial reprisal. Even so, some crimes will be too terrible to forgive, too blatant to conceal and too aesthetically cancerous to allow to go unpunished. And on the final day, when the instigators of the musical holocaust that defined the last decade are at last punished, first to meet the firing squad will be the Worst Rapper Of The Decade, the Black Eyed Peas’ own Will I. Am.

Before going further, it’s important first to note that term sellout gets thrown around a lot, usually aimed at people who once were once known only to a small number of highly inquisitive music fans, and now have now amassed enough financial success that going to their shows feels like visiting high school again – tons of douchebags who act like jerks. Thing is, this usually isn’t the fault of the band. After all, they didn’t like douchebags either, or they would have formed a group like Puddle of Mudd or G Unit. Better in most cases to be happy that the band you like won’t have to go back to answering phones for Sprint, right?

There’s also the critical semantic failure caused by throwing the term around thoughtlessly – by using is too frequently, you dillute the meaning of the word to the point that it becomes impossible to understand what you’re actually trying to say. In this case, accusing someone of selling out is to literally accuse them of treason, of hypocrisy, of betraying everything they believed in in exchange for some kind of tangible reward that helps them considerably while simultaneously ruining the cause they fought so dearly for. It must be used only when needed and even then very sparingly but as you can imagine, the term is generally nothing more than lazy, angry hyperbole.

If Will I. Am is remembered for anything, it’s going to be forever re-strengthening the term. The Black Eyed are total sellouts. No, they didn’t just sell-out, they sold the fuck out. In fact, I am only using the term at all because there isn’t a stronger way to describe the transformation of the BEP from mediocre but sincere hip hop to the dumbest fucking music of all time.

Like many of history’s greatest road-to-hell paving monsters, Will I. Am started out with arguably good intentions. As the whole world now knows he came up in 1998 as the chief brain of Black Eyed Peas, then the least notable part of the late 90s positivity movement in rap, distinguished from the early 90s variety because it largely was a reaction against the gangsta/ghetto fabulous genres that eventually became the bland, wide mainstream of Hip Hop. Fellow bland luminaries (blandinaries?) of the genre included the surprisingly neuter Jurassic 5, Blackstar (featuring previous Worst Rapper nominee Mos Def) and the Dark Crystal style hip hop dystopia that is every member of the Fugees as a solo artist.

Unfortunately, Resistance was futile. The fact that both Eminem and 50 Cent have starred in their own biopics (an honor previously shared by Muhammed Ali and Audie Murphey) – while Lauryn Hill is… somewhere. Doing, um, something? – is evidence enough that this well-meaning attempt to stop Hip Hop’s douchey decline failed, utterly. Most of the affiliated artists moved on as best they can. Lauryn Hill joined her fellow Fugees in devoting all her time to hating her former bandmates. Mos Def is now better known as an actor who wastes his talent rather than a rapper who wastes his talent. Jurassic 5 broke up in 2007. The thing they all have in common is extremely infrequent attempts to create music, for which the world is, mostly, thankful.

Not so the Black Eyed Peas, who, despite all odds and against the strict orders of God and man, have become one of the biggest and most successful rap groups in the country.

Here’s what BEP sounded like when they came on the scene:

It’s o-kay. Nothing special but nothing offensive either. At worst, you could say this might be remembered as a well-meaning attempt to redux A Tribe Called Quest. Easily forgotten but at least you aren’t scarred by the experience. The reason Will I. Am is now the Worst Rapper of the Decade is what they sound like now (or technically, as of their most recent album):

Holy. Fuck.

Watch that shit again.

Holy. Fucking. Fuck.

The ways in which this song is terrible are beyond counting, but the most egregious violations of good taste are easy to identify. First, the lyrics are objectively terrible:

What you gon’ do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.

That’s the kind of lazy shit I would have come up with in 10th grade when I still thought maybe I wanted to form a rap group. But that’s not the real problem. Junk? Trunk? Drunk? All rhymes. But Love? Hump? Seriously. Seriously. Black Eyed Peas are Multi-Platinum selling artists who get paid to rhyme and they have to resort to a near rhyme, and one that isn’t even cheated a little to make it seem more rhymey? Weak. Olde English weak. Weake.

Come on Will, you’re a rapper! If you can’t even rhyme then what the hell are we paying you for? Look, I consulted a rhyming dictionary, and searched using the word “hump”. I got 61 results. 61! And I’m not even a rapper. Wouldn’t that earlier quoted line sound so much clearer as:

What you gon’ do with all that clump?
All that thump inside your frump?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you pump,
Get you lump mump off my hump.

Still fucking stupid, yes, but at least now it actually rhymes. Of course, that’s not the only problem. There’s also the terrifying fact that the song displays a crucial misunderstanding about basic human anatomy that ought to have medical professionals alarmed:

My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps (Check it out)

and:

You love my lady lumps

This is just wrong. For the next 30 years we can probably look forward to a mass die off of 14th century proportions as the muddled Lyrics of My Humps lead a generation of women and men to  falsely interpret cancerous tumors as erogenous zones. Stop and think Will! If you get to feel a woman’s “Lady Lumps”, it means it’s time for a trip to the doctor, not the lingerie shop! YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO GET YOUR WIFE KILLED IF YOU DON’T CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE YOUR NEXT SINGLE IS RELEASED!

Reputedly, Will. I. Am wrote My Humps in about 30 seconds. And it shows. And yet, because it came out during the same decade that Americans voted for Bush twice(ish) and actually believed there might be a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin, you can guess what happened: The nation embraced the song it was the second coming of Beethoven, bought up 9 million copies of this crap and made it the BEP’s most successful album ever. Awesome.

Thanks to Will I. Am, we will never be able to enjoy a wedding again. This song has replaced Baby Got Back as the official The Precious of annoying White Women everywhere. But his crimes are worse because in addition to inflicting the worst hit single in modern pop history, he also bestowed upon a weary nation something far, far worse. Earlier, I said that Will I. Am is a sellout because there isn’t a more effective word. I was wrong. There is.

“Fergier”.

Will I. Am is a Fergier.

What, you ask, is a Fergier?

Fergier

-Noun.

1. a person who makes a living inflicting an insufferable, marginally talented entertainer  onto the general public without prior and express consent.
2. (slang) someone who derives sexual pleasure from the simultaneous sexual assault of another person’s ears, eyes and memory. See also Will I. Am.

Now, obviously, Fergie is bad enough to warrant her own entry in this list (and believe us, it will come!), but like global warming, the disease is terrible but the cause must first be identified before a solution can be devised. Will I. Am is that cause. So ignore her awfulness on its own merits, and consider that Will I. Am specifically writes songs for that awfulness.

He also helped Barack Obama jump the shark. Well, not helped so much as kidnapped him, tied him to a sufboard and jumped the shark for him.

Remember how inspiring Obama is? After watching this, how many weeks did it take before you stopped feeling cheesy after listening to him speak.? It took me approximately 3 before I could watch the man without seeing Scarjo’s (superhot but ridiculous) face.

Will I. Am isn’t the worst rapper in terms of Talent. But in terms of his nefarity and evil impact in the world, the answer is clear – Will I. Am is the Worst Rapper of the Decade. QED.

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.

Hip Hop Harry is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

December 21, 2008

Hip Hop Harry is the worst rapper of the decade. Wait, wait, wait…. What do you mean you don’t know who Hip Hop Harry is? He’s the oversized educational character bringing it hardcore from the streets for the enlightenment and edification of the preschool infotainment audience, fool! Hip Hop Harry is a large, furry Barney-like puppet, decked out in baggy pants, titled cap, and a large gold medallion with an “H” emblazoned on its front. He uses hip hop to foster learning and creativity among kids, which isn’t such a bad goal. After all, education has always been a part of hip hop. Why, I remember when Master P released “Make Crack Like This.” In just a few short minutes, I was able to learn a new trade. Thanks, Master P! Hip Hop Harry has been kicking it preschool for about three years on educational television.

Yes, the educational goals of Hip Hop Harry are noble. As an educator, maybe he’s excellent, but as a rapper, he’s miserable. His rapping makes my dad’s “I said a hip hop skiddlewebop befrop” sound like Jay-Z. It’s really surprising that someone, somewhere, said “Yeah, that sounds enough like rap that the kids will love it!” If the person who did history’s first rap got hit in the head immediately after rapping, fell into a coma, woke up and tried to put back together the pieces of his past, including that first rap, that would be an approximation of what Hip Hop Harry sounds like when he raps on his show. Sadly, he looks exactly like he sounds. Hat to the side, big gold chain, and baggy clothes. A rapper is actually the very last thing he looks like! In fact, I bet Barney would even question Hip Hop Harry’s street cred. What’s even sadder is that there are kids who have to exist within the same camera shot as him. Hip Hop Harry is the probably the first rapper you’d be embarrassed to be pictured with.

That there are kids who have to sing and dance with Harry is the larger part of what makes him the worst rapper of the decade. There are plenty of rappers who are poor lyricists, lack rhythm, or just plain shouldn’t be rapping. Those rappers, however, don’t have Hip Hop Harry’s influence. Hip Hop Harry is teaching a classroom full of kids, by example, about rap and hip hop, and, sadly, that’s what they’re going to grow up thinking rap is! Can you imagine coming off the set of Hip Hop Harry and going to school the next day, rapping “Gulp, Gulp Water?” That’s gotta win you cool points.

The kids on the show are just a fraction of the other kids who are watching on television who are growing up watching Hip Hop Harry. This could herald a dark age for rap and hip hop. Using Hip Hop Harry as a launching point, the rappers of tomorrow all will sound like the insurance company salesmen, scientists, and other nonrappers releasing rap videos on the Internet today. Did you know that once upon a time, the technology required to build a dome disappeared from Western culture entirely. You wouldn’t think that a people could just forget how to make something, but it can happen! If Hip Hop Harry isn’t stopped, he might reduce the ability to rap down to his level for generations to come! Only through the discovery of ancient liner notes will people eventually rediscover what good rap once was. The elders will weep for joy but will fear the eventual demise of hip hop should they not be able to find “The One” who will restore hip hop to its former glory. But maybe I’m looking too far ahead. For the present, Hip Hop Harry is just the worst rapper of the decade–not hip hop’s Angel of Death.

Update– Apparently, Hip Hop Harry’s ghostwriter is 80’s/90’s rapper Def Jeff?

50 Cent Is The Worst Rapper Of The Decade

December 15, 2008

50-cent-50-cent-gun-10763682One fine morning, your humble narrator was sitting in a cubicle, minding his own business, listening to music that objectively did not suck, when he was interrupted by an office-casual clad bulging white guy in an oxford shirt and a Yankees cap, who strolled by, whistling the unmistakable “Du-dou click, click-a-click-click, du-di, du-dow, du-dou” melody of the best arrangement in Mainstream hip hop this decade, the insanely catchy tune to 50 Cent’s debut single “In Da Club”.

Just the melody though. No lyrics.

I can hear what you’re saying. “Surely Ross,” you think, “surely that’s due to the controversial content of the song. One cannot simply wander through a corporate hallway singing blatant profanity and expect to keep one’s job.”

Okay, I grant you that. It’s probably 50% the profanity. But the other 50%?

“And you should love it, way more then you hate it
nigga you mad? I thought that you’d be happy I made it
I’m that cat by the bar toasting to the good life u that faggot ass nigga
trying to pull me back right?”

Yes, that is objectively offensive. It somehow manages to use not 1 but 2 forbidden slurs in a single sentence. But it’s worse than that. After all, Tupac, who filled his songs with some of the most odious slurs imaginable, was an inarguable genius, at least until he returned as a zombie. (see previous post.) What makes it truly terrible is that it’s the weakest, most inane laziness to be hailed as groundbreaking art since Kevin Costner won the Best Director Oscar.

It’s the prefect picture of everything wrong with rap since 1999 – most of us are buried under a mountain of student loan debt, work horrible jobs that pay jack shit and have vacation plans that consist of actually getting enough sleep so you can think about maybe having sex again. Quoting some jackass bragging about being loaded and laid? It takes a special kind of idiot to think that’s cool. The kind of idiot who votes twice for George W. Bush.

But hell, LL Kool J and Nas like to rap about their material success, and they’re awesome. So what makes it so bad? Read again – there’s nothing in there that’s quotable. Nothing.

“But wait,” you say, “you’re pruning! There’re quotable lyrics in that song!”. And you’re right. And here they are:

“Go, go, go shawty
It’s your birthday
We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday”

Oooooh, it’s catchy, right? And everyone picked it up, right? So Fracking What – 50 Cent Did Not Write That Lyric. It’s old enough that it probably appears in Shakespeare. Hell, it appeared in John Hughes movies. 50 finally got his shot and for his amazing debut single, he mines the greatest hits of white teenagers from the suburbs? How the hell is that gangsta?

Speaking of Gangsta, that brings us to problem number 2: 50’s rep. See, 50 made a name for himself talking shit on anyone even remotely more well known than he was, including, allegedly, some well connected drug dealers who didn’t take kindly to being rapped about so shittily and derivatively on some crappy mix tape. So someone shot him 9 times and, I assume, because he resembles Officer Nordberg from the Naked Gun movies, he miraculously survived. The he cut some more mix tapes bragging about how he’s apparently bulletproof, only instead of getting killed for it, the rest of America was collectively punished with 50 getting a record deal from Dr. Dre and Eminem.

Sounds an awful lot like another famous rapper, doesn’t it?

But it gets even worse, because adding to the fact that 50 is a terrible rapper, with derivative lyrics only matched by his derivative back story, he’s also a one-trick pony.

Exhibit A? Magic Stick:

Ah yes, an ode to 50’s ability to maintain his erection after multiple sexual encounters without going flaccid or succuming to scar-tissue build up that suppresses pleasure, while Lil’ Kim brags about her vaginal canal’s ability with bounce back from friction burns. How sexy. But there was trouble in paradise. See, originally, Magic Stick was supposed to appear on Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. But then the powers that be put it on Lil’ Kim’s La Bella Mafia instead. Then, 50 and Kim had a serious falling out over, I assume, whose genitalia was more corroded and scarred from years of abuse. So no video was shot, and when the song blew up giving Lil’ Kim a much needed hit, 50 was prevented from capitalizing on it, aside from the royalties of course.

What’s a gangster to do?

Oh, wait, hang on a bit:

Yep. 50 remade Magic Stick, only even lamer, and with an even less memorable woman singing along with him. And this time, instead of bragging about how well his penis can withstand strenuous activity, he’s just bragging about his ability to have an orgasm while having sexual relations with a prostitute. If that’s all it takes to write a hit song, I assume Elliott Spitzer will be appearing on 50’s next single “Impeachin’ That A$$ (High Cla$$ Hookerz!)“.

I’m not even going to touch his terrible remake of 8 Mile.

Ultimately, it turns out that “50 Cent” isn’t a reference to his get rich or die tryin’ ethos, it’s a reciept for the cost of the bargain basement rhyming dictionary he apparently purchases once a year, just before releasing another 12-songs-too-long ode to his bullet holes, having unprotected sex, and not being a faggot. Face it – there’s a lot of terrible hip hop this decade, but the worst of the worst is Curtis Jackson. Hang up the mike already.

Tupac is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

December 14, 2008

Tupac Shakur, known to many as 2pac, and known to a few others a Makavelli, is the worst rapper of the decade. This will be surprising to most of you since you know Tupac as having been one of the two best rappers of the 1990’s. He went out on top, and by went out, I mean he was murdered in Las Vegas in a case that has never been solved. Tupac was a juggernaut, and even death couldn’t stop his commercial prowess in hip hop. Posthumous mixtape after mixtape and album after album have added millions to the tally of Tupac’s record sales. Ironically, that’s what caused him to Sammy Sosa out in this decade.

Tupac’s talent was undeniable. His writing was immaculate, but his delivery was awe-inspiring. His voice’s muscular ferocity on the Notorious B.I.G. diss “Hit ‘Em Up” was unyielding. That impeccable bravado made the compassion he offered in his performances on other songs seem contradictory. His honesty– or “realness”–allowed his audience to comfortably reconcile those two natures. Tupac’s legacy would have remained a polished diamond had he never released another album after 1996. Instead, he became a retirement plan for anyone with the ability to press a CD.

At first that wasn’t so bad. The production on the early posthumous work was still close to the quality and style featured on the albums in which he participated directly. As the years dragged on though, musical styles and tastes changed, but Tupac couldn’t. Let’s be honest, death presents a severe obstacle to one’s ability to remain relevant. Tupac’s work, this decade, makes that painfully apparent since death left him unable to comment on anything past the first Clinton administration. As scavengers continue to mine the vaults of his unreleased recordings, the disconnect becomes increasingly excruciating. I hear topics addressed in his forthcoming songs include his pondering whether or not to buy a cell phone, pleading with Ross and Rachel to get together, and worrying that he might be killed… in Resident Evil for the Playstation.

Tupac fans like to believe that he predicted his own death. Impossible. If he could’ve predicted his own death, then he could also have foreseen the decade of posthumous albums and songs that would bear his name, water down his legacy, and take all the fun out of yelling “Westside!” (Think about it: when was the last time you or anyone you know threw up the “W” and yelled out Westside?) And if he could have foreseen all of that, he would have moved to Ohio and become a rapping insurance agent. I can already hear his pitch! “When you need to provide for your loving wife/you might wanna consider… Thug Life!” Actually, the saving grace in all this is that I never have to hear anyone utter “thug life” again.

This man’s career that once attracted controversy and acclaim the way his torso attracted bullets is now an embarrassment of bargain bin compilation CDs. Through no fault of his own, that is how Tupac managed possibly to become this decade’s worst rapper.