On May 8, Time magazine published its annual “Time 100,” a list of the most influential people in the world. The tastemakers at the newsmagazine put Sean “Diddy” Combs on the list as a member of the “Builders & Titans” subset. In other news, Time reported that President Clinton was having a hard time dodging charges he had sex with his intern, and Michael Jordan and the Bulls were prepping for a run at their third consecutive NBA title…wait a minute, this isn’t 1998! Puffy is one of the most influential people in 2006?! Say what?
Obviously Time has a different demographic in mind for its top 100 list, but Diddy hasn’t been particularly influential in hip-hop since, well, since he became Diddy. Of course, the media-watchers here at XXL can’t let this foolishness pass. So herewith, we present the five most influential people in rap—fresh for the past 12 months, suckers.
// YOUNG JEEZY //
You think snap music is the ATL’s top hip-hop export this past year? Not even close. Try Jeezy’s Snowman T-shirts. It’s always good when rap takes something that once was clean and innocent and turns it into something the school boards want to ban. Everywhere you looked you saw a kid with a snowman on his chest. And it wasn’t ’cause they loved winter.
// KANYE WEST //
Kanye’s responsible for his own brand of old-school cool: the Carlton Banks phenomenon. And then there’s his outfit from the Grammys this year—straight outta Saturday Night Fever. Sure, it’s odd to see the hip-hop nation decked out like John Travolta circa ’77. But thankfully, no other rappers have used a giant teddy bear as their mascot—yet.
// CAM’RON //
Someone at the Wet Wipes company needs to send Cam a nice thank-you note, although he’s probably not real popular with chancleta manufacturers right now (Y’all know dudes shouldn’t be wearing sandals anyway). Pink’s still hot; and if you swagger-jack, you’re gonna get called out.
// 50 CENT //
From mixtapes to bodybuilding, Fif’s had the rap game following his every move for three years now, and this year has been no different. Everyone aspires to have their life story made for the silver screen, a platinum soundtrack and a stable of established rappers. You know you don’t want to be like Mike, but rather 50.
// JAY-Z //
Somebody’s responsible for Jim Jones’ presence in high-powered executive boardrooms. Fact is, Jay led the way 10 years ago when he started his own label, and he’s still setting trends today, with Lil Wayne assuming the presidency at Cash Money, Jermaine Dupri taking over Virgin and rumors of rappers grabbing executive spots left and right. Now if Mr. Throwbacks-to–Button-Ups could just influence people to buy more Memphis Bleek records…