6 Rappers That Have Weathered the Storm

T.I.
While the hip-hop world impatiently awaits his seventh LP, King Uncaged, T.I. is most likely just happy to still be here. On March 26 of this year, Tip was released from prison after serving a yearlong sentence for federal weapons charges. The road to jail began in May 2006, when the Atlanta rap star’s childhood friend, Philant Johnson, was shot to death after a concert in Cincinnati, Ohio. As if his demeanor wasn’t damaged enough following that tragedy, T.I. crossed paths with authorities again in October 2007, when federal ATF agents raided Tip’s home and seized an arsenal of firearms. Being that he was a previously convicted felon, T.I. couldn’t legally possess guns; jailtime was imminent, but he and his team used the promise of community service and public speaking engagements to shorten his behind-bars stay. As part of his preach-positivity campaign, Tip recorded a PSA commercial for local ATL television in which he encouraged witnesses to not remain quiet—charges of “snitching” soon hit him. Those insults, coupled with questions of whether jail had cooled off the self-proclaimed King of the South’s popularity or not. Yet, as this weekend’s box office numbers show (Takers, starring and produced by T.I., earned over $20 million), he’s back on top.

CAGE
On the low, underground lyricist Cage has battled through some of the darkest forces that hip-hop has ever known. During his teenage years, Cage was kicked out of high school and suffered beatings at his father’s hands, which led to drug abuse and alcohol consumption. To avoid jail time for her son, his mother convinced a judge to have Cage sent to the Stoney Lodge psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for 18 months. There, he attempted suicide several times. Rather than completely succumb to his troubled past, however, Cage has since aired out his demons through his music. Though his music is often, if not always, dark in tone, Cage remains a survivor.

  • Sha

    Overcoming adversity…… I don’t know about this article. “Overcoming Adversity” and hip-hop are kind of synonymous isn’t it? The very nature of an MC is to battle and become the best (i.e. adversity). But I have my top 5 cats.

    Eminem: But I don’t think Eminem’s primary adversity was drugs. To him, yeah that would be correct. But to a hip-hop fan, I think his color would be the bigger adversary. And for the most part, he’s overcome it.

    Nas: His biggest adversary has been “Illmatic”. Some people would say his wife, but that is some temporary pocket change issues when you have a catalog that is as deep as his. Illmatic crushed (and continues to crush) every hip-hop album ever made. He hasn’t overcome it.

    Dr. Dre: His biggest adversity was none other than SUGE “Dumbest nigga on earth” Knight. Dre has overcome it. But Suge hasn’t.

    D.O.C.: That windshield did some hellafied damage to one of the most gifted MCs in history. And unfortunately, D.O.C. lost…

    PAC & BIG: [ See boondocks for NIGGA MOMENTS ]

    Eric B: For not keeping your DJ skills tight and not doing more production work for other people, his career ended when Rakim bounced. His adversity was himself.

    • kedordu

      DOC WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN PUTTING TOGETHER CHRONIC , DOGGY STYLE , DOGGFOOD ,2001 AND HE WILL BE ALL OVER DETOX . HE IS THE GOAT GHOST WRITTER IN HIPHOP HISTORY AND POSSIBLY TOP 10 IN MUSIC . HE AINT LOST FOR SHIT

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Cage……….by far

  • Anonymous

    pfff who the fuck is cage??

    gotta be dre whoe death row ere alone is noteworthy the on top of that you got his son’s death his brothers death,jerry heller n all that mess…losing eazy e n pac aswell

  • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

    @SHA
    Nas: His biggest adversary has been “Illmatic”. Some people would say his wife, but that is some temporary pocket change issues when you have a catalog that is as deep as his. Illmatic crushed (and continues to crush) every hip-hop album ever made. He hasn’t overcome it.

    Thats a matter of opinion, Nas is definitely one of the best to do it, but I personally cant say it was the best hip hop album ever made let alone say its crushing everything since then, when there have been far better albums in my eyes. Before and after.

    • hmmmm

      I thought it was pretty much unanimous across the hip-hop world that Illmatic is the best album ever, with its only close competition being Paid In Full.

      • ummmmm no

        Not across any board I have been paying any attention to for all these years. Classic album, yes, ill album yes…best album no.Besides who the hell says one person can decide what all of hip hop agrees to. I think there needs to b a poll on it then you will come out disappointed Im sure.

        • Dinero

          @dummmmmmmm no
          Not really… And u should only be able to vote if ur part of the hip hop community, meaning ur not jus some dumb ass listner who thinks soulja boy is better than murs or anybody for that matter… and o yea, u must have the english comprehension level of at least 12th grade or have some type of intellect or logic…. Other than that, if u ask ur favorite atrists watt tha best hip hop album is, I gaurantee tha most respected and biggest names will say “Illmatic”

    • Dinero

      @Nap
      It is a matter of opinion so why question it… Let alone, I, as well as others (including other greats, including Jay-Z), believe that Illmatic is the best “album” ever let alone what it means to Hip Hop… Battle rap/swag rap/lyrical shit/etc.. wouldnt be watt it is, with out Nas. Prior to that, as long as the last word of each bar rhymed it was good, verses Nas introducing were filled with rhyme schemes which makes shit come off nicer… A style that Jay-Z stole or borrowed (Jazz-O taught him how to rhyme differently, typically fast) for Reasonale Doubt… All in all, this album does shit on every album, but there are albums that deserve discussion even though they dont compare…. But I feel u though, to each is own….

      • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

        I like Nas I guess that part of my comment must have went over some peoples heads.In my eyes that album is not the best ever and no its not shittin on everything. A legendary album yes but not my top ten. Top 20 yes, top ten no. Like you said to each his own.
        Quit ridin the mans nuts so hard, he didnt create swag, battle rappin or lyrical shit, it was all done before him and some times better.He was just one of the better mc’s to do it in his era.But to say it wouldnt be what it was without him is blasphemy and a discredit to the originators before him which he owes his whole career too.People are quick to forget the god mc himself found him.

    • kedordu

      ILLMATIC IS NOT THE BEST HIPHOP ALBUM EVER MADE. PAID IN FULL , IT TAKES A MIL TO HOLD US BACK , CHRONIC , DOGGYSTYLE,MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL,BLUEPRINT ,LOST TAPES TOME WERE BETTER.

  • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

    SHA
    Definitely co sign al the rest of what you commented on though.

  • W. J. Rice

    Eminem and Cage have overcome the most if you go back throughout their histories. But Cage’s was a bit worse since he spent time in a mental ward, his pops use to make tie off his arm so he could inject drugs. That alone is far more damaging than Eminem’s life story.

  • Lowedwn

    I like what y’all were trying to do with this post, but it was half assed.

    What about Em’s color, his uncle Ronnie dying or the shit with Kim as well? Dre lost his brother to violence early on in his career than his son just a few years ago to an overdose, had a good friend in the D.O.C. whose vocal chords were damaged in a car accident. Kanye, car accident, his mother’s death, split of the founders of his label.

    Could’ve thrown Bun B on there as well. Take the song “The Story” he did, then add on that Pimp died and he just hit us with a ill album. Definitely triumph in the face of adversity.

    I agree with Sha’s abstract nomination though. Seriously, what harder adversity as an artist at least, than to craft what is considered the greatest Hip-Hop album as a teenager and have it’s impact and prestige only grow each subsequent year.

  • Diciple

    Ya’ll worship white people don’t ya?

    • W. J. Rice

      Hardly. But if you’ve been following any of these guys, Eminem and Cage have the most fucked up pasts. T.I. wasn’t fucked up. He said it himself. Kanye was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Dr Dre had nothing of note happen to him in his childhood. No jail record. Rick Ross had an average low income up bringing.

      Cage was in a mental institute nigga. Tried to committ suicide. Had to help his Dad administer hard drugs when he was a pre-teen.

      Em is the most confused individual when it comes to his identity and almost succeeded in committing suicide.

    • early cuyler

      damn chalky lovers

  • bullets

    THIS SHIT WAS STUPID THE ARTICLE DOESNT EVEN MAKE SENSE DR. DRE AINT NO FUKIN RAPPER AND HAS HE REALLY WEATHERED OR WITHERED THE ONLY PEOPLE UP THERE THAT HAS SURVIVED ANYTHING ARE EMINEM AND RICK ROSS …….EMINEM HAS MANAGED TO SELL RECORDS AFTER A LENGTHY CAREER WICH IDK HOW MUCH THAT COUNTS FOR ANYTHING WHEN GARBAGE NIGAS LIKE LIL WAYNE AND DRAKE SELL AlSLO I THINK BLUEPRINT 3 IS LIKE 2XPLATINUM SO MAYBE IM WRONG ABOUT EM TOO AND ROSS DEFINITELY SURVIVED THAT CHARACTER ASSASSINATION BECAUSE HE IS STILL RELEVANT AS FAR AS THE INDUSTRY IS CONCERNED THAT CAGE DUDE ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????YEAH NEVER HEARD OF HIM…….

  • Q461

    I agree with those listed, em and nas for other reasons besides what was given though.

    I would say 50 cent deserves to be on this list as well as Drake and Dame Dash. Bun B too.

    Cats who lost in the face of adversity: Foxy and DMX

  • Southcidal

    Who the phuck is Cage? Are yall serious? Is this dude one yall cousin? And whethered a storm? Man I see now that yall are looking for every way that yall can find to give Eminem props. LMAO. What storm did he whether the Mariah Carey beef? LMBAO!! Oh, you’re talking about the storm of mediorcre albums which led him to drug abuse. You know what? This article just led me to stop phucking with XXL all together. LAME.

  • i dont get the hate

    Ross should be the one up there who’s gone through the most adversity if we’re sticking to the facts and people that the article presented. Come on now, some people would just stop rapping after shit like that. He kept going and managed to get bigger than ever. I swear all the hate is just proof to that.

    some of the comments here make sense though. Makes me wonder who’s writing these XXL articles. Take some time and put all the info on these rappers before you present the article out here to the public. Ain’t no rush

  • Ernest

    Cage??? I though it was Enrique Iglesias LOL!

  • El Tico Loco

    SMH to those that don’t know who Cage is. At least Youtube and google it before you run ya’ll mouths.

    • 92FS

      Word!

  • hejsa

    Cage is a better lyricist than most rappers out now, just because he’s not mainstream as the others doesn’t mean he’s wack. He’s crazy.

  • Face Phoenix

    I was surprised the name Cage popped up on this countdown since this site mainly caters to mainstream audiences [don't even try to say you don't]. I heard him through some free downloads on Amazon and eMusic. He is probably one of the few artists I heard about where the buzz behind the name is actually worth a listen [him, Guilty Simpson & Blu]. It’s a refreshing change to the usual Triple B’s – Blunts, Bucks & Broads.

  • NewYork

    I would have to say EM,him being white trash,his father that left him,the fucked up mother he`s got,the loss of his best friend and years of badly drug use that should have killed him.But salute to everyone of them,for being alive and well today.

  • BULLETS

    This article is just letting me see very clearly that the XXL has fallen off your becoming that commercial corny mag like the source did get off Eminems dick he’s the most successful battle rapper you happy I gave him a title….Lets be honest Marshall mathers lp and Eminem show are his only good lp’s and a few good songs here and there in between…Rick ross the only nigga up there that survived anything and it wasnt no life or death shit who cares if EM was on drugs thats why we liked him DUH!!! and who the fuk is cage did yall make him up do people get to pay for sooped up articles now cause i listen to underground rap heavy never ever heard a that boy…….

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    all are good examples of overcoming. I mean these dudes for the most part overcame some real life issues.

    As for EM. dude is the great white hype to the fullest. I mean he is the over hyped mc eva.

    I like the nas addition BUT to me IT WAS WRITTEN might be his best album. Illmatic is dope based on the time it came out and how it changed the game. it was written is just as dope and more creative.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    all are good examples of overcoming. I mean these dudes for the most part overcame some real life issues.

    As for EM. dude is the great white hype to the fullest. I mean he is the over hyped mc eva.

    I like the nas addition BUT to me IT WAS WRITTEN might be his best album. Illmatic is dope based on the time it came out and how it changed the game. it was written is just as dope and more creative. don’t get caught up in the media.

  • Simple like ABC, 123

    Bawse!!! but Eminem wins

  • http://facebook.com/kasperi.laine Kasperi Laine (FIN)

    IMO – Eminem. Participating overseas, he was THE first caucasian rapper who actually made the mainstream accept a light-skin man doesn’t lack any ability an excellent rapper needs. Just listen to Cinderella Man, man!

  • Clever

    I say Cage. Plus his writings are real. But, Dark. but so real.

    • Clever

      I must say he’s ill!

  • Capo

    XXL continues to post the most weak shit ever.. who the fuck is Cage?????? Is that fool even relevant???? Ross didnt overcome any adversity, that fat mother fucker lied!(not takin anything away from his music or lyrical ability).. what about someone like wayne? Who stayed down with crooked ass baby and went through hell and high waters to make it to the top of the game? What about Trae from H town who music is banned from radio in houston and that nigga still out there grindin! Only person worthy of bein on the list is Em!

  • tommy gunz

    cant fuckin believe xxl mentioned cage

    about gotdamn time

    depart from me is one of the most original and unique albums in recent memory

    • W. J. Rice

      Depart from Me is coo but I think Hell’z Winter is bananas. That was the last time he was spittin like a “street” MC.

  • gaddic

    Cage had it worst by far
    Em became a rich spoiled cry-baby
    Who doesn’t have baby-mama drama and who doesn’t lose a best friend/close relative to death?
    Yeah His upbringing was shit but compared to Chris palko he had it easy

    Depart from me was okay
    Hellz winter is by far his best albumn
    Movies for the Blind is way more lethal than any acid rap cd

  • The_Truth

    Say what you want, but you HAVE to acknowledge Soulja Boy. . .

    Dude has been the poster child of the demise of rap and he continues to gain momentum–how can you deny that??

  • that nigga

    currensy should be up there

  • GIFT

    SHIT ICE CUBE SHOULD BE ON THAT LIST IF THEY GOT DRE ON THERE. ALSO, WHAT ABOUT BALL N MJG. THEM NIGGAS BEEN SWITCHIN LABELS, DEALT WIT BULLSHIT DIDDY AND ALL. OTHERWISE PRETTY DECENT LIST, i GOTTA CHECK OUT CAGE, NEVER REALLY HEARD TOO MUCH ABOUT HIM, BUT JUDGING FROM THE COMMENTS, DUDE GOT SOME HEAT

    • W. J. Rice

      If I were you I would go for Movies for the Blind and Hell’z Winter then move onto Weathermen and then after all that listen to Depart of Me which is far different than those records.

      If you can listen to one song, listen to Agent Orange

  • gift

    @w.j. Rice

    that’s wutz up bro. Will definitely do that. always looking for good new shit

  • Ay To Z

    Shit maybe I should find some Cage songs bc with a story like that hed def have something to say

    How can you compare Rick Ross being a cop and Kanyes Moment to shit like what Cage went through?

  • sway-z

    If we’re talking strictly industry problems, then the list is pretty on point, but if we’re talking real life none of these niggas been through more than 50.

    I doubt anybody would continue to rap after getting shot behind it, especially considering the nigga that did the shooting. Plus he got dropped from the label. After all that not only did 50 come back, he came back talking shit. Hate it or love it, the underdog was on top, at least for awhile….

  • TonyStakz!!!

    CAGE?? HUH?!!….YO WHOS THIS??!…

  • ClaireJ

    WHAT THE FUCK???!
    WHY ON EARTH ARE DUDES LIKE KANYE WEST AND RICK ROSS ON THE LIST.
    FUCKKKK. THOSE DUDES DESERVE WHAT THEY GOT. WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE ASS KISSING A FAKER LIKE RICK ROSS?

    THE LIST SHOULD BE:
    1 CAGE
    2. EMINEM

    I DONT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT OTHER GUYS WHO GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED.

  • ClaireJ

    yeah 50 cent could be there too, i guess.

  • Geoffrey

    Hello ! What is the mark of the leather jacket to carry by eminem !??? PLEASE

  • thisperson22

    Cage has definitely been through a lot more than any of these guys.