Part of the territory of being an artist and putting yourself in the lime-light is having to deal with the constant scrutiny of the public. In the age of the internet, its nearly impossible to hide even the slightest mishaps and there seems to be no shortage of trolls ready to maximize any instant “for teh lulz”… let’s face it; it’s not just easy to shit on celebrities, it’s fun too!
One in a while, though, we get so caught up in the negativity that we forget why we fell in love with these artists in the first place. Let’s break down a few of our favorites and figure out why we love/hate them so much:
I couldn’t help but put Drake at number one. Let us count the ways in which Drake is a bitch:
1. He ****ing played a handicapped kid aka “Wheelchair Jimmy” on the Nickelodeon Canadian teen drama, Degrassi. He is, as far as we know, not actually handicapped.
2. Just let that first one soak in– that’s the kind of thing that should haunt your career forever.
4. He’s started that “YOLO” thing which is about as basic as basic gets. “All Men Must Die” *****, THAT’S the motto.
6. Justin Beiber writes more masculine lyrics (he’s also just generally a more bad-ass Canadian):
Hey girl, do you want my number
That way you can call me
Every time I come into town
And then I will drive up to your house and
Take you out to dinner
I don’t expect nothing at all…
Hey girl, I’m back in Atlanta
Seconds dates are lovely
This time you should choose where we go
Need suggestions, how about the movies
Then we go for ice cream
I’m not picky, you let me know
– Slow Down by Drake
God dammit, his hits are ****ing catchy. All you have to do is say “no new friends” and that shit will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Not to mention that his production is frequently spot on… leading to some pretty inspired remixes (that Carmack version of trophies is the business). Through all the hate, Drake is still coming up with relevant, good tracks that are making their way to the mainstream (0 to 100 is getting some heavy rotation right now)… even if it means churning out a few of the worst, cheesiest ‘rap songs’ of all time. Nobody cares about albums anymore anyway, right? Truth be told, I spend my Wednesdays and Sundays straight Drakin’ and I know I’m not the only one. Shit is real.
He beat the **** out of Rihanna.
Man, as ****ed up as he is to hit a woman (let alone his girlfriend), everybody loves a comeback. He reconciled with Rihanna and just finished serving his sentence in addition to releasing Loyal which I can’t get enough of. I mean, yes, I think its ironic Chris Brown would be singing about the loyalty of women (it helps if you don’t smack ’em around Chrissy) but hey, I’m a ****ing blog-writing, electronic music-loving hipster. Irony is like, a nutritional vitamin for me or something. Plus they show the video on City Walk! The nostalgia factor is high.
Kanye has definitely given critics plenty of ammunition to use against him… from stealing Taylor Swift’s big VMA moment to having beef with Jimmy Kimmel over the portrayal of one of his ridiculous interviews to marrying Kim Kardashian who became famous when her mother brutally and publicly castrated the late great American hero Bruce Jenner. His track New Slaves is the real-life equivalent to the song African Child from Get Him to The Greek and I mean literally, it’s like he watched that movie, heard that song and was like “how do I make a Kanye version of this? I know, I’ll rap about racism in consumerism and then perpetuate that by charging black teenagers $300 for a poorly proportioned, plain-white t-shirt. I am the voice of a generation.”
When he shuts the **** up about what he thinks about art and society as a whole, his music is undeniably special. Graduation will forever hold a spot in the great halls of Hip Hop and without a doubt, college classes will be taught focusing on the life and work of Kanye West. One has to respect Kanye’s humble beginings… he genuinely came up as a result of his own hustle without the help of anyone else and in a way, his determination to be a legend is a self-fulfilling prophecy… besides, I’m sure Kim will
suck the life out of him like her mom did to Bruce calm him down after a few years. (Anyone else notice this Rap Game of Thrones going on between House West and House Z… some day, one of their offspring will rule the Seven Demographics.)
You have to actively not give a **** to become great… and in that arena, there is no greater:
Wacka Flocka Flame
He’s been quoted as saying “I’m not into being lyrical” and some of the shit he says really is just dumb as ****. To make things worse, his Mom is his manager, he looks like a cartoon character and his name is based off the catchphrase of unsuccessful Muppet comedian Fozzie Bear.
Hard in The Paint was the anthem when it came out and there’s no doubt that Mr. Flocka Flame is far more intelligent and thoughtful than he likes to let on. In his interview with MTV he goes on to explain that he doesn’t feel like lyrics are as important in his music because the nature of his releases — mixtapes — are meant to hype up the crowd. He decided that when the music is distilled, the lyrics serve more of an instrumental function than a method of conveying a message… and he’s done tremendously well. In his own way, Waka Flocka Flame is one of the boldest rappers in the mainstream today. Plus, there is no rapper trying harder to make moves with Disney starlets… we all want to see that.
Like many people, I was first exposed to Riff Raff through the show G’s to Gents where, even among the most hardcore wangsters, he stood out as the most red-neck, full-on RATCHET cast member. In all honesty, that was probably the big break that would boost his music career… and its documented forever, thanks to the magic of digital media:
Those ****ing ***holes wangsters did Riffy SO DIRTY! They were clearly jealous of his unique style and his blatant DGAF attitude… they knew those were the traits of a Champion– so they voted him off quick. It only takes a little bit of time with Riff Raff to realize the dude is 100% authentic and if you can get past his look, his rhymes are pretty catchy and its easy to appreciate an artist who’s both passionate about their music and not-too-serious about themselves. Maybe that’s why Mad Decent picked him up and released his most recent Neon Icon album.
While we may crack jokes and make memes at their expense, its important to keep everything in context and remember that at our cores, we really LOVE these artists… their weaknesses make them seem even more real and personally, I find that the complex nature of the relationship I have with each artist sort of validates exactly how good their music is. Like when you hear a song the first time and you hate it… then after a few listens, you can’t get it out of your head. Its an extraordinary and unique experience. the only parallel situation I can think of is acquired taste– many of the most gourmet foods have flavors that are initially unpleasant until the taste has been “acquired.” What is it about gradually learning to like something that makes it so much more enjoyable than things you prefer right off the bat? I’ll have to ask a Neuroscientist the next opportunity I get on Reddit.
To quote the great Winston Churchill:
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Pitbull: Because saying “dale” while drinking bud light feels ****ing great. Try it! Bonus points if you have a white suit. The man is a modern Spudz MacKenzie, can’t hate that. (Bull terrier… Pitbull… I see you Inbev).
Rick Ross: Because most people don’t realize how bought and sold the music industry actually is (especially Hip Hop) and he’s just out here saying shit all cool (bawse) and letting his titties hang out. You do you Ricky. Haters gon’ hate.
Gucci Mane: Because you’re the realest of them all and you’re just getting ****ed all over the place. I don’t know what it is about you that pisses everyone off but it seems obvious to me that you (like Justin Beiber) really should have hired a “minder” or someone to keep your shit in order and keep you out of jail. Maybe then you wouldn’t have all these burning bridges… I don’t know why labels don’t suggest this kind of shit when they put up the advance. (jokes, I know exactly why: once that advance is paid you’re dead until you produce a hit record) Hit us up Gucci, we fux with you.
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