Tough Break

Just one of them days, everyone has them. Regular folk, superstar, aspiring star, it doesn’t matter. Hip-Hop is chock full of stories of coulda beens and shoulda beens. Everyone is human and makes mistakes but sometimes you have to look at history and learn from others’ bad decisions. Two constantly recurring problems that won’t seem to leave rappers alone:

1. Bad Beats

Sometimes you have to wonder what these rappers are thinking. Are they wearing earplugs when they pick beats? Are they in the back interviewing video models? Are some of our favorite rappers deaf?

Two classic examples of how bad beats can hold you back or ruin you are Canibus and Nas. Canibus came out of the gate swinging, “2nd Round Knockout,” one of the best diss records ever, put this man in prime position to come out and be a top notch rapper. A few weeks with Wyclef and there goes his career. I can still recite “2nd Round KO” line by line (including the Mike Tyson intro) but I don’t remember one song off the Can-I-Bus album. Nas is one of my favorite rappers which is why it is all the more painful when he drops an album that is so dope lyrically over the wackest beats you ever heard. Who is executive producing this shit? Somebody call Primo, Kanye, Pete Rock, Large Pro or someone to come in the studio and just give him a hand (pause yourself).

2. Bad Business Associations

This is a broader topic and cannot always be blamed on an aspiring rapper who is just trying to get on. But especially in this day of doing it yourself and all that Hip-Hop History has to offer, rappers on the come-up should know better. One of the best examples today is Slaughterhouse, four incredible rappers who just caught bad deals. Just listen to their music, they map it out for you up-and-coming rappers: don’t trust anyone else with your career, take control and look out for number 1 always. It’s good to see them making noise as a group now. Joell and Crooked I could be top 10 alive right now because of their lyrical skills, hopefully they continue putting out quality material (Crooked’s Hip Hop Weekly #52 is an insta-classic).

But it’s not just the superlyrical who make bad connects, Young Buck’s ethered his career by going in debt to 50, allegedly doing mad drugs and then running his mouth. Snoop would have done well to avoid the pen and pixel world of Master P. Everyone should have stayed away from Suge and now looking back everyone probably should have stayed away from Puffy (except Biggie and DylanDylanDylan).

And because pointing out other people’s mistakes is more fun than looking at our own, what do you think are the worst mistakes in Hip-Hop History?

  • Pierzy

    Co-Sign…especially the bad beats point.

    How about doing something completely different than what made you popular in the first place? Wu-Tang without RZA beats; Snoop without Dre beats; Q-Tip leaving Tribe to make songs like “Vibrant Thang”

    Also, trying too hard to reach for commercial appeal rather than let it happen. Songs like Jay’s “I Know What Girls Like” and others that are too numerous to list were obvious tries for radio airplay that failed and also hurts you in the eyes of your original fans.

    • Pierzy

      And my bad…of course it should be “VIVRANT.” Typo.

    • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

      Complete co-sign Pierzy

    • Detroit P

      Whats wrong with vivrant thang?…that song (along with “breathe and Stop”) prolly had the clubs jumpin…I wouldn’t know i was like 10 when it came out but I still liked the songs..and I still like it now….I’m startin to think that yall never go to any parties and never get any sex from women…and that you hate any music that sets the mood in which you would get sex from said women…yall only like sausagefest rap…mention Eminem(who NOW only has women in his fanbase because he’s rich and famous, and they mighta liked his first couple c.d’s and a few other songs…but it’s mostly dudes)and yall are ready to slob him up…Mention Drake and it’s “yall overpromoting him” or “only girls like his music”(which sounds very homo)…I understood your argument with Asher…but Eminem has been mentioned just as much and yall aint say nothing…but when Drake is mentioned yall start crying again about overpromotion…do yall just hate any new artist thats getting some shine? do you think Hip Hop should’ve stopped evolving in the 90′s? do you feel music or just “relate” to it? do you listen to the overall musical product or just listen for “technical skill”? do you just like to complain or be contrarians in an effort to not feel like sheep?…I’m curios to know

      • General

        Wow, that is a lot to respond to…I agree with you about Drake, I’m actually interested to see what he puts forth on his debut…I actually think he has a lot of talent and a chance to make some great music, but will reserve judgement until his debut…as far as over promotion, I don’t think he has been over promoted, but I also believe tham Em has earned the promo that he is getting with the career that he has put together in hip-hop…

        I can’t answer for everyone, but I do listen for the overall musical product, which in my opinion does include “technical skill”, hell I don’t want to hear something that was put together poorly…

        As far as songs that “set the mood”, of course there is a place in that for hip-hop, just as there is a place for songs that are made just for the club in mind, however usually a good artists can make songs like that and still make relevant quality songs that aren’t “cha-cha slide remakes”

      • Pierzy

        What up fellas…

        There’s nothing “wrong” with Vivrant Thing and I didn’t say there was…I merely said doing something different from what made you popular. By and large, most people liked Q-Tip for the content of his rhymes, his presence on the mic and the group’s overall approach. They were popular without really trying to be…to most people, they made good music that wasn’t mindless or watered-down for the radio.

        However, the majority of the hip-hop public, felt that those two songs were vastly different from the Q-Tip of the Tribe albums. It wasn’t a bad thing and those songs definitely got burn in the clubs and on the radio [I remember personally] but it wasn’t the Q-Tip everyone remembered…regardless whether it was right or wrong.

        And apparently he got the memo because his new album is more like his Tribe work…probably part of the reason he named it “Renaissance.”

        • Detroit P

          I mean you said it was a mistake…so that sounds like you’re saying it was a bad thing but….weren’t you the one saying how much you liked Kanye for being “different” and you were talking about expanding horizons and being open minded and such…then you turn around and say that artists shouldn’t try to do things different from what they’re known for? can you explain that Logic to me….or is only Kanye allowed to be different because he’s known for being different?(which would be a terribly weak argument)

        • Pierzy

          Kanye’s always been a little off since the start. But 808s is still 4th of his 4 cd’s…by a long shot. I think Graduation is his best work…in my personal opinion.

          If you peep Q-Tip’s career, he went from my being the conscious MC to one that was reaching for radio play. The better analogy would be Common’s latest album…something completely different than almost his whole catalog that turns off his original fans.

  • DETROIT

    Quote of the Day:

    “life is what you make it, you hate the law, nigga break it” – NORE

    • Key-Ye

      No thanks, I’m good. I don’t adhere to quotes of the day made by NORE lol

  • Zulu1925

    I don’t agree with using the Snoop Dogg/No Limit collabo as an example of bad business associations. Both of Snoop’s No Limit albums (Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not Told and No Limit Top Dogg) went double platinum. Also, after Snoop’s murder trial, Dr Dre left Death Row but Snoop was stuck there because of contractual obligations. Snoop said he wasn’t going to record for Death Row again. Master P bought out Snoop’s contract and allowed him to continue his career. No other label was able or willing to approach Suge at that time and broker Snoop’s release.

    • Pierzy

      Another full album of Snoop/Dre would’ve been nice though…rather than one or two songs every album.

    • Jamal7Mile

      What’s up folks?

      Did you hear about Suge’s new label, Black Ballz Records? I hearby make a PREDICTION that whoever signs with him would’ve made the biggest mistake of their career!

      W/o a doubt, it’s gonna be distastrous! Just watch.

  • http://pimpinpens.blogspot.com enzo

    I don’t agree with using the Snoop Dogg/No Limit collabo as an example of bad business associations. Both of Snoop’s No Limit albums (Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not Told and No Limit Top Dogg) went double platinum. Also, after Snoop’s murder trial, Dr Dre left Death Row but Snoop was stuck there because of contractual obligations. Snoop said he wasn’t going to record for Death Row again. Master P bought out Snoop’s contract and allowed him to continue his career. No other label was able or willing to approach Suge at that time and broker Snoop’s release.

    ^^ i concur
    Master P saved Snoop’s career. It was a win win situation for everyone involved. Master P schooled Snoop on the inner-workings of the business of the rap game. Snoop will tell you the same thing.

    • General

      Double co-sign…The material Snoop put out may not have been top notch under No Limit, but it did open the door for him to reunite with Dre and to get his business straight. Master P made Snoop Bout it, Bout it

  • Epinz

    I can’t say that about suge cuz them nggz prolly wouldn’t b who they r if not for deathrow. I agree on puff though.

    Co-sign piersy on the q-tip thng. That is the worst turn around in quality music I’ve ever heard. Same for lb droppin 9th wonder, well buz wise, they’re musics still bangin.

  • CashKidd

    A lot of shit 50 has done the past couple years has been stupid. A lot of forced party records that I hope were Jimmy Iovines idea.
    Letting Game off G-Unit for really no reason at all.
    Not releasing a Buck or Banks album in like 2-3 years. Even if you dont lik G-unit you can not deny they have a strong following not releasing albums is just stuppid.
    Im not saying their going to go platinum but they would have some respectable numbers based on their following.

  • Epinz

    Sumtimes bad situations make for better music. Look at joe buddens or the clipse! Great music, bad deals. its good musically when the rappers feed off the bullshit and make great music out of it. Or u can b like saigon and let it ruin u and ur buzz.

  • General

    I think Canibus lettin Wyclef do his CD was obviously one of the worst mistakes…

    How about J-Hood draggin the D-Block chain on the ground and dissin Sheek and later the rest of the Lox…not a good career move for him

    Jay for some strange reason deciding to do another Best of Both Worlds CD with R Kelly after all the problems with the first one…Cd’s were good, but nothing but headaches for both artists with the fallout, plus cancelled shows

    And of course The Source tryin to go to war with Eminem and the entire Aftermath/Interscope machine…didn’t work out too well for them

  • darrell johnson

    DMX – crack
    Clipse – overly repetitive subject matter
    Charles Hamilton – relying too much on gimmicks
    Asher Roth – being too gassed off of internet hype
    Lupe Fiasco – not enough radio spins/feature appearances
    Fabolous – entering a homosexual relationship with Ne-Yo
    Pretty much all veteran NY rappers – ignoring their potential fan base in the south
    50 cent – trying too hard to stay relevant

    • Lowedwn

      ^^^^^^^^^^

      that Lupe point is kinda iffy. A good portion of his songs are over the masses(radio) head and I don’t think he gets that many features because most cats are just plain scared to get slaughtered by him lyrically.

      Definitely agree with your point about NY rappers though, they definitely ignored and alienated their potential southern fans.

  • sealsaa

    Eminem and his lack of subject matter

    Nas and his lack of Premo and Large Professor beats

    No one signing Big L before his death (he was hot in ’95, 4 years BEFORE his death. What the hell took so long for people to catch on?)

    Mainstream Common (he was better when he was underrated)

    Jay Z, Nas, and Mobb Deep not laying waste to Tupac on wax when he dissed them all when any of them could’ve easily out-rapped him.

    • http://www.myspace.com/fastlifearchitects miles archer

      Mobb Deep dissed Pac twice while he was still alive. “Drop a Gem on ‘em” & “Fuck 2pac” where Prodigy got at him and Keith Murray.

      Ya sleeping if you didn’t know that shit…

      miles archer

      • Enlightened

        No, actually that “Drop A Gem On ‘Em” came out after Pac died. They CLAIM they recorded it while he was alive. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe ‘em. (Remember this was when albums came every two years and you had to wait on your cycle).
        I never heard of “Fuck 2Pac.” What was that on? Some mixtape being passed around QB?

        • Arcey

          I think the song’s name was “In The Long Run”

    • Giantstepp

      “…payback, iknew you bitch niggas from way back, witnessed me strapped with macs knew I wouldnt play that….” Macaveli, aginst all odds ’96′ is why them dudes were quiet as church mice and I love Nas and Jigga.

      Mobb “six feet” deep did try to bust back to no avail! that Pac machine was on another lever and no-one listened the BS come back they tried!

  • Epinz

    Off subject!
    Mtv writers have confirmed that the whole shit was staged, and that they rehearsed it and it was exactly as how it was in the show. Smh!

    • El Tico Loco

      I saw that in the news this morning too. Yo you know last blog about that shit I commented that when it comes to the suspect behavior he had 2 strikes and 2 balls (pun intended) against him. Well looks like he’s out now.

  • Jamal7Mile

    Asher Roth having a Twitter account was pretty bad for him! I’ve said it before, he needs to lose his account.

  • nycboy

    50 cent pretty much went down hill after GRODT. The Massacre did numbers off the hype he brought from his first album, not because he had any smash singles. He criticized Ja for doing the R&B, pop thing but then he took the same route, had too many unnecessary collabos on his last effort, and proved that he has good chemistry with only a handful of producers(that’s including Em and Dre). It shows that you don’t have the same passion for the music anymore when you go from a masterpiece to just making garbage.

  • dark vanilla

    hi rick ross ^^^^^^^^^

  • SJB

    I don’t agree regarding Esco’s production. I think the majority of his beats fit his style, which is dark and emotional and thought-provoking. I couldn’t really see him making a song to the “Is That Your Chick” beat or “In Da Club”, that just wouldn’t fit dude. But “Thief’s Theme”, “Made You Look”, “Money over Bullshit”, those all work for him to me. The worst decision to me was Tupac signing with Suge, not music-wise obviously. But from what I’ve gathered, dude had reservations about signing with him in the first place and it was sort of a desperation move for him. But I guess you did cover that with the everyone should stay away from Suge line, guess I’m just reinforcing it…

  • $ykotic

    1. Kanye for growing a “Thriller” mullet

    2. Southpole clothing

    3. Skinny jeans(not straight leg w/permanent crease, circa 1983)

    4. MOP signing to G-Unit

    • General

      You can’t be serious about the “thriller” mullet…that shit is legendary, LOL.

    • SJB

      2. Southpole clothing

      @$yk

      Huge co-sign there!

  • Azhar

    I so Cosign the Nas beat thing, the boy is brilliant wit the wordplay, but he can’t pick beats for shit sometimes…

    as far as business mistakes goes:
    1.Pac riding wit Suge on the strip
    2.Biggie going out LA not long after the Pac thing
    3.Shyne lettin off in da club
    4.Dame Dash not maturing and continuing to be the asshole that J got tired of
    just to name a few

  • El Tico Loco

    Lil Kim’s plastic surgery (she made a song call no time for fake ones for christ sakes)

    Universal Mind Control (That’s like a shitstain in Common’s catalog)

    Pharoah Monch, Dr Dre, Raekwon the jury is out regarding long breaks.

  • abdulnasir imam

    BIGGEST MISTAKE IN HIP HOP IN RECENT YEARS: BEING SIGNED TO DRE, UNLESS U’R EMINEM. JUST ASK HITMAN, RAKIM, BISHOP LAMONT AND WE COULD GO ON AND ON. WORKING WITH DRE IS AN HONOUR, BEING SIGNED IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT THING IF HE’S GONNA KEEP UR ASS ON THE BENCH TILL NEVERUARY.

  • sealsaa

    “Mobb Deep dissed Pac twice while he was still alive. “Drop a Gem on ‘em” & “Fuck 2pac” where Prodigy got at him and Keith Murray.”

    “Ya sleeping if you didn’t know that shit…”

    I know about those songs. I specifically said “lay waste to Tupac” because they could’ve done better, instead of backing down from him as if he was lyrically superior.

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    Canibus’ flaw isn’t just bad beats, nigga only has one flow. You can’t listen to a whole album of brash hardrock shit, you just can’t.

    It wasn’t a bad move to roll with Suge back in the day. Say what you will about him, but at that time Death Row was the biggest label around (and still one of the biggest rap empires ever) so I can’t knock anyone rolling with them. As far as Snoop, he was between a rock and a hard place. And Master P helped him out and scooped him out of a bad situation. And in the end, Snoop got his career back and track and learned a lot of business skills from Master P, so it was all good.

  • BIGNAT

    the worst mistake was the 20+ crew. all those people almost always equals trouble. also it makes a show terrible all these muthfuckers on stage hollering at the same time. then you got those assholes in the crew that you know should not be out anyway. take one drink then you gotta bail they ass out in the morning. oops homie you fucked up on friday night we come back and get you on monday.

  • http://xxlmag.com Down-South-Cat-Who-Knows-More-About-Hip-Hop-Than-U

    Yep Snoop said that he learned alot about Business frm P. B4 he came to No Limit he was jus an artist but wen he seen P’s different ventures such as movies,clothes,it defintely inspired him

  • FlapJack

    Everybody and their momma wanting their own label, and signing a bunch of weedcarriers.

    Trying to copy someone elses success. might work for a hit, or even an album, but not a career.

    Acting. Who wants to see game, dmx, 50, luda, t.i. even snoop acting?

    3K, Mos Def and Meth can keep it up tho.

    Same goes for writing books, making clothing lines, vitamin water or whatnot.

  • Brooklyn ‘Lo

    1 RZA not sampling after losing his records in a flood
    2 Q-Tip not sampling after losing his records in a fire
    3 Beanie Sigel not being able stay out of jail to promote either of his last two official releases
    4 Bizmark not chopping his loops and blatantly sampling records and being the entire reason why you have to clear samples

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    Class in session (2day’s Don’)

    1 Neva sign with Dre,Jay,TI,Weezy or any of those so called rapper’s label. It’s just their way of wasting ur time & holding u back the competation.

    2 Get off the ass of so called established producers – get sum1 mo’ up & cuming who needs it as bad as u 2 have their shit on rotation

    3 Learn the art of making a radio-friendly hit with dope lyrics,catchy hook & beat i.e. “whoa” by Black Rob

    4 Albums should contain a maximum of 12 – 14 tracks if u a not making a double/triple album.

    5 Get ur grind on & market that shit even if it means making ur own videos,free concerts or getting hook up with a fly famous chick always sells

    • http://thisisnotmocarlton.com mo carlton

      COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SIGN

  • SbuJah

    Biggest loser in this rap shit = DMX
    *note to up and comers*, stay away from yes men and hangers on JAY-Z is a prime example of living the “clean life”.

    i dont care if you put me on the scene (JAZ-O) but once I make it its each man for himself homes and you aint seeing me in the hood again. rather in venice beach in thong flip-flops with the finest in the biz next to me. REAL TALK