You Are Appreciated

Pardon me ya’ll, I’m still on one. Michael Jackson’s death still has me feeling a sorta way. I wrote a blog yesterday about the BET Awards and the excessive hate exhibited toward the show. In reference to the O’ Jays I was so happy to see them get their props because people never felt the flowers while they can still smell ‘em. Maybe Mike didn’t get all the praise he deserved when he was alive, or maybe he did, I guess it all depends on how each of us individually regarded him. Still, MJ’s passing got me to thinking about some of my favorite artists (not just rappers, but artists) and the impact that their music has had on my life. So before we lose any more legends, I’d like to send praise to a few of my favorites. Who are yours? – Rob the Music Ed

Prince
As a kid coming up, I hated Prince. Why? Simply because he was my older sister’s favorite artist and like every bratty brother I despised anything that my sister liked. She had all the albums, movies and posters. But I guess growing up I absorbed so much of dude’s music simply by just being around my sis. Purple Rain is a hands down classic and joints like “Little Red Corvette,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Adore” speak on his remarkable legacy. As a songwriter the Purple One was pretty ill too, I mean he wrote the original “Nothing Compares 2 You” (a song made famous by Sinead O Conner) and “I Feel For You” which Chaka Khan later covered and turned into a hit. Aside from his creative accomplishments, Prince revolutionized the music business after he broke free of Warner Bros. control and went independent and has released 30 albums to date. Let’s celebrate Prince now and not wait ’til it’s too late.

Jay-Z
I have always taken a great deal of pride in being born and raised in Brooklyn and through his music Jay has crafted the soundtrack for that pride. After B.I.G.’s passing Hov pledged to fill the void and that he did. At times I myself criticize Jay’s work of late, but the fact of the matter is when you take his entire catalogue into account there is really no question: Jay-Z is the greatest rapper alive. He said it himself: “There’s never been a nigga this good for this long/This hood, or this pop, this hot or this strong.” The chilling part is it’s actually true. Rakim and KRS are legends, but didn’t have the type of run that Hov had, neither did Cube, Kane or Nas. Biggie and Pac passed too early and Eminem’s 4-year vacay kinda takes him out the running. It’s not a discredit to anyone, just a testament to Hov’s greatness.

R.Kelly
Much like MJ, The R. has been a controversial music figure, but his talent is unmatched! Now Kellz gets SHITTED on, in the press, on the blogs and in the barbershops. Yet, after Mike’s death I wonder when it’s all said and done how will Robert be remembered? The hits are undeniable, since the early ’90s dude has really been putting the R in R&B. “Bump N’ Grind,” “Your Body’s Callin’,” “Down Low,” “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Fiesta;” I can go on for days. So how much does the sexual allegations hurt his legacy? I for one never watched the infamous tape because who would willingly watch child porn? It’s kinda funny because we’ve crucified Kellz for having sex with underage girls (even though he was never found guilty), but what about the millions of people who essentially watched a kiddie sex tape? What does that say about us as a people? But that’s a different blog. Speaking from strictly musical standpoint, when are we gonna honor R. Kelly? When is the Pied Piper gonna get his award show tribute?

Dr. Dre
Dre is hands down hip-hop’s most meticulous artist. Who else takes eight years to follow-up a critically acclaimed and commercially successful album? Ya’ll know the run down, from the World Class Wrecking Crew to N.W.A., in the late ’80s Dre birthed the West Coast sound with his beats and essentially had his hand in creating (or maybe popularizing- shouts to PSK) Gangsta Rap. Then there was The Chronic then Snoop’s Doggystyle, then Pac, Em and of course The Chronic 2001. With the exception of a few duds, Dre’s catalogue is mostly quality- moreso than any other hip-hop producer. Real talk, dude is hip-hop’s Quincy Jones. We laugh and joke about how long it is taking him to put out Detox, but when he is gone, we’re gonna wish that a rap artist took that much care in crafting his work.

Stevie Wonder
There isn’t a musician alive, Black, White or otherwise who hasn’t been influenced by Stevie. Berry Gordy signed Stevie to Motown when he was just 11 years old and he has since recorded around 30 albums for the label, his most prominent album being the 1976 Songs in the Key of Life. Not just a singer/songwriter wonder is a producer and multi-instrumentalist playing everything from the piano to the harmonica to the drums. Now of all intents and purposes Stevie does get his props, but I wouldn’t even want to imagine what music would be like without him.

Honorable Mentions
Quincy Jones, Mary J. Bilge, P.Diddy, KRS-One, Lil Wayne, Babyface, Earth, Wind & Fire and DJ Premier.

  • Pierzy

    Glaring omission: Nasir Jones

    • Pierzy

      Or, at least, that’s mine. My other two besides Jay & Dre would be Eminem and Premier.

      • $ykotic

        My bad y’all. I read everything here and wanted others to see:

        WHERE’S AFRIKA BAMBAATAA! Forgotten, huh?

        HEAVY D? TEDDY RILEY? THE ISLEY BROTHERS?

        • BIGNAT

          cosign on the isley brothers if you don’t wanna count there own efforts. kellz did alot of songs with ron isley and kellz also did songs for there album. heavy d hmm i must be to young all i remember him doing was bringing together soul for real.

        • $ykotic

          Heavy D was big time. On Andre Harrell’s label(Uptown. Puffy’s an intern), produced by Teddy Riley(Guy/Kool Moe Dee/Wreck’s N Effect/MJ or a hefty fee), held down “commercial rap” from like ’87-’94, bought Pete Rock/CL Smooth in the fold. Mary J Blige used to open up for him. Soul 4 Real was pretty much the torch pass.

          Actually Heav is doing is reggae/roots thing now. Even caught an award last year if I’m correct.

        • Curtis75Black

          Too add on to what $ykotic said, to all ya’ll who puts B.I.G. as #1 G.O.A.T. look up Heavy D’s Blue Funk cd and you’ll hear a posse cut called ‘A Bunch of Niggas’ with some notable favorites but also hear Biggie before he became Notorious and famous for Juicy.

    • DetroitDraper

      But somehow Lil Wayne was honorably mentioned…smh

  • Curtis75Black

    As far as legends go, living I must give props to Prince for being the artist that he is all the time. Whether he has hits or not, he continues to do him.

    LL Cool J and KRS are another two that deserves all the respect for not only enduring crazy years of Hip Hop but having the heart and spirit to continue, where they could’ve left years ago. I always admired their song writing which is what app Hip Hop artist does from time to time. Hip Hop been passed the hot 16 & 32′s to get a rep.

    Stevie Wonder what can you say ? Growing up thru the 80′s you heard his music but not fully aware of what those lyrics meant and how he crafted the melodies himself. Same with Micheal Jackson and Prince, the songwriting was equisite.

    • Silly Willy

      I just came back right now from a Stevie Wonder concert in Montreal for the Jazz Festival. It was wonderful, man, I feel so lucky. And the tribute he did for Mike was really something you could feel…..Man in the Mirror, under the rain, Stevie crying…….MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    Good list. But I don’t understand how you mention Rakim, Kane, Nas, Em, etc. in the GOAT debate, but then don’t put them in the honorable mention. Plus you don’t mention Wayne in the GOAT debate, but do you give him an honorable mention? I’m confused.

    I would have loved to see you write about Quincy Jones, someone’s whose influence goes beyond just music.

    Artists that have their spots forever reserved: Bob Dylan, Madonna, Greenday, Radiohead, U2, Areosmith, RUN DMC.

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

      Also: Bob James, Herby Hancock, Billy Joel, The Eagles, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Alanis Morissette, Bruce Springsteen, Santana.

      • BIGNAT

        can you really give Alanis props for having one good album.

  • Dan

    To me Nas is the greatest rapper alive but Jay-Z is the most popular. Nas has better albums but Jay-Z makes better singles. How do you not put Rakim, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Chuck D,LL Cool J, and Slick Rick on your list? They revolutionized what an MC is now without them rappers would be what they are or sound the same. Also James Brown didn’t get this attention or praise when he died and he is the pre-cursor to hip hop, MJ,changed producing, and every singer who dances and.

    • BIGNAT

      JAMES MOTHERFUCKING BROWN THE MAN THE MYTH THE LEGEND THE GOD FATHER OF SOUL. THE MAN WHO COULD MAKE A WHOLE SONG OUT OF THREE WORDS HE STILL HAD THE MOVES WELL INTO HIS OLD AGE. WHAT ABOUT BARRY WHITE

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

    I have to go with Pete Rock as well as everyone else on that list Rob. Dude still puts out heat (when he wants to anyway)

  • Jamal7Mile

    I second that Quincy Jones, THE DUDE!!!

    • Jamal7Mile

      EWF, Ohio Players, Kool (rip) and The Gang, ALL of the Motown cats, Stax cats, Stevie Wonder, Heatwave (mind-blowing!), Pattie, Gladys, George & Bootsie, The Gap Band, so many more…

      From the bottom of my heart, I thank, appreciate and love each and every one of you! God Bless the Music!!!

  • STRIPBLUNTS

    I dont usually comment, but the writer of this article sounds so ignorant when he starts talking about R.Kelly. If you didnt watch the tape for whatever stupid reason, that means u r not really a journalist, and shouldnt comment or bring up a subject u dont fully understand!! If u didnt watch the tape how can u know if there is a child in it? Anyone of the zillions of people who watched the 1st 30 seconds of the tape knows its him!! That tape came out in 2001, & u r still talking about not watching it then trying to talk about his historical legacy in the same breath!?! Talk about a major fail of the day buddy!! Peace!!

    • Detroit P

      and the dumbest comment of the week award goes to….

  • yoprince

    jay-z
    nas
    radiohead
    the flaming lips
    green day
    prince
    stevie wonder
    lauryn hill
    mary j. blige
    t.i.
    outkast
    lil wayne
    eminem

  • HERM

    Well for obvious reasons, Jay-Z, Nas and BIG of course. But also for me it’s Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson too. I think it was because while growing up as a kid I had the one of the former three artists’, and my mom had the latter, songs playing constantly. Whether in the house or the car.

    You really become attached to all that, and when I hear one of those songs from any of these artists/performers it reminds me of childhood. Truly legendary.

    • yoprince

      BIG, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson are all dead. where have you been?

      • Detroit P

        Lol…a yoprince, niggas just be skimming thru shit and decide to throw their 2 cents in…internet culture sucks ass

        • HERM

          Oh shit, my bad y’all. I just wanted to throw in a couple that have passed. I shoulda gave a heads up.

        • El Tico Loco

          Givin props to people that still have heartbeats.

          Where’s Teddy P? (no pain)
          Uncle Luke? Too $hort? If you buy or record music with cuzzin without gettin arrested thank these guys.
          Alicia Keys is gettin up there
          Queen Latifah
          Diana Ross did her thing
          Tina Turner
          Paul McCartney
          Oscar Deleon
          Willie Colon
          Ruben Blades
          Mick Jagger he rhymes with swagger
          Charlie Wilson
          and Dylan

        • yoprince

          great list but i’m gonna argue with you…

          is charlie wilson really a legend?

          alicia keys should be replaced immediately with Beyonce.

          i’m not sure uncle luke’s music is timeless enough for him to be considered legendary.. his music is stuck in one fairly short time period for me. too short maybe.

          i’m mad you got to tina turner before i did. an original black rock star.

        • El Tico Loco

          One Alicia Keys is to Beyonce what Prince was to Michael, Bey is not gonna get overlooked so why bother listin her she will pop up in 100 other lists, Alicia is gettin up there and she plays instruments sorta like Prince, Beyonce is there because of her dad pushing her sorta like Mike, Alicia always been solo, Bey came from a group but stood out (Prince and Mike comp again).

          Luke and Too $hort was not so much about their music but the fact that they really made it ok for rappers to cuz on records, they were not the first but they fought to make it acceptable.

          And Charlie Wilson? Dude your parents never played any Gap Band in your house? (your black exposure must be limited) For that matter throw Frankie Bev and Maze in there, shit I grew up on that shit and Fania Allstar joints.

        • El Tico Loco

          I guess you did agree with Dylan being top 5.

        • yoprince

          lol @ Dy-lan…

          I feel you on the entire Gap Band, but you name-checked Charlie Wilson on some solo tip. he’s not a legend on his own.

  • Chris Cash

    WOW no Scarface? Wu Tang? LL Cool J? Hell even Snoop? but you said Lil wayne? well i guess everyman has there own opinion

    Damn not even The Roots? I can go on for days.

  • Chris Cash

    Outkast?
    Smokey Robinson?
    Patti, Aretha,Diana Ross?
    Mariah Carey?

    for days…..

  • yoprince

    damn chris cash is killin it… co-sign everything except the lil wayne hate.

  • yoprince

    damn. chris cash is killin it. co-sign everything you said minus the lil wayne hate.

    • Chris Cash

      I actually dig wayne but i feel there are more honorable ppl. hell if u say wayne why not Mannie Fresh? ya dig?

  • RiZob

    Dj Paul
    Juicy J
    Three 6 Mafia
    Hypnotize Camp Posse
    Killer Mike
    Bubba Sparxxx
    Timbaland
    Missy
    just the first ones that come to mind…

  • biggamike

    I was feeling everything you wrote until I read the honorable mention section and saw that extra from The Gremlins movie Lil Wayne in there.

  • biggamike

    I was feeling everything you wrote until I read the honorable mention section and saw that extra from The Gremlins movie Lil Wayne in there. C’mon MAAANNNN!

  • keke

    HOLD UP, RECORD SCRATCH!!!!……How dare you put Quincy Jones down as an honorable mention and you put R. Kelly in as a highlight????

    Quincy Jones is a pioneer of modern music in every genre…did you forget that he produced classics such as Off the Wall and Thriller alongside MJ? The man has won over 100 grammy’s and worked with just about anyone who IS anyone in the music business…and he gets an honorable mention? You outta be ashamed!

    As for R. Kelly…I am sick and tired of ppl trying to justify his behavior with “Well he wasn’t found guilty!” So what, the man needs help and he will never get it until ppl man up and tell him that. We act as if he did nothing wrong. I never watched the movie either but he still needs to be admonished. You say ppl talk about him but that only really started recently after he asked Toure’ “what do you mean by teenage girls?” during that BET special. So don’t act like he wasn’t getting red carpet treatment up until that point!

    And calling him the Pied Piper isn’t going to rally many folks to your campaign for a music tribute. Some ppl just don’t deserve a pass, no matter how great they are talent wise. He is a talent and I won’t deny that, but he needs to be told the truth.

    • Detroit P

      ..and the “Missing the Point” award goes to..

      • keke

        so school me…what was the point i missed?

      • RonTucker

        How is she missing the point? She is absolutely right about the Quincy Jones point. As far as Kels, never been a big fan of his even before the pissing thing. He’s the biggest example of misused talent the world has ever seen.

      • keke

        Ok, so school me, what was the point?

        • BIGNAT

          he is trying to say he is talking about what he has done. not how fucked up he is as a person the same could be said about mj. the same could be said about james brown and quincy jones. they both have hit women before but the point is. there work and contributions to the music industry. what they have done to music making trends changing the whole way the music works.

        • Detroit P

          …and also, the people Rob wrote about were HIS personal favorites who he felt HE wanted to give recognition to for their work while they were alive…he used the honorable mentions to acknowledge those that he didn’t talk about at length…he was acknowledging that there were others who should also be getting their props while they’re still alive to hear\read them…this wasn’t a list of everybody who made good music, the Best rappers, the Greatest musicians, or a list of the greatest anything…it was just a list of people he felt should get their props and he acknowledge there were people he left out so he said “Who are yours”…did you just skim thru it?(c)JayZ

  • keke

    my bad about the double post, i didn’t see it when i reloaded the page.

  • DETROIT

    how bout THE FUNK BROTHERS! if you don’t know who they are…GOOGLE THEM!

    • DETROIT

      they have played on more number-one records than The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined!

    • oskamadison

      “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”…that’s what’s up!

  • $ykotic

    Nobody speaks of jprince? The man who employed most of the n*ggaz in the southern midwest?

    Why doesn’t XXL pick a day and make it old school and interview some of these people we’re dropping. Video’s? Pings? They can get their royalties back up…

    Cause some of these young cats could use some of the knowledge.

    • General

      Nice post Syk

      I feel ya on J Prince as he was to Texas what Master P was to New Orleans, Suge to LA, and Puffy to NY. The fact is J Prince been around since the late 80′s and is still runnin Rap-A-Lot to this day. How many other labels in hip-hop have been around that long?

    • latino heat

      co-sign Sykotic. J Prince never gets the respect he deserves as far as music goes. i commented a while back on Bol’s blog about Willie D that J Prince is what Suge tried to be all these years. the only reason i can figure that J dosen’t get his respect is because he never worried about being commercial. Rap-A-Lot was always for the streets.
      an example of how much J dosen’t care about main stream exposure,i remember when Scarface was on Def Jam for a short time J was mad at Lyor because he said he kept ‘Face an “enigma” all these years and J didn’t like the way Lyor was trying to commercialize ‘Face.

  • avon

    what about one of the most powerful voices ever along with one of the smoothest and silkiest DAVID RUFFIN and EDDIE KENDRICKS EVERYBODY GOTTA LOVE THE TEMPTATIONS MY GIRL AINT TO PROUD TO BEG THE WAY YOU DO THE THINGS YOU DO SINCE I LOST MY BABY THEY HITS DONT STOP AND RUFFIN ALONG WITH JAMES BROWN AND JACKIE WILSON INSPIRED MIKE

  • Beast McCoy

    You had to see this comment coming but here we go. How can you mention the genius of Quincy Jones in the same line as the flavor of the week catalog of lil wayne. Now, I am not going to disvalue anyone’s work but then again. Wayne has never touched my life like MJ, JB, Prince, Quincy, The Isleys, Isaac Hayes or if you have to mention some honorable mentions of his generation – Usher or Alicia Keys. Hey, it’s your opinion but damn I guess I don’t have to like it to appreciate your sentiment… that we all should appreciate the artists that make up the soundtrack of our lives. And I’ll say it now – THANK YOU one & all for your dedication, genius and passion.

  • BIGNAT

    i never liked prince until one night i was at the strip club. this white chick with a fat ass comes to the stage then some strange song came on. the guy was yelling pussy control and she was going crazy. when she got down off the stage i asked her to come over. i said who was singing that song she said prince. i didn’t think that little motherfucker could make a song like that. i started to check out more of his stuff he got some hits. i don’t own any of his music though homie will never be forgiven for wearing ass out jeans.

  • oskamadison

    Did this dude REALLY bypass Rakim, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Scarface and Nas for…WEEZY??!!!!!

    • oskamadison

      My bad. I guess I was that dude Detroit P was talkin’ about. Weren’t we suppoed to be talkin’ about those who are still here?…

  • http://myspace.com/dfranksound D Frank

    You wrote about Jay but not Quincy? that’s fucked up

  • Crash

    Lil Wayne aint no icon.

  • General

    Honestly there are a lot of artists that could be mentioned here…

    Scarface is a pioneer and a legend that I don’t feel has ever gotten the respect or love that he deserved throughout his career. He is one of the realest and nicest mc’s on the mic that has ever done it, but I think he has always been overlooked because he came from the south before it was cool to give love to southern rappers like Outkast…

    As far as artists that are hot right now that we should be enjoying while they are still here, I give that crown to Kanye whose influence on the hip-hop game and his contribution is undeniable and he is in his prime now with much more to music to be dropped

  • mazemayhim

    Raphael Saadiq…Jill Scott…and throw Bill Withers in there too. Now back to slappin The Jacka-”Tear Gas” aka rawest album to come out in June besides “The Ecstatic.”

  • latino heat

    somebody above mentioned Stevie Wonder’s live show, and i’ve got to co-sign. i’ve seen Stevie 2 times in the last 2 years and the man is incredible live. he does a 2-3 hour show with no opening acts and just rocks 30,000 – 40,000 people for the entire show playing his laundry list of hits.
    also have to co-sign Alicia Keys. i’ve been to more concerts than i can count, and Alicia is by far the best live performer i’ve ever seen. she also put’s on a 3 hour show of all her hits, you have to remember though she only has 3 studio albums.
    also people need to watch out for Ne-yo. the man has dropped 3 albums in 3 years and has kept the hits coming. as well as writing numerous hits for others in the last few years. he opened for Alicia at that concert and he was dope too.