As much as we want Hip-Hop to be an art form based solely on skill, contemporary culture often dictates otherwise and turns it into popularity contest. And while opposing points of views, different styles, and controversy all have their place in helping progress be made, sometimes they overshadow the music.
The result of that is headline-grabbing stories instead of songs. In the best case scenario, negative publicity can pave the way for good music. Or, in the worst, the music can never eclipse the other attention and it’s more harmful than helpful.
So, here are 10 rappers we love to hate, therefore proving that there’s really no such thing as bad publicity.
10). Kanye West: Mr. West is an amazingly skilled producer and rapper whose consistency is second to none. He has not only produced classic beats for some of rap’s elite, but also made one of Hip-Hop’s best albums ever, his own My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. However, with an unrivaled ego and level of arrogance, one of the music industry’s best talents also has one of the worst reputations.
09). DMX: In the late 90’s, he was one of the most successful and popular rappers on the planet. But in the years since, his drug addiction, legal woes, and family drama has plagued his career considerably. And people have been just as interested in his fall as his rise. The fact he was able to laugh at himself about it though in 2014’s Top Five does help him a bit.
08). Riff Raff: He is more of a character than a rapper, and people like to dislike him because there are so many better emcees deserving of the spot he got through gimmicks. And any shred of credibility he has acquired over the years has since been lost because a bodyguard tackling someone at one of his shows recently is the most publicity he has ever received.
07). Birdman: As the co-founder of Cash Money Records, he’s famously rich and infamous for mistreating his artists (Juvenile, Mannie Fresh). Even Lil Wayne, one Hip-Hop’s biggest stars in recent years, is currently suing his longtime label, Cash Money Records for $51 million dollars- the sum of various costs that Cash Money owes Wayne and Young Money but have yet to pay. And in case people forget, Birdman is also a rapper, with five solo albums, two collaboration albums, and his work as part of the Big Tymers all under his belt.
06). Waka Flocka Flame: He hasn’t dropped an album in three years, but he stays on peoples’ radar. And while he did have moderate success with “Hard in da Paint” and “No Hands.” The music’s appeal was seemingly limited to mosh pits and frat parties. And recently, he said he wasn’t worthy of Jay Z or Kanye feature on his upcoming LP. Then there’s his 2016 presidential campaign. There hasn’t been a more ridiculous run in politics since porn star Mary Carey made a bid for Lieutenant Governor of California.
05). Iggy Azalea: She became a superstar in 2014 and her music couldn’t be avoided. However, it wasn’t sour grapes about her success that made some in the Hip-Hop community dislike her, it was the fact that she disregarded what role white privilege played in it. By tweeting things in response to her opposition like, “so it’s completely fine and I’m used to it by now. i don’t lose any sleep over it,” (i.e. haters are going to hate) she ruffled feathers by not showing respect to a culture and history of music that had been treating her very nicely.
04). Azealia Banks: She is definitely more popular for her words off records than on them. In addition to beefing with more rappers on twitter than female R&B singers that Biggie fantasized about making love to on “Dreams [Just Playin’],” she also got lots of attention for her words in a recent Playboy interview. In addition to other controversial comments, she proclaimed that she hates “fat white Americans,” and hated on Kanye West and Lorde. Clearly her outspokenness is what’s keeping her in the spotlight. Remember this pic from last summer when no one (including her) showed up for her set at the Hove festival in Norway?
03). Chief Keef: While promoting Bang 3, he made the following Instagram post:
02). Bobby Shmurda: In December 2014, the 20-year-old rapper was arrested in a 69-count indictment which included murder, drugs, and weapons possession. And his music glorifies all of those same negative elements. When asked by the press if his lyric in “Hot N***a” was true about selling drugs at a very young age, he responded by saying: “I was running with older guys, my brother and [his friends]. So by the time they was doing stuff, I was doing stuff. So they was in like 9th grade.”
01). Young Thug: People love to hate Young Thug for a multitude of reasons. It’s hard to understand what he says, he exploits his own sexual orientation via social media and attire, didn’t take a favorable stance on Ferguson, said he’d never buy a Jay Z album because he’s too old, and basically stole Lil Wayne’s album title. Karma seems to be catching up with him though; he was booed just a few days ago at a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!