One of my weaknesses from growing up in the Midwest in the 80’s is the lack of appreciation – true appreciation – of hip-hop and rap. We only were exposed to what was on the radio at first, and then when the explosion of the popularity of the genre happened in the 90’s, I was caught flat footed.
So I’ve had to catch up over the years, and finally, I think I’m at least aware of the historical things. I’m going to try to review the stuff that catches my ear, but this is where the stuff I’m iffy about will reside.
A Boogie wit da Hoodie – He’s got decent flow and decent melodies, but I can’t think of anything that makes him stand out, except all of the guests he gets on his tracks.
Akon – Maybe you remember “Smack That” or “I Wanna Love You”. Maybe you remember Eminem and Snoop more than Akon? He was on everyone’s records too so maybe you remember them? What I’m saying is that it was a long time ago that he was relevant unless you have a jones for 2006.
A$AP Rocky – His records, to my ears, are uneven. He’s trying, but for me he’s best in spots.
Iggy Azalea – I could ignore her altogether if it wasn’t for the damn “Fancy” track, and that’s all because of Charli XCX. Her best tracks (save one) feature someone else. That’s about right. The less of her, the better!
Consolidated – Great beats and rhymes, but man they always made me feel guilty about not doing anything about everything. A Consilidated album means you’re harangued for an hour about things you should be doing to help society, and make you feel like shit because you eat meat and like leisure time.
Da Brat – Her legal troubles made it difficult to sustain a career.
DaBaby – He’s put out a lot of product as a the credited artist, or the featured artist, or a collaborator. Quality control is the issue.
Disturbing Tha Peace – A collective, or a various artist compilation, or whatever you want it to be. “Move Bitch” is one of those tracks that sticks to you like honey.
DJ Khaled – Hey, you don’t have to be a damn DJ on your own records. We know who the hell you are.
Drake – My goodness, he’s prolific, and wordy, and needs an edit / purge function. He’s not QUITE the Guided By Voices of pop / hip-hop, but it’s close. Now, the trend is NOT to do a compilation, so I guess I’m going to have to do one myself. It’s just a lot of stuff right now to plow through and 20+ tracks per record and playlist and mixtape.
Eve – She emerged from a ‘feud’ with Foxy Brown as the clear winner, if you keep score on those things. Her branch out into TV has been very lucrative.
Fetty Wap – The term “One Hit Wonder” may have to change in this environment of streaming and digital singles. He had three Top 10 singles from his debut, but nothing else has hit pop. In this time of mixtapes and studio albums and guest tracks, there are a lot more chances for someone to get another hit, even accidentally. “Trap Queen” is what we’ll know him for.
G-Eazy – There are some good beats, but he’s a one trick pony to my ears in regards to delivery and flow and style. The radio will suffice.
Geto Boys – Plenty of talent, but their obsessions with death and cruelty really drag them down since it gets to be repetitive.
Juvenile – He had a #1 hit in 2004, and a #1 album in 2006, but “Back That Azz Up” is his legacy. And a fine legacy that is!
Macklemore – He and Ryan Lewis came onto the scene like gangbusters, with hook-laden raps. But after that it’s all been kind of an empty set commercially and hasn’t released a full project since 2017. Maybe he does need Lewis.
Meek Mill – He’s selling (or streaming) a lot of product, and has released a lot of mix tapes and EPs besides his albums since 2008, but that volume has diluted his work I feel. That product may be due to his legal issues, which have been going on with the same judge since 2008. I’m giving his 2017 record a chance to prove me wrong.
Mac Miller – He seemed like he was coming into his own.
Method Man – After a decent debut, it seemed he was better off with Redman or the Wu-Tangs than as a solo. Albums that are way too long, and collaborators papering over his weaknesses.
Newcleus – Anything without “Jam” in the title isn’t worthwhile. Wiki-wiki-wiki can only go so far.
Next – Well, record buyers said that as soon as “Wifey” left the charts.
Post Malone – It seems like someone should wake him up, since he raps like he’s about nodded out. I guess they did, because in 2019 he started to be understood and made his bones.
Sir Mix-A-Lot – There’s no compilation streaming, and his albums are spotty at best. You know the song to have, and there may be a couple others lurking about.
6ix9ine – The stylized spelling is almost too much, but he makes a good foil for Nicki Minaj.
Vince Staples – I’m holding full judgement here. “Big Fish” was OK, but I didn’t hear anything else that popped out at me, and his latest had no radio tracks per se. However, he could move off this list soon enough. Others have. Sorry, Ed Sheeran.
Too $hort – His flow and beats were great, but the misogyny and idiotic sexual boasts were a bit much. A few tracks excel.
Three 6 Mafia – Another group that derailed by too much talk about misogynistic sex and unbridled hedonism.
2 Chainz – His albums sell, but his singles don’t chart anymore. I think he may be stuck in a rut.
Ty Dollar $ – Lots of guest artists, which is OK. But I think they disguise his weaknesses more than enhance his strengths.
Paul Wall – Remember him? The grill? And…that’s all you remember, right?
Wiz Khalifa – Another artist with lots of product, big hits, but inconsistent records. His mixtapes and guest artistry at times overwhelms someone trying to follow his career. He definitely needs a good retrospective package.