How did we arrive at a point where Rolling Stone lists the Blueprint as the fourth best album of the decade, right behind Kid A, Is This It, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, while Supreme Clientele didn’t even make the list? A list that’s 100 albums long, mind you.
For comparison’s sake, Pitchfork had the Blueprint and Supreme Clientele as the top 2 rap albums of the ’00s. The former was fifth, behind the Radiohead album; Funeral; a Daft Punk album; and the Wilco album, while the latter just barely failed to crack the top 10. But it was still ahead of the rest of the rap albums on the list – at Pitchfork, a site known for its embarrassing rap coverage of rap music. Passion of the Weiss also had the Blueprint and Supreme Clientele as the top 2 rap albums of the aughts, in that order.
Yeah, I’m sure part of it is that Rolling Stone just plain didn’t know any better. With the economy in the state that it’s in, they probably had to let go of anyone who could have provided them with a list of good rap albums released this decade, even in the mail room, leaving them with a list that only includes the kind of rap music that’s most palatable to white people. Albums by Jay-Z, Outkast, Kanye West and the like. Rap music for people who like their rap music with a lot of R&B in it, but, oddly enough, have no use for actual R&B. Someone with the tools and the talent should investigate the dearth of R&B on Pitchfork and Rolling Stone’s lists. Maybe that guy from the New Yorker who tried to pronounce hip-hop dead a few weeks ago. I’m at a loss for why he’s so hated on. That guy’s fucking astute. That story he did a few years ago on how Pavement kinda sucked post-Slanted and Enchanted because they didn’t sound black enough was some of the realest shit that’s ever been written. I’m not saying there should have been more R&B albums on these lists. God forbid. I’m just saying. This could be a good opportunity for a few lulz.
Anyway, like I was saying, when times get hard like this, the elite have to get a little bit more racist, in order to preserve white privilege for future generations. That’s why you’re seeing all of these stories in the New York Times about how the recession, for black people, really began way the fuck back in 2000, when the tech bubble burst, and just continued unabated to this day; how black unemployment, in this current recession, is growing way faster than white unemployment; how black guys with advanced degrees from fancy schmancy schools try to make themselves look white on their resumes, and over the phone, just so they can get turned down for a job once they have to go interview in person; so on and so forth. Whether this is on order from the TIs, or if it’s something that takes place on a subconscious level, I’m not sure. I prefer to think it’s the former, because it fits better into my overall view of how the world works, but who knows. Either way, it may have played a role in Rolling Stone’s list.
Then there’s the fact that Jay-Z has become the hip-hop equivalent of a Bono or somebody, while Ghostface Killah is gradually becoming the equivalent of Wale. Jay-Z even once went to Africa and handed out water to babies with flies on their faces. Meanwhile, every new album by Ghostface, who once dreamed of helping babies with flies on their faces (back before it was all trendy), has sold less than the one that came before it, probably going back to Supreme Clientlele – if not all the way back to Ironman, for that matter. Most of them have at least been artistic triumphs, except for this most recent one, which really did suck balls. But that’s because Def Jam probably told all their rappers they had to load their albums down with R&B singers, if they wanted them to be released in 2009. Hence that Jadakiss album, that Fabolous album, and the Wizard of Poetry. To think, it probably wouldn’t have sold any worse, if they let Ghost work with a gang of underground producers, like on the beloved Fishscale. Anyway, that was the last album he owed Def Jam, and I can’t imagine they want him back, given the trajectory of his career. From there, it’s probably off to the Koch Graveyard. Damn.
And I’m assuming that’s why the Blueprint has come to be viewed as the best rap album of the aughts, while Supreme Clientele is either first loser, or not even on the damn list, depending on which site you read. The Ghostface album is way better, as far as I’m concerned (which is all that matters), but the Jay-Z album is way more “important.” I could come up with a shedload of albums that fall in between Supreme Clientele and the Blueprint on a list of the best rap albums this decade in order of actual quality, but these best of the decade lists can only include but so many rap albums, so as not to displace too many of the lesser indie rock groups. In that sense, I suppose we should be glad Supreme Clientele did as well as it did on these lists.