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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Derrick hands out the pink slips

You know how we all experience those, 'No way, I'm that old!' moments? Well, I have just realized that I have witnessed the entire careers of some of my favorite hip-hop artists. I've been hooked on my Walkman since middle school. Before that, my older brother played The Skinny Boys, Low Profile, The Disco Three and the Beat Street soundtrack in the room we had to share. When he drove me to school, N.W.A. rhymed about running the streets and Craig G. dropped science. I remember all those old P.E., Ice T, Tung Twista, and P.R.T. videos (when they first came out). Who else does? I run down the list of my favorite emcees, and I'm surprised that I have seen many of them from their first guest appearances to their long solo careers.  




There are just as many artists who are still turning out albums but who should have had their writing hands cut off a long time ago. Some of the names on the give-it-up-list may surprise you. I don't care what your name is; there comes a time when everyone loses the drive to use their gift or even a little bit of the gift itself. On with the head hunting... 








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1. L.L. Cool J: I couldn't even type his name without frowning, then laughing at it. I frown because, like others on this list, he was once at the top. I laugh when I hear his name because these days he does videos wearing patent leather overalls with glitter and no shirt on. What the hell is that? He was and still is a well of talent. He used to make records for us who once aspired to be B-Boys. It was OK that he put one love song on every album; everyone likes 'I Need Love.' His problem is that he now fills the album with love songs and reserves one spot for the hard-as-hell type of song that got him his status. Stick to acting, James.  




2. Ice Cube: What the hell is a Don Mega anyway? Cube was the greatest about 10 years ago. He was angry, he was fearsome, and he was relatively honest. He spoke for people who didn't get heard. If there's no Cube, then there's no Pac. Enough said.  




3. KRS-One: I know I'm making enemies with this one. I agree that hip-hop needs a conscience, but this is ridiculous. I'm simply tired of hearing his voice. The man is a GREAT writer, but he's an asshole. He has been a part of countless group and solo projects, but the fact remains that only three of them were genuinely good albums. Could it be that the god of rap is overrated? OK, that was out of order, but Mr. Parker should cash in his bonds while the rates are low and chill. Go write a book, homie. 








Rakim: Was once so ahead of his time that he was elected God Emcee. Now he's one of the least anticipated. Still can write though. G. Rap: If there's no G. Rap, there's no Nasty Nas. We all thought Rawkus came to save the day'what happened? Q-Tip and/or Phife: Go do a lounge tour or something. Y'all both suck. 




To the man who knew when to quit: Props to Heavy D! 




Just as there are the shameful cases listed above, many artists care enough about their pride, fans and music to consistently produce bangers. It's amazing how these few have turned out quality for so long, some for more than a decade! 












1. Redman: How does he do it? When I first listened to Malpractice, I was disappointed. Now I'm not. Don't get me wrong, it's Red's worst album. There are too many emcees out there who wish to be able to rhyme like Reggie on a bad day, though. He's over a decade deep in the game, and I (one of the biggest Redman fans out there) can't remember one bad verse. That's not even fair. Just don't smoke yourself to death, Red, I need three more albums. 




2. Scarface: He has more than 15 years in the game, millions and millions sold, a CEO position, and more respect than can be measured. No one touches anger like 'Face, with the possible exception of Pac. If there's no Scarface, there's no South. He was the first of his kind and one of the most purely gifted. It's funny how people are giving him awards and asking for guest appearances now. 




3. The Liks: It doesn't even seem like it's been 10 years. They keep fresh rhymes with one of the best producing/rhyming deejays out there. Keep sleeping'you'll miss the whole show. One of the strongest parts of one of the strongest super crews out there. West Coast till they die. 








Mobb Deep: EPMD x 3. Outkast: Greatest Group of all time. Yeah, I said it! The Roots: Greatest show on earth! Jay-Z: The funny thing is his blueprint makes a mockery of BDPs. Even with a short career: Biggie/Pac. Self-explanatory.  








Dre, PeteRock, Primo, Timbaland, Mannie Fresh, Dangerous Music, Trackmasters, Beatminerz, Prince Paul, RZA, Blackjack, T Mix. 








Talib: Words, words, and more words. Mr. X-to-the-Z: 'Face + Alcoholic + The Old Cube = Greatness. Eminem: Writes like no one (ever).  








Heiro, DITC, Common, Cypress Hill, Digital Underground.  




There is one case with which I don't know what to do. Nasty Nas was the greatest as of 1994. He then proceeded to slowly but surely destroy that reputation. Every time I was ready to ignore Nas, though, he came up with some ridiculous underground cut(s). In '96 after It was Written, he released the underground manifesto 'Understanding' on mixtapes, not to mention the few songs he had on Clue tapes ('Firm Intro,' 'Esco 97'). Around the same time that Nas released I Am, a bootleg surfaced. This bootleg is what I Am should have been. Songs like 'Bellybutton Window,' 'Blaze a 50,' 'Papa was a Player' and the later released 'Project Window' were enough to draw attention away from I Am and the utterly terrible Nastradamus. How can someone make such bad albums relative to his potential, then turn around and circulate some of the best mixtape and songs ever heard (his recent Jay dis)? What to do? How about I put him in all of the appropriate above categories? That means he belongs in, well, all of them except for the one for producers. The fact is, though, he may be one of the three biggest fall-offs in hip-hop history: Nasty Nas, L.L. and Cube. What a shame.

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