With 2 weeks left in ’08, figured it’s time to start breaking out the top 10 lists because… well… let’s be honest here, they’re easier to come up with than anything substantial.
Trends… I wish they’d die a very timely death (as in, right now). Here’s my top 10 list of trends and/or just general shit that must cease to exist in 2009.
10) “super” producers- These are the guys who become industry darlings after they make a hit record, and then every artist starts asking them for the same type of track, and well, it never amounts to much. I don’t want to dis anyone, but there’s some dudes that get mad work post-hit record and don’t ever duplicate that success. In ’09, that shit really needs to stop. You guys are the reason why album budgets get eaten up and artists gotta resort to making internet weekly freestyle series after their singles bomb.
9) DJ-helmed collaboration songs- the whole “mixtape on one song” schtick burned out when “I’m So Hood” and the remix dropped. That song was great, but “Out Here Grindin” sucked. How about just making a good song, not some star-studded collaboration with a bunch of dudes nobody really wanna hear rap anyway?
8) Rappers performing with live bands- To be fair, this whole “rapper with live band” thing works when the rapper actually has songs that require a band. But I do not want to hear the Ying Yang Twinz backed by a live band. Be honest, you just added the band because a rapper standing on stage holding a microphone is pretty fucking boring (see: Nas).
7) 808s- Ok, the South brought this crappy drum machine back when that region’s music got popular in the mainstream. That doesn’t mean we need to keep regurgitating the 808 kick, clap and hi-hats over and over and over again. Would it be too much to ask to hear like, an actual snare drum? Give it a rest already. 808s are a poor man’s (or shitty producer’s) excuse for a drum kit.
6) Clothing Lines- Kanye is actually the only mainstream rapper I can think of that I can actually see having a clothing line. Granted, he’s not entirely an original, but he is the reason why kids in middle america have traded their baggy jeans and oversized fitted hats for nuthuggers, shiny michael jackson jackets and sneakers that look like space boots. Everyone else talking about a clothing line… sit down. Jim Jones was right, nobody wants to look like you.
5) Producers/songwriters turned artists- I was all for this trend going from ’07 to ’08, but now it’s just a bunch of bad producers rapping or singing really bad and making really bad songs, no matter how many times the radio and media tries to program me into thinking otherwise. See: Sean Garrett, Ron Browz, Nu Jerzey Devil… and to an extent, Ryan Leslie… I mean, how great would “Diamond Girl” have been if say, Usher, sang it? Drumma Boy told me he raps now. Take my advice, stop!
4) Weekly freestyle series’- No other internet marketing/promotion effort could spell “Will Rap For Food” or “I Need To Get My Buzz Up Really Bad” more than the weekly freestyle series. When Crooked I did it, for that little moment in time, it helped. When Mickey Factz did it, I said ok I don’t know who the fuck this guy is, but after the 7th one I finally checked him out. Now we’re flooded with these shits. Walking blogs? Soon we’ll have an artist posting videos of himself on a toilet bowl rapping about taking a shit. Remy Ma walking into jail. Now that’s a walking blog worth watching.
3) Keeping the Hip-Hop and R&B Genres separate- if anyone follows me on Twitter, they know I feel like Chris Brown is the ’08 Canibus. That’s how far the line between Hip-Hop and R&B has been blurred. All these singers were on A-Milli. R Kelly dissed Neyo. Dream don’t like J. Holiday. Come on, these dudes are the same as rappers, beefing with each other. Akon and T-Pain are rappers who spit with melodies and harmonize, you can’t argue with me. And rappers who really call themselves rappers, they sing their records now anyway (see: TI, Kanye). Let’s just call everything hip-hop now. Leave R&B for people who really sing, like Maxwell.
2) Hating on Auto-Tune- Critics need to stop bitching. It’s like getting mad at a guitar player for using a wha-wha pedal. For a rappers, the voice is the instrument of choice. They should be able to alter their voice however they want. What else do you expect them to do, get on the piano and hammer out a solo? It’s rapping. This is not music theory 101.
1) Featuring Lil Wayne, Akon or T-Pain on your song- I have a love/hate relationship with the music of all three of these artists, but having either of them on your song couldn’t be any less interesting. They may yield you some attention for about 3 days, but they will not yield you a career. And how are you going to perform your song if Lil Wayne can’t make it to your show to do it with you? Come on. This is just stupid at this point. Be original. Find someone new, or shit, go back to using Nate Dogg on every hook. The only time I want to hear these dudes from now on is when a) they are on their own records and b) I am reaaaally drunk.