Posted tagged ‘rap’

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.

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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.

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?

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.

Madonna is the Worst Rapper of the Decade

December 9, 2008

Madonna 3 by David Shankbone by david_shankbone.
Madonna, you just may be the worst rapper of the decade. This is a dicey issue because you are not a rapper. That’s what makes your rapping on your song, American Life, released in 2003, so confounding. In early 2000, there were reports that made us worry. You’d done a Gap commercial with Missy Elliott, and there were rumors that she was teaching you to rap. We laughed because we assumed that that your rapping would be like your pilates and Kabbalah, something you did in a dungeon in a castle in England. We didn’t think you’d have the gall to actually spit your lyrics in a song. We were horribly wrong.

And you were horribly wrong. At three minutes and eleven seconds into your album, also titled American Life, you unleash your mistake, starting with these lyrics:

I’m drinking a Soy latte
I get a double shot (pronounced shot-tay)
It goes right through my body
And you know I’m satisfied

I’m not even going to address your creation of the word, “shottay,” to have a rhyme with latte. No, because there are bigger things here than me and that word. Madonna, you set rap back twenty years with that verse. You set it back, past Teen Witch, past Larry and Balki’s rapping about T.G.I.F., all the way to the embarrassment that is Deborah Harry’s rap in The Rapture. That nonsensical song from Blondie at least had a couple redeeming qualities. It got rap on MTV, it left us The Rapture’s haunting chorus, and it made rap accessible to an audience that might otherwise have completely ignored it. Your verse on American Dream made people want to forget rap ever existed!

The first time I heard that song, I cringed. My face felt flush from embarrassment. I wanted to call people just to see if they were ok. By the time, you made it to the end of your verse, I’d already organized a charity benefit to support the children of parents who nodded to the beat during that rap. That’s how bad that rap was.


The rap-off in this scene is better than your rapping, Madonna.

And that is the argument for you being the worst rapper of the decade. Your verse lasted only a moment, but that moment was like a black hole that sucked into it all the vitality out of hip hop. That rap was a Death Eater that took all the happiness from hip hop, if only for a moment. Only after that song left the radio were we finally were brave enough to scan our radio stations again. I don’t think there was a single worse rap this entire decade.

Photo by David Shankbone

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