Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lil' Wayne Finally Beats Tupac As Most Overrated Rapper Of All Time

It's going on four years since Byron Crawford posted my exclusive drop where I exposed Tupac Shakur as being way overrated. At the time, mad fatherless "thug lifers" the world over commented in anger and disbelief as to how I had the cojones to blasphemously prove their rap idol false. My how things have changed. With regard to Mr. Shakur, it seems as if even the most die hard of 'Pac stans have come to their senses and have moved on. These days, one would be hard pressed to spot anyone other than short Mexican busboys wearing anything made by that horrible Makavelli Branded clothing line. Even the wigsters over at Blender felt the climate safe enough to jump on the bandwagon last year when they shamelessly bit my classic piece in claiming that 'Pac was the most overrated person in music ever. Really? No shit Sherlock.

So now we have Lil' Wayne jockeying for the spot as the Greatest Rapper Alive. And fans across the globe are actually fighting each other to the glorious death in getting their vote in to lock dude firmly in that position. I kinda blame myself for initially contributing to all this blind Weezy mania. See, back in 2005 when I was working at MTV, I gave "The Carter II" a cursory listen to and shared with some of my then co-workers how amazed I was at how Wayne had markedly improved from being in candy cane Lil Bow Wow lane to someone who finally got comfortable with the most rudimentary of skills as a rapper. You know, something along the lines as to how Jim Jones has gone from being just a weed carrying wannabe rapper to now being a former weed carrier rapper. Not that either of them are great mind you, just that they've improved to the point where at best, they're listenable, better than former hit maker Nelly and current punching bag Rick Ross, near where Memphis Bleek (maybe) and Fat Joe have been stuck at, for like ages, but nowhere near Black Thought, Wale, or even Joe Buddens.

Then again, with hip hop being so interwoven into the fabric of America's pop culture, everyone can rap. Come to think about it, even the young dude that delivers my mail occasionally spits a hot 16 as he tries to get me to listen to his demo from time to time. But back then, in the mid 1st decade of the new millenium, my dudes at MTV was like "fukouttahere" until they gave TC3 a listen to and agreed that Dwayne really stepped his game up. I even remember giving the homie Dallas a call telling him how I felt the internets was giving Wayne too much of a hard time as he was now "somewhat" decent, and waiting for him to joke me out. From there, I guess the word spread like wild fire as to how Wayne was the most improved rapper alive, a title which he then rightfully deserved.

Now I gotta hand young Mr. Carter credit. Shortly after "God MC" Jay-Z's "retirement", Dip Set dumbing New York rap down and wrecking rock star shop, the Clipse getting locked up behind label politics, Fabolous still not being able to make that classic lp, 50 morphing from under dog darling to Conan the Barbarian, Mos Def being distracted by that Hollywood money, baby momma drama and white stripper wifey ex-wifey chicks, and everyone else on the East Coast being too busy beefing with each other all arguing about who was gonna be the King of NY, solid southern hits by the likes of Mike Jones, Slim Thug, 3 6 Mafia, Young Dro and Young Jeezy began to flood, pummel, dominate and overtake the airwaves, 106 and Park and of course, the internets. It didn't help that Eminem took a much needed break, Nas was still trying to find himself after "Ether", DMX finally succumbed to his inner demons and the promising new comer Game ended up battling G-Unit for like forever.

In addition, the age old business model of the music industry began to crumble under it's own hefty weight gained by years of greed and the raping of countless talented acts, and in it's drunken and ignorant state, the shunning of the new digital age which would come back to kick it's ass viciously and with a vengeance. In it's collapse, it realized that it could only continue to survive solely by ekeing out anything sounding like it was recorded south of Washington, DC. Not that I'm shitting on all southern rap, just that it became a much depended on crutch for a severely weakened industry and thus forced down our collective throats until we all accepted it as being the proverbial cat's meow. The game became saturated with 'Lil's, Yung' and what not. I can't forget to mention that little thing where, as a result of all of us still being shell shocked after the towers' collapse which allowed a cunning George Bush to thug him and his crew into his second term, said second term further cementing into mainstream consciousness the concept of dim being way too cool. We all welcomed, and without a fight, were dragged down the rabbit hole into what I like to call the "age of ignorance".

So with all this divide, conquer, ignorance, warring egos as well as actual war, and all else being turned topsy turvy, upon realizing that he finally graduated from laughable to basic rapper status, and armed with the work ethic of a demon channeling Tupac Shakur counting his every last live moment on earth, Mr. Carter, supported by a weakened but still all controlling industry stretched, contorted and molded his much deserved "most improved" status to the point where he was able to manipulate the masses into believing his bold claim as to him being the "greatest rapper alive".

We all need our heroes, especially in the rap game. Shit, I'm a grown man and still buy comic books. We rabidly seek our rap heroes out, constantly looking for the next latest and greatest. Hip hop is the most competitive art-form known to man. We cling to our so called rap heroes like Linus to his blanket. And in the absence of an actual viable rap hero, and being bludgeoned senselessly, week after week after effin week by yet another Weezy mixtape here, a cameo there and a freestyle everywhere, intrigued by yet another rapper clothed in wierdness and rock star swagger, he claimed it and we eagerly gave it.

I am not hating. Nothing comes to those that are not prepared to put in superhuman amounts of work and we all know how much work Lil Wayne put in. His time in the game has earned him the edge to outlast most of his peers. His ability to remain relevant in a field where most rappers have a shelf life of like three to five years is extraordinary (he claims to have been an artist for 14 years). I'd argue that Kanye West even, might deserve the Greatest Rapper Alive title, solely on the fact the he's incredibly talented as a producer and has been successful in convincing me that he's also transformed from being a non rapper to a decent rapper. Especially because before Graduation, I never paid attention to him as a rapper, and Graduation made me pay attention because it was incredible and I really dug his flow. But Kanye is off somewhere with his "questionable" in vogue friends chasing his fashionista dreams and effectively expressing his emo aspirations. Hovie's back too, sometimes, and as much as he IS the Greatest Rapper Alive in my eyes and in my heart, and he's been in the game for something like 20 years now (really) it's been way too long since he's spit that murder-murder-murderous, sarcastic, sneering and cocky classic Jay shit, that shit that made me believe that he still lives up the block from me, past Nostrand Avenue and up into the smoked out, piss scented halls of Marcy. Plus, I can no longer imagine what it would sound like hearing Sean Carter spit acid on a hypnotic dense and dangerous sounding Preemo track. Get that billi though.

So kudos to Wayne. I truly wish him continued success. And a long happy and healthy life. I'm tired of seeing young brothers cut down in their prime. As much as I cringed every time he struggled to sound intelligent in his much celebrated interview with Katie Couric, the same way I cringe when a Black person of moderate education attempts to sound intelligent around white people in order to sound smarter but doesn't, Wayne came off sounding way smarter than Sarah Palin did last year. But that's because Wayne is smart and Sarah Palin is not. Or at least smarter than Sarah Palin. I give him that. So maybe that's another reason why we claim him to be the Greatest Rapper Alive. But he's really not. He's The Most Improved Rapper Alive. And somehow, these days, most improved equals greatest, but it doesn't. Tupac is finally and truly dead, may he rest in peace. Long live Lil' Wayne. I can't and will not knock his hustle. I tell you this though, I faithfully await the day, maybe three to four years down, when even the most die hard of Weezy stans come to their senses and have moved on, when no one but short Mexican busboys rock tee shirts with Weezie's painted on image and wigsters in mainstream media will feel the climate safe enough to jump on the bandwagon and shamelessly bite this post.


  1. nice piece but....learn2paragraph

  2. Also, if I may comment on your B.C post here; Tupac has never been one of my favorite rappers, and I pretty much agree that he was never a strong lyricist, but his music meant a lot to a lot of people. To them, tupac's albums are timeless classics, so it's like all subjective, right?

  3. Damn son. This is exactly how I feel but I couldn't express it in words properly. For real, Wayne is the worst. Every time I tell my cousin that, he always says "well he's better than he used to be." He's still ass though.

    Oh and cosign with dronkmunk. You write some really interesting shit but break it up some. When it's all together, it makes it hard to read. Dope drop though.

  4. Oh whoops, my bad. I was reading this in RSS and it looked like it was all together.

  5. ^ Lol. Thanx. And it WAS on some long ass paragraph format, just took dronkmunk's advice and chopped it up. CJ accepts ALL criticism, NO haters!

  6. In internets time wigsters should be biting this joint by June

  7. who is the greatest rapper alive now if not Wayne? im far from a stan and i prefer curren$y but the whole not havin a album thing is hurtin any arguments for him so lets entertain who you did mention

    go listen to joe buddens last cd and honestly tell me its better then any of the carters...his club songs which he constantly try and make suck since that pump it up

    cant say kanye should be greatest rapper alive and include producing in the argument because producing is producing and rapping is rapping...

    jay z's last three albums < Wayne's last three

    and can somebody give me a verse or song that would make me believe that wale is the it guy yall all want him to be...i think i missed something

    i think there is just so much wayne material out there most you could argue on both sides of the fence...but in all honestly the official mixtapes are classics as well as the carter series...

  8. Um. Jay. In my opinion of course.

    Jay's catalogue > Wayne's catalogue

    But then again, I hate that whole Greatest Rapper Alive thingie anyway. Once you make it to top, the shots start coming for that ass.

    And what's yer name anyway?

  9. CJack, ur 100% correct at putting Lil Wang at the Fat Joe/Memphis Bleek level.

    Lil Wang claiming "best rapper alive" is as absurd as Stephon Marbury claiming "best basketball guard alive". 45-yr old/basketball GOAT Michael Jordan could still school mediocre Marbury. Like u say, legends like Black Thought & Joe Camel would pwn Wang in their sleep. Even new jacks like Termanology or Joel Ortiz are far superior to Wang.

  10. Greatest Rapper Alive is, quite obviously, Eli Porter: quite simply, he has done more than many with far, far less than most.

  11. really tho can someone give me a link to one good wale song...

  12. i'm a DJ down here in the wayyyyyyyyyyyyy down south and have been having this convo with friends and whoever the fuck wants to listen for a while now. i think he's garbage and the opposite argument is Wayne's the G.O.A.T.

    now being a long term Hip-Hop head (Golden Age - ), i've been brought up on "Most Improved" not meaning a GD thing. mediocre emcees get pumped to the side so the God's can have the mic. from KRS to Rakim to Nas to B.I.G. to Jay you could actually see/hear/smell why these guys were known as Greats.

    i could agree with you for 30 pages but i'll leave it like this.

    i was talking with a kid the other day on why music is so fucked right now. after listening to him bullshit me with i'm too old to get it (mid 20's is old now), i ethered him with this. 10 years ago the best rapper(s) were Jay-Z & Nas and the best vocalist was Mary J. Now the best rappers are Lil' Wayne & Kanye and the best vocalist is Rihanna.

    fucking diluted.

  13. Word, wayne is Wack! done.

  14. I am a regular reader of DP's blog. He directed me to yours and I'm going to read yours regularly too. I definitely enjoyed this drop[!!] but I would have liked it if you had gone into more depth[!!] about the single most relevant(right now, I believe) similarity between 2pac and Wayne, specifically their fabricated personas, and how 2pac's influence is largely responsible for the emergence of what I call the sideshow, which refers to rappers that try to get attention by doing just about anything...besides actually rapping.

  15. What's good man,

    Enjoyed the hell out of the article (and the site in general). On a somewhat completely unrelated note, I'm fuckin geeked for Watchmen too. You see they are putting out "Tales of the Black Freighter" on it's own DVD with "Under the Hood"?

    Now to the topic at hand... maybe I'm crazy (but what does a psychiatrist know, really), but I really don't get why people are so insistent on calling 2Pac overrated? I think to put him in the top 5, or very least, top 10 of MCs isn't too big a stretch. Dude had lyrics on almost every subject you can think of, from street shit to real life emotional shit. And as far as I can tell, dude was crazy enough to step to cats and go party in the hood with some grimy mothafuckas, and then flip it and go read and actually try and get some knowledge and impart it onto others. He could spit about worrying about people trying to kill his ass, bout supporting his family, bout wondering what his legacy would be, and my personal feeling is there was something in his voice that made you recognize that in regards to ALL these various topics what he felt and what he was saying was true (or at least he believed it was true). Apparently he had a work ethic that LW has picked up and ran with. And think about how many hits dude had?

    I guess I just really don't understand it. I'm not gonna sit here and say he was the GOAT because I don't believe that's true, but can someone hip me to this trend of calling him overrated?

  16. "Then again, with hip hop being so interwoven into the fabric of America's pop culture, everyone can rap."

    Exactly... I mean seriously - Joaquin Phoenix is now getting press for his "rap project" HRUMPH.

    I agree with P-Matic. Well put here CJ. I don't hate Wayne but he is hella overrated. You conveyed the headscratching your average Golden Ager feels about Weezy. However I will give props that dude is about his music and wanting to perfect his "craft" (at least it seems that way).

  17. ^ Moses, I'ma have to bite that "sideshow" rapper term.

    ^^ Anon, no doubt 'Pac covered a wide spectrum of subject matter, but technically his flow was decent. I still bang some of his shit every now and then. Tupac had charisma by the bundles, and because he was mentally imbalanced, I think that added to his star quality. He definitely had the makings of an icon. And he most def put mad emotion in his music. But with his declining army of thug lifers claiming he was the best lyricist since sliced bread, naw.

    And the promo they have behind "Watchmen" including the xtra DVD is nothing less than awesome!

  18. CJ,

    Ahhh, I got you. Thanks for actually taking the time to explain/back up your words with a sensible, well-thought out statement - most cats out there get so pissy about someone asking about a counter-viewpoint, especially in this here rap game.

    Keep up the good work!

  19. Too bad we didn't have the same conversation about Wayne we did about Pac eons ago.. Could have saved the world from this bullshit.
    I will say this though.. Wayne is and will forever be far from the GOAT, but he is the rap cat's meow right now. There's nothing anyone can do to take that away except step up and take it away.

  20. Great Post...Spot on,Chap...

  21. Nicely prosecuted CJ, I've been feeling that way about Wayne for years. The top spot is there for those that lay claim to it, and put that work in to convince (bluff) enough people that the suit fits. It happened with The Rolling Stones, U2, Coldplay, 50, and now Wayne.

    These ain't even close to the greatest in their field, but you could never knock any of them for being lazy with their talent.

  22. Thank You CJ. I'm glad someone said it. I'm tired of this Lil' Wayne is brilliant bandwagon getting hella overloaded with deaf ears.

  23. He's way ahead of Bleek and Fat Joe and I think you know that, but yes, he is overrated.

  24. wayne is certanly overrated and tupac was also overrated. However, don't u think if u take tupac's 5 albums from when he was alive, overrated or not, he was a good rapper? One of the top 100 rappers of all time at least?

    With wayne, tha carters were ok, but nowhere near where they would need to be for him to be one of the best...

  25. I feel ya...been saying the same about Pac and Weezy for years now...

    good article

  26. This post was dope. Well said, about Pac and Wayne.

    So glad you have your own blog (). Keep doing it ().

  27. WTF dude don't ever mention wayne with pac again. Tupac had his own style more like an emo style to his rap. The guy focused on emotional tracks which hit ppl something no other rapper to this day can consistently do. still laughing at this title

  28. Okay, first I have to say, I do like Tupac, as a musician. But still I have to agree with you when it comes to his first Albums until All Eyez on Me actually. If you look at them only as a "Album" , they're really not that good. When I first listened to 2pacalypse now, I was very disappointed. In a whole, the album was bad. You could pick out single songs, that were good, and that I still like to listen to, but I just can't listen to the whole Album. Same with Strictly... . Some songs are awesome, but others just ruin the album. And I also agree with what you said about the "weed carriers". Especially on songs like Hail Mary, I ask myself "WHY?!" . Sometimes they fit in the song, but most of the time, they ruin it. Especially the Outlawz have nearly always been a real pain in the ass.... terrible.
    But all in all I still think, as much as overrated Pac may be, you still underestimate him in some points.
    His Albums weren't all that great (except Makaveli(...) ) but he made a lot of great songs.

    by the way.... what's up with all this "no homo" stuff?
    It gets a little annoying to read it permanently. Really not necessary at all ;)

  29. sorry... my previous post was meant to be at the "Tupac Shakur Is Way Overrated" article.

  30. Being from the west coast, I'd have to say Ice Cube is the GRA. Cube is a mix of Chuck D and and Biggie: socially relevant, hard-hitting, and clever.

    I agree Wayne is WAYYYY overrated. He may not sell as much now, but Juve held up Cash Money with Manny Fresh and is still putting out quality.

  31. PAC never called himself the greatest alive unlike Lil Wayne..Pac was never the best LYRICIST but as an artist as a whole it has to go to PAC.I dunno who was alive while PAC was here but he was the most popular/controversial/talked about rapper WHEN HE WAS ALIVE AND I'M FROM NEW YORK.The reason i love Pac is,i feel like i knew the nigga..he put himself out there,i know niggas from Queens who used to see Pac all the time at the hood parties back in 93/94..niggas cud jus walk up to him n give him a pound.Jay,Nas n 50 act as if they're too big too acknowledge a nigga..P.S nobody ever wore that mackavelli shit cos it was'nt Pac who brought it out.R.I.P 2PAC...HARLEM WORLD