By Jessica "Compton" Bennett
While these are the top two lists everyone’s been yapping about, several blogs decided to create their alternate lists in order to “right the wrongs.”
Also, some websites and radio stations have been putting out their individual lists that include top producers, songs of certain decades, more rappers, blah, blah, blah. While I understand that Hip-Hop is a competitive culture, and the formations of these rosters is usually seen as an innocent assessment of one’s success in the industry, here are a few reasons we might need to dead this tradition, at least for a while.
1. These lists ultimately contain the same MC’s each time, with little to no variation. We should definitely give credit where credit is due, but stroking the egos of the same five artists who already know they’re the shit seems pointless.
2. These lists encourage up and coming MC’s to compromise in order to fit the criteria used to judge them. Some skilled MC out there is thinking, “If Waka Flocka’s non-rapping ass can make top 10, then dumbing down might not be such a bad idea after all.” Now, if that MC has any sense of self, they’ll push that thought out, but for some, it’s a temptation perpetuated by these lists, as well as other forces.
3. All credentials to make the lists are considered equally important, for example, money earned is viewed as being just as important as lyrical skill, which cheapens the artfulness of Hip-Hop.
4. Many of the artists included on these lists have publicly stated that they could give a f*** about being on them anyway.
5. A good portion of Hip-Hop is never represented, yet these lists give the impression (to someone who may not know any better) that it’s a well rounded depiction of the culture.
6. The terms “MC” and “Rapper” are used interchangeably, while most Hip-Hop heads know that the two have different connotations. Creating a true “rappers” list and a “MCs” list would yield slightly different results.
7. Novice Hip-Hop fans use these lists to justify their ignorance of the culture through the professionals who are doing the rankings. The average Joe or a vet Hip-Hop journalist both have the right to their opinion. However, if your frame of reference for Hip-Hop starts in 2005, and only consists of Top 10 radio hits, don’t use the fact that Gucci Mane is on a Top 10 list to justify him being a greatest anything. Do a little research and then tell me how you feel about the game.
8. There’s always some obviously biased producer/DJ/journalist, etc. on the panel trying to move their affiliates up a slot or three.
9. Some Hip-Hop lists that include our fallen soldiers will always rank them highly out of respect and nostalgia, ignoring the fact that some of our living gods may actually be more skilled.
10. Where the hell was Fab?
Now, I’m honest enough to say that the above list could just be a symptom of my current annoyance with all the hype around these lists in their current state, and that it’s possible that I’ll catch writers block three hours before one of my deadlines and make up some bullshit list to keep me afloat. Hopefully, said list will do more good than harm, keep the culture honest and big up those who truly deserve it. But until then, in the words of MJ, This is it.