"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

NEWS FLASH! XXL Magazine Chooses The Next Generation Of Great Rappers; Annoyed Blogger Catches Feelings, Hates


A few weeks ago, Elliot “I Don’t Realize I Just Edit A Magazine And Am Not Actually A Rapper” Wilson previewed the cover to next month’s issue of G-Uni...XXL Magazine and to the shock of everybody involved it did not actually feature 50 Cent (or any of his weed carriers) on the cover. (I know, baffling!) Instead, the cover is being graced by ten “emcees” and I use that term loosely that XXL is deeming the next great generation of rap stars. Now because I have taste: after viewing the cover, I immediately caught the gas face after seeing about half the rappers on the cover but because I am painfully aware, of the fact, that just because I think an artist is just about the most awful rapper ever recorded doesn’t necessarily prevent it from being a major success (See: Joc, Yung). I have decided today that I would give my opinion on each of the artist featured on the cover and my prediction on whether or not, they will actually become a major star.

Saigon

Sounds Like: The Son of the Creme De La Creme Of ‘90s New York Rap
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: Tupac Shakur
Worst Case Scenario: DMX Posing as an FBI Agent High On Crack

There seems to be two prevailing opinions on Saigon. For some he’s the wretched, boring face of the dreaded, middling New York mixtape scene in all of its punchline heavy, Big L biting, Fuck-The-South-I’m-Bringing-New-York back glory. For others, he’s Kool G. Rap reincarnated crossed with the social consciousness of Nasir Jones in the form of a short scrappy rapper like Prodigy. (The latter one is the correct opinion but I’ll humor the Noz’s of the world for a second.) Saigon isn’t as quite polished a rapper as any of the rappers I mentioned as he can be at times a clumsy and awkward rhymer but he’s the closest thing in years the New York hip hop scene has had to a true throwback to its mid-90s glory days. He raps with a force and delivery that recalls the greats and that can be a true rarity these days but he’s slightly sloppy with the way he constructs verses as if he is more concerned with the message of what he is saying than staying on beat. The true greats were able to do both and thats what truly keeping Saigon back these. What’s always impressed me the most about Saigon is that there is a passion to his delivery. Even if isn’t necessarily the most technically fluid, there is a sense that every one of these words is the most important thing that he can possibly say. That’s very Tupac-esque. Its always seemed a little confusing to me on why Saigon couldn’t get a release date for his record. Two years ago, he was just about the hottest thing that came out of New York in years but he’s been passed over by such lazy hacks as Mims to get a major record release. It’s a true token of the way hip hop is being marketed that Saigon finally gets a release date literally a week after he gets into a fight with Mobb Deep at a club. It just goes to show that the time honored tradition of punking Tapdance P is the surest way to get your record promoted. December 4th!

Plies
Sounds Like... T.I. if you gave him Down Syndrome
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: A More Southern Version of Ja Rule
Worst Case Scenario: Um, A More Southern Version Of Ja Rule?!

At first, I couldn’t quite figure out Plies. His first two singles, the insipid “Shawty” and the equally horrendous “Hypnotized”, were the type of insincere mealy-mouthed lover man raps that would make even LL Cool J’s blush. It was the type of move that rappers who have no originality do when they want to baldly appeal to the female quotient of the population. I was about write him off although I couldn’t figure him out as a rapper until I saw the video to the social protest song, “100 Years”, on You-Tube. “100 Years” manages to miraculously break the record for usage of the “n-word” and “cracker” in the same song. I swear to god every other word in that song is either “n****” or “cracker.” It somehow manages to make a song about social injustice in the justice system seem spectacularly ignorant. It’s quite inspiring, actually. That's when I released who Plies reminded me. Plies is a Southern Ja Rule right down the copious non-usuage of shirts in his videos. Can we just preemptively “Ja Rule” his career now and save ourselves years of “Mesmerize” in an intelligible Southern accent? You’ll thank me later.

Lupe Fiasco
Sounds Like...Your Favorite “Backpack” Rapper...With A Nasal Problem
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: Kanye West
Worst Case Scenario: Every Backpack rapper ever not named Kanye West.

Its kind of a testament to the ass backwards nature of the music industry right now that the greatest strengths of rappers like Lupe Fiasco are his greatest weaknesses when it comes to actually being able to sell a damn record. Lupe Fiasco has the all tools to be a somewhat popular backpack rapper playing to a loyal audience of mostly preppy white kids at your local college and being trotted out by hip hop apologists as proof positive that hip hop isn’t completely evil and soulless. He’s talented, he writes songs with actual thought, he actually seems to give a damn about the art form. All of this translates to the ability to sell roughly 250,000 copies to people whose frame of reference of hip hop is that Slug is a great lyricist and anything that doesn’t sound like it’s faux-boom bap rap is wack. Which would be me except I think Slug is awful. Except Fuck You Lucy, thats my shit.

Rich Boy
Sounds Like...A One Hit Wonder
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: A One Hit Wonder
Worst Case Scenario: A One Hit Wonder

Now, let’s get one thing straight. I love me some “Throw Some D’s!” There is something profoundly and oddly triumphant in the song that celebrates the truly minor and ultimately insignificant victory of getting a nice pair of rims on your car coming from a tremendous amount of poverty that Rich Boy and Polow Da Don were able to express on that song that made it transcend your average, stereotypical Southern rap song about how nice your stupid car is. However, everything about Rich Boy screams that he’ll never make a record anywhere near as close as good as “Throw Some D’s” ever again. First of all, he’s not a very good rapper...like at all. He’s clumsy, he uses a very simplistic rhyme scheme, and he doesn’t quite have the natural charm that the Young Jeezys have in spades. I mean, its a major problem when you get eaten up something fierce by Polow Da Fuckin' Don on your own record. I mean Polow isn’t even a rapper and manages to outshine him something wicked. On the verse about the joys of putting pictures of your penis on girl’s bedroom walls. Everything else, I’ve heard from Rich Boy doesn’t even begin to match the transcendence of “Throw Some D’s.” I suppose “Boy Looka Here” was good for what it was but his verse on Yung Berg’s “Sexy Lady (Remix)” was so bad that he got out shined by Joseph Guillermo Jones and all of his “I’m Gonna Ride This Ballin’ Shit Until The Wheels, Axles, and Cart Falls Of The Carriage and then I’m gonna ride it some more” glory. I just don’t see it happening from Rich Boy but I’d like to see him pull out another “Throw Some D’s” someday. I appreciate a rapper who looks like a space alien with down syndrome.

Lil’ Boosie
Sounds Like...He Shouldn’t Be Rapping
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: There’s A Best Case Scenario?!?!
Worst Case Scenario: I Don’t Even Want To Think About It

Lil’ Boosie has the most grating and awful rapping voice in possibly the history of rap and I’m including the late, great MC Paul “The Rapping Steve Urkel” Barman. If Boosie’s the future of rap, allow me to hand in my resignation. Effective immediately. Ughhh.

Gorilla Zoe
Sounds Like...A Poor Man’s Young Jeezy Crossed With A Poor Man’s Rick Ross By The Way Of A Poor Man’s [Generic Southern Rapper Here]
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: He Doesn’t Get Extorted By Puffy Out Of Millions In Royalties
Worst Case Scenario: Four Words - Yung Joc’s Weed Carrier

I can’t believe I’m gonna make a Michael Keaton reference in a hip hop article but uh, have you ever seen the movie “Multiciplity” where Michael Keaton keeps making clones of himself and they keep getting progressively dumber especially when the clones starting cloning themselves. Well, thats kinda how I feel about Gorilla Zoe. He’s clearly designed to be Bad Boy’s answer to Rick Ross who’s of course, Def Jam’s own answer to Young Jeezy. Its not that Gorilla Zoe is even that bad of rapper but from what I’ve heard thus far from him, he’s just massively boring. He’s got nowhere the level of charm that Young Jeezy has or Rick Ross has. “Hood Figga” may be the most boring single to come out all year simply because Zoe doesn’t have the charisma to make a such a skeletal post-Mannie Fresh “And Then What” rip off beat work because he doesn’t have the mic presence that either Jeezy or Ross has. He’s way too laid back and he’s trying to hard to be nonchalant and menacing but it ends up sounding just bland and boring. Plus, he has the Bad Boy co-sign which is like the kiss of death these days. I swear if it wasn’t for Puffy and his antics, Bad Boy would be as relevant as Death Row these days.

Joell Ortiz
Sounds Like...Big Pun because you know, he’s Hispanic and all
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: Dre remembers he’s on Aftermath and allows him to spit a few verses on Detox (which is never coming out)
Worst Case Scenario: See Hitmann’s, Truth Hurts’, Stat Quo’s, Rakim’s, Eve’s, RBX’s, Bishop Lamont's, and Raekwon’s career. Basically, anyone not named 50 Cent, Eminem, or inexplicably Busta Rhymes as well.

In a horrific, helicopter crashing into school yard full of children type year for hip hop albums, Joell Ortiz quietly dropped one of the best albums of the year. “The Brick” was grimy New York hip hop at its finest and proved that old chestnut of a formula wasn’t quiet the petrified dinosaur carcass that the South apologists would have you believe. Unfortunately, for Joell Ortiz he’s signed to Aftermath which is a great move if you enjoy washing Dre’s old World Class Wreckin’ Cru silver jumpsuits for about three years and then promptly being dropped for another one of 50’s G-Unit weed carriers but not so great if you actually plan to have a career. Seriously, at this point, Fuck Dre. Get off the ‘roids, homey !

Crooked I
Sounds Like...Ras Kass and Kurupt With More Commercial Accessibility
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: He Saves The West Coast
Worst Case Scenario: Suge Knight hangs him off the ledge of a hotel balcony

Of all the rappers on this list, Crooked I is the guy that I’m least familiar with which is really sad because not only has he been a veteran in the industry for going on ten years but from what I’ve heard he might just be pound for pound the best rapper of the bunch. He has a nimble Kurupt-esque flow and kind of sounds like Ras Kass and if he were to get the right production I could easily see him being the biggest star out of the bunch. As bad as the New York scene has been in a recent years, the West Coast has been postively barren. Seriously, at this point, its basically The Corpse Formerly Known As Snoop, The Game, and legions of unknown hyphy rappers with silly name. The West coast is screaming for another rap star and Crooked I seems like he could be that guy if he were to get in the right situation. Preferably, nowhere near the words “Death” and “Row” or at this point, Dr. Dre for that matter.

Papoose
Sounds Like...A Stupid Fucking Name
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: DJ Kay Slay doesn’t scream all over “The Nacirema Dream”.
Worst Case Scenario: Can-I-Bus(t)! Enough Said.

I maybe one of the few people on Earth that actually liked Papoose’s verse on the “Touch It (Remix)” last year but I can understand why to a lot of people think its proof that Papoose is extremely overrated. Papoose, in some respects, tries way to hard to be “lyrical.” He crams too many multisyllabic words in his verses at the expense of his flow and it makes him seem like just another generic New York mixtape rapper and Papoose all tends to write grandiose, and somewhat pretentious songs that serve to display how “lyrically advanced” he is over everybody else like “Alphabetical Slaughter”, and the “Law Library” series that sound very awkward and forced. However, Papoose when he simplifies his concept and flow can actually be quite the rapper. “50 Shots”, last year, was pretty wicked and he recently released “Stylin’ On You” which is one of my favorite songs recently. If Papoose can curb his grandiose displays of pointless lyricism and focus his song writing than “The Nacirema Dream” might be actually good.


Young Dro
Sounds Like...A Southern Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Career Success Paradigm -
Best Case Scenario: He breaks out of T.I.’s shadow and becomes the next big Southern rapper.
Worst Case Scenario: Well, his girl does have a girlfriend...life can't be too bad.

Young Dro is kind of underrated as a rapper. “Shoulder Lean” last year was just about the most inanely (yes, inane not insane) hilarious song last year but it kind of painted Dro firmly as T.I.’s weed carrier but Dro is actually somewhat of a underrated lyricist. He needs to break away from T.I. if he wants to transcend the dreaded weed carrier status. I don’t see why Dro can’t break away from him and become his own star. T.I. isn't even that good, anyway.

12 comments:

Dart Adams said...

From the bottom of my heart I'd like to say fuck XXL for this collection of bullshit rappers mixed in with some emcees.

Plies? Young Dro? Gorilla Zoe? Do they really belong in the same category as a Lupe Fiasco, Joell Ortiz, Papoose or Saigon? Where was Wiz Khalifa? Skyzoo? Naledge? Termanology? Slaine? Vandalyzm? I could go on for a full page. That magazine jumped the shark about 5 years ago.

One.

DocZeus said...

Dart-

Hey, I kind of like Young Dro. "Best Thang Smokin'" wasn't nearly as bad as you might think but yeah, half the rappers on the list seem like Token Southern rappers. Although, Rich Boy, Gorilla Zoe, Dro, Plies, and Boosieall have exactly one more hit than everybody else on the list and thats exactly why hip hop is so fucked up.

T.R.E.Y. said...

T.I. not that good? c'mon now. he's gotten to the point where he can drop nursery rhymes over a Mannie Fresh/Toomp banger and it'll still sound badass thanks to his drawl.

as far as i'm concerned dude's the Hov of the current rap scene. unless American Gangster manages to be ridiculously good.

Christopher said...

So far, the only southern MC's to put good albums out were Ludacris and UGK/Bun B.

It makes it hard for me to continue on my allhiphop.com soapbox, shitting on south haters who seem to forget that ALL rap sucks now, regardless of region, and if anything, post-Roc NY rap sucks the most.

But yeah, that list is awful. Only Joell Ortiz is decent on that list, followed by Lupe, who I have a plethora of issues with as a rapper (like Canibus and Papoose, being pretentious and confusing being heady or ahead of his time with being unable to be cohesive or clear in any way)/

T.R.E.Y. said...

not to beat my minority opinion here to death, but i still ride with T.I. vs T.I.P. being better than UGK's album. UGK's album is good but there's definitely a good chunk that coulda been cut. i'm not saying this as someone who thinks all double LPs = too long either, i love Life After Death and Blueprint 2, but when you have such a similar sound for that long it can (and does) get a little boring.

personally though, i wouldn't get too concerned about some of the wacker dudes on this list. Yung Joc bricked this year and i doubt anyone'll care about a bunch of these dudes next year. although i gotta give Zoe props for getting Jeezy to drop one of his more retardedly amusing verses on the "Hood Figga" remix

speakin' on hit singles, did Lupe's "I Gotcha" go anywhere when it dropped? that beat's mad catchy

Christopher said...

I think "I Gotcha" got some TV play, but nothing past that. Sad his album bricked out along with Clipse's. The only good rap album that sold well last year was Fishscale. And even he deserved more than one single/video.

Well, the issue with TI is for all his likability (although he proved to be annoying, clueless, and very southern baptist in a cliche manner on the hiphop v america specials) he doesn't say much and doesn't make good albums. I'd still take Bun B's solo LP over any TI album, seeing as TI can only put two or three good songs on each LP.

T.R.E.Y. said...

maan...both King and the new one are hot all the way through.

more relevant though, i think the Lupe/Kweli/Common set not gaining commercial success (well OK, Common has gained some thanks to Kanye) has as much if not more to do with their "sound" than them not being "thug" emcees. i'm not gonna pretend like there's not an orientation toward gangsta/crack rap in the industry right now (and in the past however many years) but outside of "I Gotcha" i can't think of any recent songs from the conscious rap set that strike me as viable singles. plus Kweli's latest was a snooze, but i'm gettin' off-track here.

i think of these guys took notes from Kanye's playbook -- learning how to make commercially-viable hits without compromising yourself -- some form of increased commercial success is (would have been?) not as far off as a buncha people think.

Christopher said...

Basically, that's always been the problem. Wack as fuck beats.

Mainstream rap proves that a hot beat will elevate the wackest of verses (EX: Jay's shitastic "Money Cash Hoes" verses), its just this boring bohemian chicago jazz/neo-soul rut they're all in fuckes them over. Kanye, Mos Def, and Lupe all had the right idea, their beats have always been great.

Talib can't be helped. His best work was the Madlib EP, and that just elevated him to decent.

Anonymous said...

"I mean Polow isn’t even a rapper"

Except he is.

rafi said...

slept-on post.

tray said...

Is it just me, or is Saigon's voice almost as annoying as Boosie's? He sounds like Big L's wheezy old grandmother. And his first single was just terrible. No one wants to hear this conscious shit about women and their vaginal pain. Seriously.

pharmacy said...

But yeah, that list is awful. Only Joell Ortiz is decent on that list, followed by Lupe, who I have a plethora of issues with as a rapper pretty wicked and he recently released “Stylin’ On You” which is one of my favorite songs recently. If Papoose can curb his grandiose displays of pointless lyricism and focus his song writing than “The Nacirema Dream” might be actually good.