The Holy Trinity In Hip-Hop Is Us

2004_fade_to_black_002.jpgApparently every DJ that moonlights as a columnist at is on crack(a). For the past couple of days, DJ “Never Heard We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2” Drama and his boss at Atlantic Records, Sickamore have been making SOHH-worthy comments about T.I., Young Jeezy and Lil’ Wayne being the new incarnations of Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G. and Nas(b).

Now, there are many things wrong with these comparisons, most notably the lack of a Damon Dash-like character with his own dance(c). And I’m not going to take anything away from the King, da Snowman or Birdman Jr in the name of making my argument. I rather enjoy their music. And I enjoy the semi-legal collections of tunes they put out with the help of men such as Drama(d) and Sickamore, the latter being the young man who has brought the greatness that is Sky Balla to soccer moms everywhere(e). But—the Dame Dash thing notwithstanding—there’s a glaring oversight in the metaphor(f).

One of the things that makes Big, Jay and Nas who they are is the fact that these men dropped bunkerbuster debuts that made everything in their blast radius get down or lay down. Ready to Die, Reasonable Doubt and Illmatic created watershed moments in hip-hop that many artists aspire to recapture. To ignore this part of the legend is to not get it.

Thug Motivation 101? Maybe. I’m Serious and Tha Block Is Hot? I think not.

Wayne and T.I. are artists whom we’ve seen grow and mature, but it’s taken them a few years to get to their current status—Tha Carter and Trap Muzik (or Urban Legend or King, depending upon whom you ask). Our Gods emerged fully formed and that, children, is integral to their greatness.

It’s funny to me that these young whippersnappers say that us grown hip-hoppers won’t let the past go, yet they can only measure their greatness by what we’ve done.

And they’re still getting it wrong.

It’s not East vs. South, 70′s vs. 80′s, or whatever form of stupidity that can be squeezed into a markerting niche. You can’t step in the same river twice. Mark your own achievements. The new you can’t be the old us. I, for one, feel that the great feats accomplished by this new generation of artists are worthy in their own right(g). It’s like Thanksgiving. Everybody eats.

What’s on your plate?

(a) If there are going to be drugs circulated around this batch, I want in.

(b) Which, I gather, makes Game the new 2Pac.

(c) Seriously, I’ve seen no one doing “The Coach” or that flapping thing that Baby does with his hands.

(d) Dedication 2, now at a RabbitShare outlet near you.

(e) Famous!

(f) We can even make believe that the whole “Who’s the best emcee?” argument isn’t central to the theme.

(g) Didn’t “Laffy Taffy” shatter a digital download record or something?

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  • Therapist

    I think the first album comparisons are a little unfair and kinda irrelevent… its been stated that the comparison wasn’t talent based(though i ain’t scared to say Wayne is on his way), but was based on the importance of these rappers to their region…

    but personally, being from from the south, I could only hope that TI, Wayne, and Jeezy AREN’T the Biggie, Nas, and Jay’s of the south… not because I don’t like them, I love their shit… but I would rather look at them more as the Rakim, Kane, and Slick Ricks of the south, because in a few years these guys are gonna be topped.. some new young super lyrical, super creative niggas are gonna come from the south and blow peoples minds, and will really deserve that comparison to those NY Kings…

    to sum it up, to make that comparison is to say that Tip, Weezy, and Jeezy, like Big, Nas, and Hov, CAN’T be topped… and I refuse to believe that, because though we’ve been around a long time, the South is really just getting started, and the evolution process is naturally gonna bring some really amazing mc’s…

    with that said, HA

    south up

  • Dre

    can you move the notes at the bottom (can’t think of the word right now) to the side of the page maybe?

    i hate scrolling down and then back up

  • Black LONDON

    Couldnt have said it BETTER………

    Now will someone tell DJ Dickamore to shut hes mouth?


  • khal

    “It’s funny to me that these young whippersnappers say that us grown hip-hoppers won’t let the past go, yet they can only measure their greatness by what we’ve done.”

    That’s the essence right there. Great point, great argument. You said it all.

  • http://xxlmag erererer

    finnalysme one with an ounce of intelligence.i am twenty years old so it has nuthing to do with my age.i am a young nigga not an old head and i still cant get with tis disrespect to jay,big and nas.these dudes defined my genreration.i came off age with these niggas music.macked in the club to their music ,reflected on my situations and misfortunes with their music,macked on girls with theirm music,and drove dangerously to their for sickamore to call niggas like me old heads cos we like these dudes is an insult for one.
    the bigger insult is sickamores determination to mock new york at all instances(isnt he from new york)granted the suth is big right nw.but the biggest dudes who make the biggest noises are still from new york or the east coast(and matybe the midwest)

    sickaores determination to shit on new yorjk is disgustin.

    he makes fun of the legends and kings .
    dickrides the south to no end(he is like that nigga who thinks the ship is sinking anyway so decides to bore a hole in the shps side)

    what will happen when the east coast blows u think east coast heads would wanna fuck with u.?

    his dickriding has paid off .he is now an a&r at atlantic records ,the capital record label of these southern rappers (yes alantic records is to blame for all this trash on the radio).the home of laffyy taffy,the label that is comprised almost entirely of southern rappers.that is why he shits on the east so much.if the east should ride again ,he could lose his meal ticket.

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Good points, but everyone who disagress with Sickamore are either over-analyzing his statement and/or reading too far into it.


    “T.I., Jeezy and Lil’ Wayne have comparable catalogues to those of
    Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas”


    “T.I., Jeezy and Lil’ Wayne are equally talented as Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas”

    But those of you who disagree with him are “retorting” as if he crafted his statement similar to those above.


    “T.I., Jeezy & Lil’ Wayne Are The New Southern Biggie, Jay-Z, & Nas”

    Simply put, here are 3 rappers from the same region who are comparable in popularity among rap fans as well as record sales to 3 NY rappers.

    Now, I hate to defend this statement because Jeezy is the reverse garbage man(a) and T.I. is overrated.

    Mr. W. F. Baby is the far superior of the 3.

    (a) Rather than removing kilos of garbage as the traditional garbage man does, he delivers aural garbage to millions of willing stans.

  • d rock

    good shit cuz, is sick was tryin to make a point, he made it but what does that really mean. Ok so maybe, just maybe but prolly not, they are as POPULAR to thier region as big and them was. what does that mean…….NOTHING!! just because you are popular dosent make you important to hip hop, and those guys will be replaced soon by better southern artist, except for wayne who is going to be raw for awhile

  • mathew

    finally someone who know his hip hop. T.I and Lil Wayne are passing fads…truss me. theyll never be on anyone GREATEST lists. the onle ones worthy of that are Scraface and Outkast. Luda has a few more albums to prove himself.

  • Casey

    That woul’ve been my post if I had a blog here. Well put.

  • exo


    “I think the first album comparisons are a little unfair and kinda irrelevent… its been stated that the comparison wasn’t talent based(though i ain’t scared to say Wayne is on his way), but was based on the importance of these rappers to their region…”

    Fine. And Bob Marley was the new Jesus(a).


    Conventions of language such as analogy, simile and metaphor exist for a reason. They’re like bullets and guns—sometimes interchangeable, sometimes not; and not meant to be used recklessly if you want your point made(b).

    Judging from the quality of comments regularly received on the internets, most of you all can’t tell the difference. But, suffice it to say, a metaphor was used when an analogy or simile were called for.

    It’s a small point, but if we’re gonna let lazy thinking and sloppy analysis get play around here, then we’d might as well be SOHH.




    (a) Except Bob Marley was real.

    (b) That was an analogy, by the way.

    (c) Sorry?

  • noixe

    how many rappers put out classic albums anymore?

    “thug motivation” was one of the few great albums to drop last year, and that was pretty much off the strength of “trap or die” and ill production. “the carter” might as well have been weezy’s first album because, let’s be reasonable, every cash money album before it sounded pretty much the same. and “i’m serious” is ok, but “trap muzik” is better than “reasonable doubt.” just sayin.

  • exo


    “how many rappers put out classic albums anymore?”

    if you’re asking just to ask, i’m not having that conversation now. if you’re asking in reference to the topic at hand, i’ll say that when three new artists from any region drop game-changing debuts within a 2-year span and continue to doiminate and shape the discourse for a decade, then they can be the new Trinity. anything else is something else.

    ” “trap muzik” is better than “reasonable doubt.” ”

    despite “Trap Muzik” being my favorite Tip album, follwing this course of conversation can only lead to me calling you unpleasant names. it’s best if we agree to disagree now.

  • noixe

    I don’t disagree with your point (which you stated right there better than you did in the post) as much as with your criteria. Albums are afterthoughts these days and nobody sells without a hot tape.

    “it’s best if we agree to disagree now.”

    aight then.

  • khal

    how the hell did Lil Wayne change the game?

  • Blaq Thought

    I don’t know how Wayne get’s the credit that he does. The only credit I will give him is his diligence in putting out constant material but quantity doesn’t equal quality. T.I. is more like a Southern Puff Daddy. I say this not to disrespect him but if you look back to when he started to blow after I’m Serious album, he reached out to Puff and vise versa to blow up the 24′s video. Just like Puff, T.I. does alot of suggestive hypnotic styled self-promotion (I’m the king – although nobody knows me) like Puff used to with Bad Boy (can’t stop won’t stop – but only a couple of album releases). As far as the Jeezy with Jay Z comparison, I have to disagree, what makes Jay great is that he is an ultimate trendsetter. Each album he did, other rappers bit off his style (or swagger – thanks Cam). The only thing Jeezy got going on is those damn Snowman shirts. Every now and then, Jeezy does show some real lyrical light but all in all he’s no Jay Z. I love the Southern movement but these comparisons are like Mc Donald’s verses home cooking.

  • Mrs Damian Marley

    all of you should just go out and cop Welcome To Jamrock

  • Prodigy

    >>Apparently every DJ that moonlights as a columnist at is on crack(a).

    It’s mos def choice a!

  • mathew

    this is a tervesty, how in the hell is any1 comapring Jeezt to Jay-Z. jus becoz their names sound similar don mean u shud equate the two. the are worlds aprat. Jeezy aint eevn in my top 70 list…hot damn! people. are u that ignorant of real hip hop?



  • allnice

    Bol, Kris Ex, Noz, and shorty….prolly the only bloggers with some goddamn sense on XXL…..But anyway, good post man, definitely crisp and to the point. No one is saying T.I., Jeezy, and Weezy don’t make good songs, but they aren’t even the trendsetters in THEIR OWN REGION! If Drama and Sickamore wanna talk about the south, well they have Scarface, Bun B, Outkast. If they want to talk about Atlanta, they have Outkast, Goodie Mob, and Cool Breeze.

    Then, when they leave out Ludacris, their whole argument falls apart because he is the only visible solo rapper from Atlanta who gets respect across the world, and homey has skills on the mic. I think they bit off more than they can chew with their cockriding because when niggaz stop selling records, we gonna see who’s working at McDonalds saying do you want fries with that? (Big L shit, classics)

  • Rome

    “No one is saying T.I., Jeezy, and Weezy don’t make good songs, but they aren’t even the trendsetters in THEIR OWN REGION!”

    How are they not trend setters. How many songs were there that had the word “Trap” in it before “Dope Boys”. Not many.Without T.I there would be no young Jeezy, Yung Jock, Etc. Trap Muzik definately changed the face of southern Hip-Hop.

    Weezy is the best lyricist in the south right now. The Carter was a classic And the CarterII was very good. He can run with Any body north, south, East, or west.

    Jeezy Is a toss up. you either love him or you hate him. As far as trend setters go I’ll let you have that one.

  • Blakie Baby

    This article is fucked up. Lil Wayne was only 16 when he made tha block is hot. He was just a little boy with grown men playing his shit in their cars. Did BIG or Jigga do that? No!! Hov, BIG, Nas were all grown men on their debut albums. Now you are right about T.I. and Jeezy. But Wayne went platinum at 16 and didn’t rap about puppy love shit. Now as he has grown and matured he is on course to be the BIG of the South. He has the best flow, delivery, and lyrics.He backs up his phrase Best rapper alive. Hate It Or Love It- Weezy on Top.

  • Erik

    This is the best article I’ve seen on this subject.
    Who gives a fuck where you’re from, use to make a hot song, but past that I really don’t care.

    It’s about as dumb as pink is the new blog.

  • detroit fresh

    kris…who knew? did u know u were still writing abt hip-hop??? u so cute…tell your friend to do like i did w/iverson back in 96. hip-hop is happening everywhere but music. at least in this bloodthirsty country. wade will make a cute cover. after we sit his ass down. but the rest of the decade is his. cue:this is where someone talks up Lebron…much more interesting than these recycled little conversations about *rap*

  • Robbie

    Come and see me if you want to step your footnote game up:

  • RoxStar


  • gluvnast

    not to say those three are the next biggie, jay and nas…but, y’all trying to make these comparisons too literally

    y’all looking at skill for skill, it’s like literally comparing nas to rakim, jay-z to jaz-o and big L, and biggie to 2pac (all to whom were their biggest inspirations)

    just look at it as it is, if the south is dominating in 2006 and in 1996, a decade earlier NEW YORK was dominating…just look at the TOP three that was dominating their respective eras…

    and with that, you had biggie, jay-z & nas

    and in 2006 with the south dominating, the top three is lil wayne, T.I., and young jeezy

    don’t look at it talent for talent…look at it as who’s dominating the rap scene right now

  • michael wallace

    T.I. , Lil Wayne, are hot, they have the potential to be legends..but Jeezy shouldnt even be mentioned in the same catagory with B.I.G. , NAS, & Jay-Z…….Hip Hop and Fans are confused right now…

  • Miss J

    WHERE ARE YOU?!!?!?!?!

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  • alex wooldridge

    look all you stupid black people are idiots anyway, running around with no respect for anything, your children are retarded,playing in the streets selling crack to there mommas, and people like you and jay-z, you aint dope dealers there fake ass wanna be drug dealers, thats all, like 50 cents a fag, i pray he gets gunned down soon with that raceist slim shady, he called you dumn ass’s niggers and you took it on the chin like houston at the 5, shows what punk ass people you really are. white boys are startin ta take over the game so soon the whole im big and black rrraaarrgge errr that shits over soon man, were sick’a hearin it. we know how fake you are now, so heres one to you fuck rap, its all so commercial now anyway, the new thing will hit soon and these people will stop paying hard earned money to see a bunch’a idiots run around playing with themselves, look all you rappers out there, heres a message : you aint shit but commericals, you are a side show we laugh at and mock, you are faggits. there done.

  • wong pow

    XXL magazine is so fuckin dick ridin the south so much what the fuck

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  • pop a poppa

    itz just like baseball…
    hip-hop has finally been around long enought that you can begin to compare certain era’s with each other. just because Hank Aaron and now maybe Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth’s home run record, does that mean they are better than Babe Ruth or are even close to The Babe’s stature? no way. but you can’t really compare rappers from different era’s with each other cuz of so many different factors. all you can say is who was the best around the time they were rockin’ the mic. furious 5 were the best way back when. then came Run-DMC, Rakim, NWA, Nas, 2Pac, BIG, Jay-Z, Eminem, and finally 50 Cent. all those people listed before completely outshined everyone else that rapped in their respective era’s. so far there ain’t been nobody to control the game since 50.

  • j

    someone sais big jay and nas were grown men when their debuts were made.we all no jay was in high twenties so thats correct but big waslike 20 when readyto die dropped. and nas WAS 18 … 18 motherfuckerm when he was recording illmatic. and noz you were dropping fair points… but to compare jezzys album to ready to die, reasonable doubt, or illmatic. people get shot for less. in fact jeezy is not a dope mc by any means.when are people gonna wake up. ti is alright, and weezy is a lil suspectwith this ghostwriting thing goin down(i dont wanna believe it). pay homage to face kast goodie mob shit like that. and luda has been ill even with the corny singles hes put out on his last two lps. dude is a beast but noone thinks of crowning him.this is a fickle game folks.