Black and Ugly as Ever, However!

 “First things first, I Poppa, freaks all the honey’s, dummies, playboy bunnies, those wanting money.  Those the ones I like, cause they don’t get nathan, but penetration unless they smell like sanitation.  Gar-barge I turn like door knobs.  Heartthrob?  Never, black and ugly as ever; however…”Biggie is considered the G.O.A.T by many because of his brilliant rhymes, impressive rhyme patterns and his visually vivid story telling ability; everything else about him was a plus.  He was a true lyricist, arguably the crème de la creme, during a time when artists fought literally and figuratively for microphone supremacy, while allowing the fans and their peers to anoint them “The King Of” based on their music alone, as opposed to being self appointed by self proclamation based solely on what one thinks of himself.Though there appear to be a lot of “successful” rappers today if we base it on the material possessions they flaunt and the sums of money that’s too much to fold, perfectly placed to poke out of both front jean pockets as seen in music videos; however, I wonder how many would have existed during the time in hip hop when what a person rapped about mattered?  Or better yet, I wonder if rap stardom was solely based on an artist’s lyrical ability as it once was, which of today’s artists would be a marquee name?Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t fault the business aspect of rap because it is a business (and everybody want to get paid), but it would be irresponsible of me or anyone else not to acknowledge that the commercialization of the music appear to have altered the motivation of the artist, leading to the stagnation of the art.  And since those individuals and corporations who are benefiting the most from the commercialization of our music are not from our community, they don’t feel a responsibility to our community.  So they exploit our community (with our help) using the same vehicle we created to voice our feelings about societal ills negatively affecting our community, which we used to do so poetically.  Oftentimes, I recollect the day when rap stars were born and not manufactured.According to the “brain trust” of MTV, their last full list of the Hottest MC’s in The Game 2009 included these ten artists from top to bottom, starting with number one:  Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye West, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy, Fabolous, 50 Cent and Raekwon.  Besides Jay Z and Raekwon who we know were able to coexist with the marquee players during the last decade of prominent lyricism, which included at least three if not more of the greatest emcee’s on just about everybody’s Top 5 Dead Or Alive, who else on this list could have been prevalent during the nineties?  Granted, Lil Wayne did release his first solo album in late1999, which was certified platinum within a month.  Still I ask, based solely on lyricism, would Lil Wayne had been able to successfully coexist with the likes of Tupac, Biggie, Nasty Nas, a young Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Wu Tang Clan and the countless others that honed their skills during that time to be considered one of the best?  Would he along with the others on the list have been as big as they are today?  Difficult question indeed to ask, let alone answer.  It’s the equivalent of sports fans asking whether or not a team including Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh could have competed with the Magic-led Showtime, the original big three in Boston, and Michael and whoever.  Though we know the answer is “hell no,” nevertheless we ask the question.Personally, of the people listed, I think that Funeral Fab could have been able to garner the respect of his peers and be successful because of his lyrical ability during the time in reference.  If rap stardom was based solely on lyrics and not the lyricist’s story (which if you listened to his lyrics, you would know his story), F-a-b-o-l-o-u-s would be a super star in the game, in my opinion.  I also think that the incredibly talented Kanye West would have been an instrumental entity in rap because of his lyrical skills during the end of the twentieth century.  I argued with a good friend of mine that both Rick Ross and Jeezy could have coexisted with the likes of the greats of the nineties.  Even though I was referring to the artists that they both evolved into, he still was not as convinced as I am.  Then he suggested 50 Cent and I wasn’t as convinced as he was.  50 Cent was actually out during the nineties, but had minimal buzz outside of New York until his song How To Rob was released.  Needless to say, during that time he was nowhere near as big as he would later become.  Although his name wasn’t on the 2009 list, but considering the question that I asked, I think that T.I would have held his own lyrically in the presence of greatness.  Emcees who successfully debuted during the nineties were cut from a different cloth than the majority of the rappers that followed them into the new century.  But I must honestly acknowledge that it’s always refreshing to see those emcees who appear to be wearing a familiar garment.  At the same time, it saddens me that there are only a few.So I ask what about Game, Lloyd Banks, Juelz. B.O.B, Kid Cudi, Jay Cole, Jay Electronica, Jay Rock, 40 Glocc, Ludacris, Cassidy, Papoose, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Plies, Flo-Rida, Nicki Minaj and any of the other artist’s that we prominently see on television, the internet and hear on radio, would they have existed during the golden era of emceeing, based solely on emceeing?To you, are there any emcee’s in your opinion, who hit the scene after 2000 who will be able to be mentioned lyrically in the same breath as the likes of Tupac, Biggie, Nasty Nas, a young Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Wu Tang Clan and the countless others that honed their skills during 1990’s to be considered one of the best?

Related Stories