Recently, there has been a list floating around the internet which ranks some of Hip Hop’s best artists. I have zero idea about where this list originated. All I know it that I saw it on a Hot97 post on Instagram this morning and spent way too much time overanalyzing it. The mastermind behind this list decided to break down his or her rankings in terms of tiers, and I love it. Let’s see where he or she was right, wrong or completely out of their mind. Check out the list below:
Tier 1: The Elite – No complaints here. The Drake selection may ruffle some feathers amongst some older heads. Still, the man has hits which will be played long after he is gone. K.Dot, no explanation needed. In a market which craves mindless, rhythmic beats without meaningful lyrical content, Cole and Chance have found a way to please all demographics.
Tier 2: Talented But Not Elite – Absolutely no problems with this list. Big Sean is the most underrated artist in this list but still deserves to be there. Gambino just put out a great album but the ability to crossover is a criteria for being considered elite. Not sure if Gambino has done that yet. Also, if you want to boot Wale from this list, go ahead.
Tier 3: Legends Past Their Prime – Okay, here is where we get into some trouble. Who considers Twista a legend? He is more like a nostalgic novelty for a specific demographic who came of age while he was putting out Overnight Celebrity. My three exceptions to this list: Jay, 50 and Wayne. 50 has publicly expressed why he has not put out a typical 50 album in a while. Simply put, the market right now is not receptive to his type of music. Artists like him (Jay, Nas, Wayne, Kiss) are biding their time until this microwave hit phase fades out. And it will. Do not bet against Jay, Weezy and 50 having one more classic left in them. Well, at least Hov and 50. Okay…at least Hov. The market just needs to take a turn in their direction.
Tier 4: Underrated – How in the world is Joey Bad not in the “talented but not elite” category? His debut mixtape is better than anything ever put out by anyone in that category. Plus the guy is like 13 or something. Cyhi and Dom Kennedy have faded for a reason. Nipsey is a legend In LA. During my one visit there I heard locals bumping him all day, love him in this category. Also, Dave East won’t be in this category for long. While we’re at it, let’s bump Logic up to the “talented but not elite” section. He is just as creative as anyone there and showed some crossover potential.
Tier 5: Overrated – Wow. Some egregious mistakes. If you want to throw Meek, B.O.B and the ASAPs in here, fine. But The Game? Dej Loaf? Young MA? Ew. The Game is not as hyped as he once was, but his recent music is on par with his past catalogue. Just because the current scene does not bump your hits does not mean you are overrated. Dej has put out some fire mixtapes and her best years are still light-years away. As much as I love Joey Bad, he has decided to grow out his hair instead of continue the New York revival. Look for Young MA to pick up where he left off.
Tier 6: Overhyped Legends – In what world is OJ Da Juiceman a legend? Anyways, Jeezy being here is a travesty. If you think he’s overhyped I will start to question how much you know about the genre. You don’t get to do features with Jay, Kanye, Cole and everybody else without having some serious talent. Oh, and I promised myself I would not let myself go on a tirade about Boosie’s cultural impact on his Louisiana community.
The one person who should belong on this list and isn’t: Mr. West. You can make a case that his catalogue has gotten worse since he dropped his debut album. Take away the shoes, the wife, the rants, the Trump meeting. In essence, take away everything that hypes him up. Look at his recent body of music then compare it to his entire career. You’ll see the light, trust me.
Tier 7: Trash – Macklemore and Ty are legit artists. You may not like their music, but it is actually music. The other artists on this list make something else entirely and I’m not sure what to call it. I considered discussing French and writing that he was talented. Except he’s not. People like him, not his music. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Dude, can’t wait for that new French to come out!”FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD