Saturday, October 16, 2010

Top 10 MC's of the decade - Low Two's to BET

BET, you never fail to let us down. It was bad enough you couldn't make me watch your Hip Hop Awards and even worse when they failed to make up for the BET Awards not mentioning Guru's passing by only a 1-min tribute with no playing of his music. Now you've made a list that screams "Please pay attention to us, we know how to respect a genre."

Yet, you sucked me in to write a rebuttal. Stupidity should be ignored but I can't help it.

The criteria was simple. MC's who debuted in 1999. Already it's a problem. How can you judge the best of an era without including MC's who impacted the decade that may have come before it started? By the way, the 21st century started in 2000/2001 depending on who you ask. And why not just call it Best of the Decade?

Here's their list. Eminem, Wayne, Kanye West, 50 Cent, T.I., Ludacris, Drake, Young Jeezy, Jadakiss, Rick Ross. This face says it all.

Ummm where do we start?

Based on their stupid criteria - Jadakiss should be DQ'ed since he was with the Lox in 1997. Props for mentioning him cause he's slept on. And Drake?? Really? I didn't realize having a great 2009 placed him above Nelly or Fabolous. By the way, how did those 2 get omitted?

I'm gonna do 2 things. Make a list based on their "criteria" then do a real list with some real explanations. I started on Twitter but I need to tweak it more. Most of my generation can do better since we grew up watching music from 2000-on extra closely

My list on BET criteria. Eminem, Nelly, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Ludacris,  T.I., Lil Wayne, Ja Rule, Fabolous, Mos Def (with Missy Elliot sitting just outside).

Not only did they omit Nelly - one of the best selling rappers of the decade and definitely one of the most influential on slang and fashion - their criteria also forgot Mos Def, who dropped his classic debut in 1999 that went gold on an indie label. Regardless of his output since, that one album is worth his placing.

I rank my list on simple qualities - skills, album sales, critical acclaim, influence, impact, longevity, consistency. That means that rappers who made an impact from 2000-2004 should be given more preference since their impact can be analyzed much more. Ja Rule might be remembered for being part of 50's stepping stone to greatness but from 01-03, he was as big an artist as anyone in hip-hop and brought back R&B/hip-hop collabs.

The REAL list is as follows: (Honorable Mention: The Game, Ja Rule, Missy Elliot, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Young Jeezy)

1. Eminem - Do we have to say why? Biggest selling rapper of the decade, oodles of hits (Stan's a well-used term), 2 well-revered albums and an Oscar. 2002 was as big a year for any artist in musical history. Plenty of respect. Encore/Relapse aside, nobody comes close except...

2. Jay-Z - The Blueprint's the album of the decade. Went from great rapper to respected legend. Plenty of hits, arguably the world's most known rapper. Blueprint, Black Album and American Gangster are great albums. Fashion, culture. He's even become heavily overrated but that doesn't knock his accomplishments.

3. Nas - The feud with Jay-Z restored his career from being forgotten. Catalogue might be the strongest/most consistent of the decade minus Street's Disciple. Last two albums went #1. Reminded everyone why he's one of the greatest lyricists/storytellers. Ether has become a term for embarrassing/clowning the mess out of someone.

4. Nelly - Single handedly put St. Louis on the map. One of the biggest rappers from 2000-2004 with hits and albums. Had everybody speaking country slang before Lil Jon. Apple Bottom Jeans became a fashion statement. His career tailed off quickly as it started but 21 million sold is 21 million sold.

5. Kanye - Production aside for this argument. One of the most acclaimed debuts in recent music history. Each album has sold more in its 1st week except for 808 and Heartbreaks. Arguably the biggest rapper out right now besides Lil Wayne. Each album has been highly acclaimed (depending on 808) and he has one of the biggest hits of the decade (Gold Digger). Dudes wore preppy clothes because of him and the emo-rap owes him a debt.

6. 50 Cent - His album/hit quality has dropped off since 2007 but from 2003-07, no rapper was bigger. Hits, album sales, Vitamin Water, brought back the streets into rap, Great songwriter. Greatest debut in the game since Snoop Dogg. Video games, movies. One of the best rap singles of the decade with "In Da Club." Also increased awareness of mixtapes in mainstream.

7. Ludacris - Definition of Consistency. More Top 10 albums than anybody in the decade. 14 million sold with plenty of hits. Arguably the king of guest verses. Skills have gotten better with each album and the balance of comedy, party and serious hits make him one of the most well-rounded MC's in the mainstream.

8. T.I. - Nearly the same career trajectory as Luda minus 2 years. Two jail stints aside, he helped bring Swizz Beatz back (for better or worse). King and Paper Trail solidified him as one of the biggest stars in rap. Almost influenced the new generation of trap-rap but he's shown himself to be more versatile lyrically and content-wise than his proteges.

9. Lil Wayne - 2000-2004 he was a Cash Money sideman. Carter 1 and Go DJ started getting him national notice. Dedication 2 mixtape, along with others, added to it, leading to Carter 3 selling a million. He makes the list because of his slow, uphill grind to fame and unbelievable explosion the last 4 years. Influenced style. Arguably the biggest player in terms of rap now. Time will tell where he heads in the next decade.

10. Fabolous - Once hailed as the next LL for his balance of street jams (Breathe, Holla Back) and ladies jams (Cant Let You Go, Baby). Last 5 years have been hit or miss but his last album went #1 last year.

Most underrated MC of the decade. Ghostface Killah. Check his catalog - Supreme Clintele and Fishscale are two of the best albums of the decade. Most of his albums were critically acclaimed. If he had more hits, he'd slide right in at No. 10 easily.

Sadly there's no women on here. Eve had a good run but you can't mention her - like BET did on their Top 15 - without mentioning Missy Elliot, who had more hits and critical acclaim from 2001-2005. Had Missy dropped 1-2 albums in the last 5 years - her position would be earned. It's a reminder that female MC's are on the decline.

Everyone will have their biases and opinions with their lists. There's no problem with that but make sure your lists are well-informed and reflect everything that happened. BET failed again to honor our culture which is like saying water is wet but still I somehow expected more.

1 comment:

  1. Your list is on point! What where they thinking their on something if they think that list is right!!