Top 5 Rappers I Can't Take Seriously Anymore

It's not that they are lyrically incompetent or their production sounds like crap, it's the fact that deviations from a rapper's music career have gotten me to push the skip button whenever their song comes up on my iTunes. I used to like these artists but somewhere along the line I lost respect for them. Without further ado, here is my top 5:

5. Diddy
His name changes from Puff Daddy to P Diddy to Diddy were annoying but his public display
as a cutthroat boss and manager was broadcasted 1 too many times on TV.
He hosted 3 seasons of "Making the Band" and 2 seasons of "I Want to Work for Diddy" where he tried to portray a hardcore businessman and after a while, it just got old and boring. His music after his MTV/VH1 stints was irrelevant to me and even some of his work on his early Bad Boy days was tainted.

4. Xzibit
Never was a huge fan of his work but I always respected his albums that brought him success such as Man vs. Machine and Restless.
But then he hosted the infamous MTV series called "Pimp My Ride" where he would help random people trick the cars from a piece of junk to an over-accesorized vehicle that was begging to be stolen. The show helped enforced stereotypes about hip hop like materialism and Xzibit did nothing to help it except gawk at how large the rims were or how many TVs they had fit into the dashboard. Also, his laugh was really annoying.

3. Waka Flocka Flame - Who am I kidding, I've never took this guy seriously.

2. MC Guru (R.I.P.)
This is the one that breaks my heart. I absolutely loved Gang Starr and all 6 albums the duo put out. Gangstarr really set a precedence for how duos should perform, with DJ Premier producing some of the illest tracks and Guru smoothly rapping on top of any beat.
Guru eventually parted ways up with Premo and went on to produce a moderately successful album series, Jazzmattaz Vol I-IV (with each release being less popular than the previous). What completely ruined his reputation for me was his album, Baldhead Slick & da Click. It was an atrocious attempt at trying to reinvent and redefine his career. In a nutshell, he basically became a commercial sellout by trading in his intelligent and thought-provoking lyrics for a more mainstream view on life that included drugs, violence, and women. I really wish I hadn't listened to Baldhead Slick & da Click as it completely lowered my respect for Guru's earlier work in Gangstarr. I guess ignorance really is bliss.

1. Ice Cube
Notorious for his influence on West Coast rap, Ice Cube set a standard for gangster rap. His hits such as "It was a Good Day" and "Check Yo Self" along with others, embodied the very real and hard lifestyle of living on the poorer side of town. It wasn't until very recently his reputation as a thug seemed to unravel.
Ice Cube starred in the family comedy film, "Are We There Yet?" and was a far stretch from rapping about guns and whatnot. The film was a success financially (raking in $80+ million) but received terrible reviews. In what was a monetary decision, Ice Cube made a sequel to the movie and even dragged out the concept into a TV series. But what ticks me off the most is how he returned to the rap game with boldly titled album "I am the West" as if he never starred in the PG film/tv series in the first place! Am I really supposed to forget all the childish content Ice Cube made and rebrand him as a thug?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Honorable Mentions: Ice T and Kanye West

Something I came across

For a different taste, I want to share The LXD . These guys are pretty dope, especially with an orchestra in the background. The music has various elements you'll find that these talented artists surprisingly dance to to create a classy vibe. There's nothing like live instruments playing a live performance. I know there's not so much hip hop but open up more because this piece is definitely something to check out.

Why I dislike Lil' Wayne

I try not to judge people, and let them appreciate the music they like. But this is why I dislike Lil Wayne. Firstly, I don't even think he's that bad. He has some clever lines, and great delivery (even with his annoying voice) But why is he at the top of the hip hop list? There are thousands of artists better (or at least as good) as him. What makes him so special? So when the only hip hop artist you hear on the radio is Lil Wayne, it does get quite frustrating when there is so much other talent the world needs to learn about. In fact, I don't think my anger should be directed toward Lil Wayne, as much as the mainstream media. When I argue with a Weezy fan, the question I get in response is 'Name me some better artists'. I respond back in alphabetical order with 'Aceyalone, Andre Nickatina, Atmosphere, Binary Star....'. The response back? "Uh, I've never heard of them". EXACTLY. And that's why I joined Hip Hop Congress, to show as many people I can what good hip hop is.

Now that I'm a blogger, I see it as my right to put people up on game. Not just no ordinary game, but some real nigga shit. Now this website right here, this website right here (Katt Williams voice) is THE SHIT. It's called Rap Genius. I swear, I'm on this shit daily. It's really a simple concept: Put sometimes obscure/borderline incomprehensible rap lyrics in layman's terms. You know, so we normal, non chain bearing, regular life living people can finally understand! And I swear, this website breaks down EVERYTHING. From Juicy J to Blu. From Waka to Nas. Lyric by lyric and most of the time the analysis is right on point. I swear, my roomate and I were on here for the bulk of a Sunday afternoon deciphering Cam'ron lyrics. For all we know, this website just might of been concocted because of Cam'ron lol. "Whether buddist or budah, that's judist or juda I got luger to ruger, hit from Roota to Toota" ("Get Em Girls"-Cam'ron). Thank God for rapgenius...

Thank You Based God

You all have have heard of him before. "Lil' B". Even if you are not a fan of his music, you gotta admit having the urge to "cook" one time, or yell out "SWAG!" randomly. As a pop-culture figure, Lil' B's antics have become staples to this generation. Every Sunday you see a different football player doing the cooking dance after a touchdown, and how many times do you hear "swag" per day? Have you ever had a bad day? I suggest looking up "Thank You Based God" on Google Image search and tell me that doesn't make you LOL. Some people see him as a joke, but I see him a man merely making money for doing what he loves, and that's entertaining. I myself enjoy his music because I think once you get passed the "Ellen Degeneres" type songs, you will find that he can actually rap, actually raps about real life issues, and actually stands behind a message. He does what he wants and says what he wants because he doesn't let any of the constraints in rap hold him down, and I respect that. Many people hate him, many people love him. But no one really understands him. That is why I decided to make him the focus of my research paper for my Humanities class last quarter. Say what you want about him, but the paper got me an 'A' in the class. I couldn't help but saying "thank you based god." Here is an excerpt from my paper in which I attempt to apply social theory to the hip hop phenomenon know as the Based God (swag):

In this day of age, where everything is connected through the power of the Internet, it is not rare to see an average person become an instant world-wide celebrity in a matter of minutes. For this generation of teenagers, the Internet has become their go-to public sphere for socializing. It has become equivalent to the 1950s roller rinks and burger joints: a place where teens can gather online together to create their own private space and be free from the control of adults (Tapscott, 55). More than anything, these teens are online constantly sharing content with their peers through blogs and other social media outlets. This generation, often regarded as the “Net” Generation, has received a lot of criticism from the older generation of people. Some have even gone as far as deeming them “the dumbest generation.” But as author Don Tapscott explains in his book Grown Up Digital, this new smarter and quicker generation has the power to revolutionize aspects of society like no other generation. From politics to education, this generation is already beginning to “transform every institution of modern life” (Tapscott, 6).

One aspect of society that is feeling the change is the music industry, particularly the hip hop genre. Since its initial peak in the late 80’s, hip hop has been the one of the most, if not the most influential genre of music in America. But as Internet usage increased, the number of records sold subsequently did the opposite. Rather than paying for music, people were simply downloading the music from peer-peer networks free of charge (Tapscott, 4). As music executives brainstormed for new ways to sell records, members of the “Net” Generation were using the Internet to make a name for themselves without the assistance of these record labels. One particular rapper is twenty-one year old Brandon McCartney, more famously known as Lil’ B. His rise to Internet stardom began in 2008 when he began flooding the Internet with his music through the social media website Creating over 155 music pages, all containing five to ten songs on each page, B was able to attract a substantial amount of followers. He would increase his popularity by releasing over 250 visuals for his songs on the popular site YouTube, while interacting with his 226,314 followers on Twitter and 114,845 fans on Facebook. Yet, listening to his music one would not understand why he is so popular. Many of his songs contain lyrics that are “questionable, profound, obscene, vulgar, outrageous and absurd”, and for the most part, lack any sort of substance or meaning (McCall). As NPR journalist Andrew Noz described it, “his rapping is close to horrible, sloppy and off beat or thematically incoherent.” Add that to the fact that he has never had a hit song played regularly on the radio and it is hard to grasp how he has sold out shows nationwide from Los Angeles to New York City. And while Lil’ B has garnered a large group of loyal fans, his music is one of the most criticized among the hip hop community. Some have gone the length to say his music is “ruining the future of hip-hop" and have labeled him as the “worst rapper ever.” Lil’ B, however, seems to “revel in the hatred,” purposely getting under the skin of people through his music and behavior. While it is not the first time a rapper has utilized shock-value tactics, Lil B might be the first to purposely offend those within the hip-hop community (Noz).

With his focus on his Internet counterparts, Lil’ B is not just another rapper. Rather, he is the representation of an entire generation. His rise to stardom and cult-like following is reflective of the characteristics manifested in the “Net” Generation and symbolizes a need for change in the assimilated themes commonly expressed in the hip hop genre. As a result, Lil’ B’s music and character becomes an artistic form of resistance that acts as a deconstructive critique on the values represented by hip hop’s ideological apparatus. To go along with his lyrics, his choice of attire is a radical shift from the traditional “masculine” figure regularly portrayed by hip hop artists, challenging gender roles and the common misconception that black males have to embody a “gangster” persona; thus bringing to light the stigma associated with homosexuality among the African-American and hip hop community. Lil’ B’s simple, yet confrontational approach to a previously cemented characteristic of hip hop artists has allowed him to challenge hip hop’s biggest taboo. At the same time, Lil’ B tackles the misogynistic themes so often expressed in hip hop lyrics through his outrageous and excessive lyrics, addressing a problem in hip hop that women have been decrying for decades but denied the voice. Lil’ B’s ignorant and anti-intellectual rants also work to undermine the egoistic characters and materialistic themes that hip hop artists have been representing in mainstream rap music.

October's Very Own

From having trust issues to making headlines, Drake’s comeback since Thank Me Later is crazier than ever. Many people may dislike Drake, calling him a fake, because he raps about certain things, but says the opposite in his interviews. I don’t believe this makes him a fake, because when you think about it us students are the same way. We like talking about smoking weed and lean to our friends, but you’re not going to say that to your parents or announce it to the world. Drake’s listeners are his friends in that same sense. He keeps his music personal and current, so listener’s can relate to him. I mean let’s be real how many of you thought about an ex after hearing Marvin’s Room or started yelling out “I’m on one!” when your drunk?

In my opinion Drake is one of the most original rappers out there. While most rappers out there are opening up their lamborghini doors, Drake opens up the Toronto Roger's Stadium in the Headlines video above. And for those of you that missed it here's the video of Drake performing on SNL last week.

Happy Birthday Drake and take care everybody.

Who is Nardwuar?

And why is he the best interviewer on the web?

Nardwuar the Human Serviette, aka John Ruskin, is not your run-of-the-mill interviewer. He is known for having a exuberant yet awkward personality and also looks like a professional mini-golf player. He hails from Vancouver, Canada where he went to school for his undergraduate degree in history and currently has a weekly show at WFMU.

His interviewing style is intriguingly unlike any other field reporter. He composes massive research on his future interviewee and uses this insightful information to connect past experiences to present characteristics.

Often Nardwuar will present multiple gifts to the interviewee, not to suck up or anything, but to help the interviewee recollect important and influential moments. These gifts are often musical related gifts such as records, tapes, posters, etc. Often the interviewee will accept the gift and gladly spill insight into his/her past that no other interviewer could ever extract.

The majority of interviewees love Nardwuar because of his quirky personality and his accurate research. Some find it odd how he knows so much about the interviewee (Tyler the Creator thinks Nardwuar is with the Feds). Sometimes, Nardwuar can annoy and offend people such as Kid Cudi and Slipknot, but more often than not, the interviewee leaves in smiles and with a bunch of gifts.

Check out a couple interviews with Tyler the Creator and Casey Veggies and decide for yourself:

Chuuwee - Artist of the Week

My artist of the week (and current favorite rapper) is Chuuwee (pronounced "chewy") hailing live from the city of trees aka the 9-16 Sacramento, California. Pretty much all I have been listening too lately. The first time I heard "French Inhale" I was hooked and now I can't stop listening to him (no homo). Chuuwee is an emerging star coming out the West and he's been getting massive coverage by blogs all over the net. With a "straight up style" and impressive display of lyricism, his combination of crazy sampled beats and witty lyrics combine to create clever stories reflecting the 90s era in which he was raised. His music is honest and easy to relate to. He's confident, yet not too braggadocious, and you can tell he's hungry to make it. I would highly recommend checking out his EP "Be Cool" and his mixtape produced entirely by Cook-n-Soul "The Date Tape." Be on the look out for Chuuwee's next project titled "Watching the Throne" which is set to be released in November 2011.

Top 5 Producers IMO

I'm more of an instrumental kind of a guy. I hear the beat louder than the word. No disrespect
to acappella, but the beat keeps the rhythm and flow. It's basically the energy.
I don't blog much but I'll post my 5 top producers that have influenced what I look for in a beat.

5. Amp Live- His innovative and refreshingly energetic beats create a post West Coast hip hop sound. Songs like "Don't Lose Your Head" and "Coastin".

4. Just Blaze - He's been on game for the past decade and hasn't lost any game at all. Notable tracks like Fabolous - "Breathe" and Maino Feat. T-Pain "All the Above"

3. J Dilla - An enigmatic character in Hip Hop. Dilla's love-centric, creative productions, much like his behind-the-scenes approach, have an initially subtle appeal which perpetually grows the more you listen to it. Beats of "The Light" by Common and "Tainted" by Slum Village.

2. Dr. Dre - He mainly took over the past half decade and was pronounced the most successful commercial hip hop producer of all time. After starting his own label, Aftermath, Dre signed Eminem and later 50 Cent, producing for both on their way to multi-platinum statuses. His beats feature an addictive sound which is kind of like G-funk on blast. Notable Tracks like "California Love" by Tupac and "Nothin' But A G thang" by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg.

1. Kanye West - Yeah, he's a douchebag and auto-tune abuser but his samples are on point. He's been on Billboard charts for the past decade not even rapping, producing for a variety of artists. West proves that sometimes quality wins over quantity. Produced beats like "Go" by Common, "Overnight Celebrity" by Twista, and Izzo (HOVA) by Jay-Z.

Top 5 Artists of the week

As a biology major, I don't know how to write at all,

so I'll stick to posting my top 5 artists that I'm listening to this week. In no
way am I proclaiming that these are the best rappers/singers, but instead am just introducing who I've been bumping on my Zune right now, hoping to show some new music

5. Bonobo -- Not classified as hip-hop, but Bonobo is one of my favorites right now, especially for studying. He's a British producer and DJ, who has some of the most elegant, yet simple beats I've ever heard. It does have that hip hop vibe and I think many hip hop heads can appreciate it, especially those who favor instrumentals. Favorite song - Recurring

4. The Dean's List -- Although not as lyrically talented as most 'underground listeners' would want, I can't get enough of the beats they spit on. From the east coast, they are not well known in SoCal, but once my friend showed me in the summer I couldn't get enough. Favorite Song - Valley Girl (Remix)

3. Kendrick Lamar -- Most of you have heard his name,
as he's being crowned as the best talent out of LA currently. If not, Favorite Song - HiiPower

2. XV -- This dude from Kansas needs to blow up already. Lyrically, I think he is underrated. Great beats & Great lyrics, what more can you want. Listen carefully to his lyrics and you'll see how clever and flawless he is with his delivery. Favorite Song - When We're Done

1. Theophilus London -- There are 2 reactions you can have to his music. Either you love it, or you will respond with 'WTF is this?' I had both reactions when I first heard his music. This dude is unique and bringing hip hop back. Unfortunately, his voice
is like Cudi's, so he will always be compared to him, even thou
gh he isn't even close to the same style on any level. Favo
rite Song - Humdrum Town or Flying Overseas or I Stand Alone or Why Even Try or Wine & Chocolates (yeah, i can't fucking decide)

Swag Ain't Dead

NEWSFLASH (Okay, not really): But, we are currently living in the era of Swag. As much as you may want to fight it, swag is taking over and is taking no prisoners. The kids nowadays are raising there middle finger to the system and creating a lane where individuality is the focus. Rap about social issues? nahh Rap about love/romance? nahh. New schoolers like ASAP Rocky are rapping about drinking 40's, smoking weed, and fucking your bitch. And at the same time, getting signed to major record labels and gaining mass followings who are drawn to the...yeah you guessed it...SWAG. Peep aforementioned ASAP Rocky. #harlemworld

Top 5 Albums

A lot of thought should go into someone's TOP 5 Hip Hop Albums, but I feel like a lot of people will base their TOP 5 on other people's list. That includes TOP Producers and TOP Rappers. Now, I got nothing but respect for the rappers from the past, and I will not hesitate to deem an album a CLASSIC if it is. For example, Nas' "Illmatic." Yeah it's a helluva album. The story tellin' of a young black man coming out of the projects of Queensbridge, New York gives you a first row seat of how it was at that time. It's hard for me not to put it in my TOP albums. But for me, I feel like your TOP albums should be based on the music that made a difference in your up-bringing, not what others think. In reality, I give a damn what other people think. Now "Illmatic" was released in 1994, meaning it was released when I was 2-years old. I can't put it in my TOP because I was not around to experience the cultural impact it had. Say what you want, hate on my choices, but these are some of the albums that I felt led me to love and appreciate hip hop for what it is. Listed below are the name of the albums and contributing rappers plus a link to the Samples used for the album. Enjoy. <1

1. Kanye West - College Dropout (
2. Common - Be (
3. Jay-Z - Blueprint 1 (
4. Cam'ron - Come Home With Me (
5. The Game - The Documentary (
5. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor (

Booking Your Favorite Artists

So you've got this awesome theme, perfect venue, and the ideal date to host the best concert/festival your city has ever seen. And all you now need is the right artist to headline the show.

So how do you book them?

The most common answer is to find the artist's booking agent, shoot him/her an brief email, and offer a respectable amount of money to play your show.

And 80% of the time the agent will reject your offer.

Now it's most likely that the artist is touring in a certain part of the world or not even touring at all, which is why the agent probably said "thanks but no thanks". But what if I said that you could have a sizeable chance at persuading the booking agent and even the artist to come play at your show? Well it's true, and this is how Paul Tollett, president of Goldenvoice, does it with Coachella (in one of my favorite interviews):

"I feel bad divulging this, but when you're talking to a band, you can't lead off with money. You'll be shot down almost every time. They know what kind of money they can get. You have to approach them with why they should get back together. We'll say, "There are thousands of people wanting to see you. You're still relevant, and you're the third most-asked-for band on the Coachella message board." I've had bands, including one this year that I won't name, confirmed before we even talked money."

This response was specific to reunion bands at Coachella but there are a couple things to take away from it:

1. Never mention asking price in the initial email - it makes it seem you are just interested in the services of the artist. Try to show genuine interest in the artist.

2. Have stats to back up your case. Booking agents and artists like to have confidence in the promoter, because when it comes down to the bottom line, they want the most possible tickets sold. So if you had sold 500 tickets to your last event or packed the house with just 2 weeks of promotion, then tell the whole world! (By the way...have you noticed a Facebook fan page for "Bringing Avicii to UCI"? The organizers of this event are trying to build an online fan base to persuade other student body executives to let a 170K concert take part in the Bren. But in order to do that, they need stats to prove that the concert will sell out and the Facebook page is just the start of the market research.)

And here a couple of personal tips coming from me that should bode helpful:

3. Sell your event! If you have an awesome venue or a great philanthropic cause then make sure the recipient of your email knows that. Artists do hundreds of shows every year, what differentiates yours?

4. Start early. The earlier you start planning the more likely the artist will be available and it increases the chance of booking the artist at a cheaper price.

So take this advice and rethink your first email or phone call you make, it just might be the deciding factor.

Paul Tollett interview -