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Posse Revival: 25 To Life

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Anybody so pathetic to be checking twitter at 3 AM last night would have witnessed a minor blogger infight stemming from Passionoftheweiss.com’s Top 50 Rap Albums of the ’00′s series. According to the very narrow circle of rap critics polled, MF Doom, Ghostface and a bunch of white people are responsible for a great majority of this decade’s significant rap albums. I contributed to the list out of hopes of counterbalancing that sort of result. I guess I failed. But I’m also experiencing some minor deja vu here. (I used to run blogs like Juan Pierre.)

Below is my commentary on a “25 Best Rap Albums of All Time” blog meme spearheaded a few years ago by the same POW think tank. My own 25 albums list has been removed because it is immaterial. In fact after initially posting the list to XXL, I revised it dramatically several times. Nobody noticed. This resulted in fruitflies arguing against different iterations and missing the point completely. Which is usually what happens with these sort of lists. Arguments. The most useless lists aim to start them, the least successful ones fail to provoke anything else. This post originally ran at the other site on 4/23/07. I’d also like to direct readers to Roger Ebert’s recent take on the task of critical listmaking.

Perhaps you’ve seen this meme going around the blogoverse. Someone on the internet thought it’d be a good idea to have everybody on the internet compile their 25 rap albums and then argue about it. Nobody called me for my input. But that never stopped me from voicing my opinion. [1]

Personally, I’ve been trying to write that definitive list since I was twelve years old. So I can pin it to my chest and let the world know that I like rap and these are the raps I like the most. [2] But all it gets me is a headache and a blistered rewind button finger. I love list happy rap dorkism as much as the next man but all time lists are just too much.

I mean every rap record is a lot of rap records. We’re talking tens if not hundreds of thousands, I think. I heard Freddy Fresh went insane, and is still mumbling something about Ced G in an upstate asylum to this very day. And he was just working with the first decade of recorded rap.

I don’t want to have to pit Resurrection against The Resurrection or Aint’ a Damn Thang Changed against Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed.

I don’t want to pen the list of nothing but Native Tongues, Wu-Tang, Dungeon Family & Juice Crew records rattling around in the back of my head. [3]

I definitely don’t have any interest in reinforcing the OMFGILLMATIC canon, I also would feel remiss in not mentioning that OMFG Illmatic is one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

I don’t want to scribe a Random Rap Nurse With Wound list either. The ebay market is already out of control as it is. And I know you know I can get obscure.

Does a poorly produced album with good raps make the grade? Sorry, Ras Kass.

Where do the dudes who drop dozens of classic singles, but never got their shit together for a full length fall?

Impact or interest?

I thought to break it down to the very last compound. Top 25 rap albums from the South. Top 25 rap albums from the West. Top 25 rap albums from Oakland. Top 25 rap albums from Queensbridge. Top 25 rap albums from Boise City. Top 25 rap albums with polka dots on the cover. Top 25 rap albums with coffins on the cover. Top 25 rap albums with polka dotted coffins on the cover. Nothing stuck.

It’s like choosing which child you love the most. Except I have hundreds of them (word to ODB and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins).

And I’m not going to do it…

Aww fuck it. As the fruit flies must bat their wings, the rap dorks must make their meaningless lists. It’s kept to one album per artist, as per the rules laid out by the Crawford Standard.

[list redacted]

And yes… NOTHING BEFORE ‘84! NOTHING AFTER ‘02! NO PAC! NO G RAP! NO KWAME! NO 36 CHAMBERS! NO 400 DEGREEZ! NO PLEASE HAMMER DONT HURT ‘EM! PAID IN FULL AND NOT FOLLOW THE LEADER?! ATLIENS AND NOT SOUTHERNPLAYALISTIK?! VOL. 3 AND NOT THE DYNASTY?!

WHY?!

Because I hate hip hop, clearly.

I do this because I hate it.

Very little thought was put into this list, but much thought was put into how to think about this list. Then those thoughts were folded up into a paper airplane and thrown out the window at a high velocity. So please don’t take it too too seriously. I sure didn’t.

[1] All this metablogging’s making me itch. But big shouts to my coworkers Billy and Bolly, whom I usually butt heads with over rap minutiae, but who both put together fairly undeniable lists of rap classics, give or take a few minor missteps, IMHO.

[2] Has anybody seen those all over print jackets with the classic album titles/logos on it? I wish I could find a link for it on the internet, because I suspect many of you won’t know what I’m talking about. Anyway, I want a custom one with Paper Chase and Piece Of Mind and Direct From The Backstreet. That will be the next list “Top 25 Album Titles I Want Printed on My Technicolor Dream Rap Jacket.”

[3] A rap crew for every season – think about it.

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128 Responses to “Posse Revival: 25 To Life”

  1. DocZeus Says:

    When you watch “High Fidelity” do you complain that John Cusack’s lists don’t feature enough Project Pat, too?

  2. noz Says:

    This isn’t about Project Pat, you troll. It’s about a group of mostly outsiders and neophytes rewriting the story of hip hop from the safe distance of their ivory towers. It’s about the predictability of criticism and critics. It’s about the deterioration of a promising and potentially boundary crossing medium into a few self affirming circle jerks.

    Project Pat wasn’t on my list. Aesop Rock was.

  3. david Says:

    john cusack’s lists do not contain enough project pat

  4. S.M. Says:

    Ironically, Project Pat’s lists feature a shitload of JOAN Cusack.

  5. faux_rillz Says:

    Wow, that list is embarassing.

    By “critics” polled, do you mean “regular posters on http://www.okayplayer.com“?

  6. mark p. Says:

    This is literally EXACTLY how I would have pictured such a list to turn out. I even guessed the exact major label/non-”underground” albums that would be on there (Purple Haze, both Clipse albums, Fishscale rated above any other Ghostface joint except Supreme Clientele, at least one of the first three Kanyes, etc), but I think this says more about how much time I spend paying attention to this sort of thing than anything else. Only thing surprising about it is the way some albums were ordered, but I guess the rank doesn’t really mean anything before the top 10.

    Also, this argument is played out, but Soul On Ice does NOT have weak beats! If that album was, like, a Grand Daddy I.U. album from ’95, people would probably talk about how good the beats are. And for that matter, “Here To Save Us All” isn’t a poorly produced album either.

  7. david Says:

    biggest lols are from high-rated Streets sophomore LP (i mean the 1st one ranking at all is kinda corny but at least its an enjoyable record on its own terms…)

  8. david Says:

    a grand dont come for free — better rap record than ‘king’ & ‘underground kingz’!

  9. Abe Beame Says:

    Aesop Rock ranked and Mista Dont Play didnt?

  10. noz Says:

    Officially, I don’t think Pat is a great album artist. Ghetty Green is his only full length that stays in my car.

    Unofficially, I just sort of forgot to put him on there.

  11. DocZeus Says:

    “This isn’t about Project Pat, you troll. It’s about a group of mostly outsiders and neophytes rewriting the story of hip hop from the safe distance of their ivory towers. It’s about the predictability of criticism and critics. It’s about the deterioration of a promising and potentially boundary crossing medium into a few self affirming circle jerks.”

    When can I expect you to start teaching a sociology class at a tier three liberal arts college in Maryland? I can’t wait to sign up and have my naive, privileged white kid brain be expanded by your big ideas.

  12. david Says:

    yeah, dont forget to bash him for being liberal too

  13. david Says:

    i bet he voted for obama!!

  14. sam Says:

    “Where do the dudes who drop dozens of classic singles, but never got their shit together for a full length fall?”

    In regards to this, and yes this is a very rockist perspective, but these artists shouldn’t be considered. Even though rap really was never truthfully a whole album type”ever since the beatles came along” type of music, I think the concept of an album as a whole as work of art is something that should be significant in all types of music.

    also the list is kinda fucked/horribly skewed even though if i made my own it would look very similar.

    also in regards to the ebert thing, the PoTW list really fails in the sense that its not really shining light on many not obvious albums. its not good propaganda. for anybody that actually really did listen to rap over the last decade it probably elicited like a “yep, un huh, I can see that” reaction.

  15. douglas martin Says:

    just like our little chat on twitter last night, i’m glad that you at least sort of acknowledged that there are not only white writers for passion of the weiss. and for that, i sort of thank you for the second night in a row. the whole “ivory tower” thing kinda doesn’t sit well with me, though, because i think i’ve written about racism and being piss-poor explicity on passion of the weiss.

    “It’s about the deterioration of a promising and potentially boundary crossing medium into a few self affirming circle jerks.”

    is this about the not-really-true statement that the writers for passion have very similar tastes? because i don’t think you actually understand how many impassioned arguments we actually have over rap records. the writers of passion of the weiss are all men, and moreso, we’re all individuals. the list was TALLIED, because, contradictory to what other writers have implied, we are a STABLE of writers and not “one writer and his little cronies.” we’re all men. we all have opinions of our own.

    i guess i’m kinda sour (i say “kinda” because this is the internet, and i’ve been through enough REAL drama to shrug my shoulders over internet beef) primarily because YOU WERE ASKED to contribute in order to give the list a broader spectrum of opinion. but whatever. it’s a big enough deal for me to comment, but not a big enough deal for me to think about after i hit that “submit” button.

    be well, mr. noz.

  16. TSF Says:

    That’s just a really weird list, I don’t get it at all. Why iis “The Black Album” even on there? I was happily surprised to see you put “Warriorz” up though. Dayum, “Ante Up” was and is one of the best street anthems of the 00s. To this day it gets me amped up!

    Also, let me be an asshole for a minute and say didn’t this post run on the other site in ’08, not ’09?

  17. bding7 Says:

    Something else this list is lacking that goes along with the idea of “lists as propaganda” is a sense of cohesion to the past decade in rap. The list should reflect the aesthetic trend(s) of the moment. Honestly, looking at the list as a whole, how has The Blueprint influenced more rap this decade than any other album? It all just feels very slapdash.

  18. mark p. Says:

    I like all of Pat’s albums, for the most part (the one that came out this year is probably his worst), but I don’t think any of his albums would make even a top 50 of the decade list. Well, maybe “Mista Don’t Play” would, for a while I was listening to that every day. Ghetty Green is dope, but it has a few too many guests.

  19. ANU Says:

    would you give us your list ?

  20. noz Says:

    Douglas – This is definitely not beef. This is a disagreement.

    When I say ivory tower I am talking less of economic background or upbringing but of a distinctly “high brow” taste that’s almost entirely out of step with popular opinion in hip hop circles. Even the few populist/street/southern selections reek of tokenism – King over Trap Muzik, Underground Kingz over Dirty Money, Purple Haze over Diplomatic Immunity, Carter 3 over everything else Wayne has ever recorded. Always their most visible albums. It suggests a general indifference towards if not complete misunderstanding of these artists catalogs, where every single minor strand of Ghostface or Dooms catalog was considered in great detail. (Viktor Vaughn? Really?)

    I’ve said this here before but I learned more about rap in my first year or two of blogging than I did in the 20 previous. Sites like Somanyshrimp and Gelandweave were covering C-Murder and Camu Tao in the same breath. The Houstonsoreals and GovernmentNames were shining all kinds of light on unheard local artists while not alienating outsiders. I don’t see that diversity of opinions and taste and ideas in rap blogs in 2009. Everyone has gone off and formed their little tribes, simply reaffirming what they already know and patting each other on the backs for it. I don’t get the idea that anybody really wants to be exposed to anything that doesn’t fit their particular world view which is why a list like this is pretty much pointless.

    And it’s hard to look at POW as anything but a “Weiss and his cronies” situation. I mean his name is in the URL.

  21. noz Says:

    Also would anybody be particularly offended if I were to block Doc Zeus’ IP?

  22. duncan Says:

    i remember your list was pretty much the same as every other list which i thought was kinda funny. imma go find it now!

  23. tHe tRaNsIeNt Says:

    i wud andrew

    doc zeus may be a trad annoying backpacking faggit ov da highest order but a trad backpacking faggit in da commentz is necce$$ary

    andrewz xxl list whurr he had soul food and resurrection in da top spotz wuz different 2 tha one he originally had on hurr wit ..is dead in first p1ace

    useewhutimsayin

  24. tHe tRaNsIeNt Says:

    also, i see tha point u makin’ about tokenizm but do u rea11y think dirty money iz betta than underground kingz?

  25. david Says:

    i would take ‘da unbreakables’ over 99% of that PotW list.

  26. david Says:

    i thought houston was supposed to have changed the world? even get ya mind correct didnt make it? Were ‘made’ and ‘emeritus’ really worse than ‘be’?

  27. tseliot Says:

    Noz,

    People have difficulty with the argument that you’re putting forth because it fundamentally disaffirms the entire basis on which they form their opinions. You’re basically exposing them to their subconscious reasons for doing what they do. And you’re right. When an album by a black artist becomes “white enough” to hit the mainstream, it becomes their de facto “best album,” and that’s both discrediting to them as artists and–let’s be honest–implicitly racist.

    And there is NO WAY that “King” should EVER rate above “Trap Muzik.” But, as a white guy, maybe it’s just because I got into Trap Muzik earlier… Who knows. Good commentary though…

  28. noz Says:

    Duncan – everyone else’s list had both Turf Talk albums?

  29. DocZeus Says:

    Before Noz takes his ball and goes home and bans me, I’d like to get one last thing in:

    The reason I loathe Noz’s back-asswards, regressive way of thinking so much is he is under the faulty impression that he has some sort of moral high ground over folks like myself, his commenters, backpack rap fans, and other rap writers (white or otherwise) because his site has decidedly populist bent.

    This man is a white rap writer writing for National Public Radio and yet has the temerity to take shots at another writer for living in an Ivory Tower. He works for NPR, people. The Ivory Tower, itself. Every word of his drips with a level of hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness that literally defies explanation.

    This is a man that spent the last week taking shots non-stop for at Jeff Weiss and the rest of them over twitter and then has the fucking GALL to link to a post from his days at XXL where the basic thesis is that rap lists are essentially meaningless because they can’t possibly fit everything in that truly belongs in. Well if they are so meaningless, Why the fuck do you care?

    He’s being unbelievably disengenous when he tells you that his reasons for criticism are what they are. It’s about Project Pat. It’s always been.

    To quote, the guy who ended up with the number one album on Weiss’ list: “And this is who you want to place your faith…”

    Ban me, coward.

  30. david Says:

    buh bye u boner

  31. noz Says:

  32. Jonathan Says:

    Noz, I’m glad you voted in this poll. It helped us represent a more diverse range of voices, and the list was measurably affected by that. Your vote, for instance, ensured Purple Haze and Underground Kingz made the cut (though I could find similar examples for anyone who voted in this list). And I’m glad you’ve been having this discussion; lord knows our list isn’t perfect or immune for criticism. For all that it did right, many excellent albums from this decade were missing. We acknowledged as much from the start, I believe. But for the records that did rank, I’m glad the people who do like them got the opportunity to talk about them. I would have prefered Trap Muzik over Edan at number 27, but I sure was pleased to read what Aaron Matthews had to say about the latter, even if I have no interest in it as a piece of music.

    While the battle you are fighting is in some ways real, we are not the enemy. We’re a bunch of guys who asked around for some lists of records, and compiled a Top 50 out of them. And whatever you think of the supposed ideology of our list, you surely agree it contains a fair few excellent records. Fourteen of them were on your own ballot.

    I do note, also, that you voted for Purple Haze over Diplomatic Immunity. Was that tokenism?

  33. pileofshirt69 Says:

    I have to say, the line of thinking in:

    “The reason I loathe Noz’s back-asswards, regressive way of thinking so much is he is under the faulty impression that he has some sort of moral high ground over folks like myself, his commenters, backpack rap fans, and other rap writers (white or otherwise) because his site has decidedly populist bent.

    This man is a white rap writer writing for National Public Radio and yet has the temerity to take shots at another writer for living in an Ivory Tower. He works for NPR, people. The Ivory Tower, itself. Every word of his drips with a level of hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness that literally defies explanation.”

    Is exactly why the blogosphere is in the shape that it’s in. Notice, it’s not Noz’s words that are being debated or refuted, but where his words are coming from. You aren’t attacking the writer for what he’s written, but who he is and who he isn’t. Granted, such criticism has its place under certain circumstances, but when you avoid what’s written entirely just to attack the person and make the occasional reference back to it, you aren’t making any real point other than ‘I know of this writer more than he thinks I does so my sweeping generalization is valid.’

    But what gets me is his initial reaction:

    “When can I expect you to start teaching a sociology class at a tier three liberal arts college in Maryland? I can’t wait to sign up and have my naive, privileged white kid brain be expanded by your big ideas.”

    The greatest trick pseudo-academia poses is making any opposing voice seem equal or beneath its level. What I think goes mostly unnoticed about Noz’s posts within the blogosphere is that he just about removes himself ENTIRELY from his posts themselves. Having read the site for almost a half-decade, I can tell you very little about Noz himself. I’ve never heard him wax poetically how a Crunchy Black verse make him decide to go to college, never heard him discuss what he drank with his Hardee’s Monster Burger on his last day of high school as blasted Kilo’s “The Bloody City” out of his Walkman, I’ve never even seen his face. That’s what makes him a good writer and his site so consistent. He’s one of the most known and most covered blogs because he hasn’t been concerned with his own celebrity status. He steps the fuck out of the way and lets the music speak for itself. He’s “self-aware” enough to not write about himself at all.

    So to assume that his approach is some cultural studies bullshit is not only absurd but irritating. As a reader, I think the greatest plague to “this Hip-Hop Kul’cha 4 elementz, son” is the post-post modernist filter every genre (and writer) critique has to go through before it’s considered palatable. Ever try to find a book on TuPac that didn’t read like a masculinity thesis? Ever read an article about Lil Wayne in a major publication that didn’t write off his (as ‘Time Magazine’ put it) “laughably bad” Hot Boyz days in favor of his current incarnation as a musical genius because he’s blatantly referencing things people outside the 3rd Ward projects are familiar with? Noz is an endangered species, a MUSIC WRITER who WRITES ABOUT MUSIC. He doesn’t have to fill every song he covers with post-Derrida slam poet hubris. He writes what’s great and why it is. The site is “Cocaine Blunts and Hip-Hop Tapes” NOT “Cocaine Blunts and the Othering of the Masculine Gaze of Capitalism Through the Feminine Mystique.”

    So what if he writes for NPR? He’s a good writer. He tells you what he thinks and why he thinks it. I disagree with him sometimes, but I enjoy and have tremendous respect for his perspective. He’s not regressive or as antagonistic as you would like to believe. How about you stop making excuses for other writers and either debate using examples or lead by it yourself.

    I own Project Pat’s discography and my favorite full length of his is “Crook By the Book.” I own the TI discography and while he’s a better rapper on “Trap Musik,” I think “King’s” soundscape makes it a better album. I think Sean Price’s “Monkey Barz” is one of the best albums this decade. In the past week I’ve watched both “Belly” and Master P’s “Black Supaman” and my appreciation and criticism of both doesn’t revolve solely around mise en scene.

    Noz has never used “conscious” as an adjective or “other” as a verb and that’s why I come to this site.

  34. mark p. Says:

    So I just checked your twitter, and what really surprised me was this:

    the lost dollhouse episode was much better than any that actually aired on tv http://tinyurl.com/mtmeac8:32 PM Aug 5th from web

    The first season of Dollhouse has already come and gone??? When I first heard about it and saw the trailer I was more psyched for it than any show in a minute (huge Buffy/Angel/Firefly/Serenity fan), but I just totally forgot about it until now. It must have not ever made it to the UK, or at least none of the TV channels I have. Just checked wiki and it seems like they’re doing at least one more season though, so that’s cool.

    but anyway, I agree with what you’re saying about making this type of list for anything just being kind of meaningless. Doing it entirely based on personal taste alone would make it nearly impossible to put things in order, and you’d have to mention that you’re leaving anywhere from 50 to 500 records out because there was no room or you couldn’t remember them. For these lists to actually be “important”, you’d have to base it entirely on how big of an impact the records made, and whether they played a small or large part in creating a sound that other artists copied. But then there would be no point in making one, since someone could find exactly the same list on 30 other sites.

    Basically they just exist so that heads can be like “holy shit, someone likes Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em more than Paid In Full???” or “someone REALLY liked that shitty ass Lupe album enough to put it in the top 5 of the year?”, and people seem to be fine with that.. How “useful” they are to anyone is debatable, but so is the idea that they should actually strive to be “useful”.

  35. DocZeus Says:

    Pileofshirt-

    I’m not attacking Noz for working at NPR. You are right that’s totally and completely irrelevant. I’m attacking Noz for attacking Jeff Weiss on the grounds that his list is somehow “elist” because its written by “a group of mostly outsiders and neophytes rewriting the story of hip hop from the safe distance of their ivory towers” especially when Noz under his own definition is an outsider himself and works in one of the great ivory towers of the media. Its pure hypocrisy. What gives Noz the right to say that? Jeff Weiss is on the same equal footing as Noz is. He writes for the L.A. Weekly and L.A. Times critiquing hop hop as Noz does with NPR. Noz thinks he’s on some high-ground because as he says “talking less of economic background or upbringing but of a distinctly “high brow” taste that’s almost entirely out of step with popular opinion in hip hop circles” I’m sorry to say he doesn’t. Or at least, not in the way, he thinks he does.

    The reason I’m not bothering to remotely engage in his asinine opinions is that I don’t believe for a second those are his ACTUAL reasons for his anger at the poll. I’m not gonna waste my time debating his manufactured reasons for the anger.

    Secondly, the reason my initial response was so curt was I thought this snarky bullshit post deserved an equally snarky bullshit response. I probably should have just kept it at that. But as Noz says “I’m mad.” Damn, right.

  36. Jeff Says:

    A few quick points only because I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to rebut every one of the arguments set forth here. As I said via e-mail, I’d love to debate this at length on either one of our sites, rather than like a fruit fly in the comment section.

    1. Your characterization of the list is purposely misleading. As I admit in the intro, I don’t think Doom himself believes that he should have four albums included. Moreover, I have trouble with the misleading generalization that the list is essentially “a bunch of white people.” No one will ever argue that race isn’t a factor in a discussion of hip-hop, but anyone paying attention to the underground over the last 13 years can’t ignore that a sizable quotient of it is white. I’m not sure why you’re continuing to feign surprise that white person could create a great rap album? This isn’t the days of House of Pain or Vanilla Ice. We’ve been post-Eminem for a decade and still, you’re trying to pretend that white people can’t make a sizable contribution to the art form. I know you know better. After all, you wouldn’t have spent a week eulogizing Tony D if you didn’t. It smacks of a generally reactionary and closed-minded viewpoint that has no analogue to any form of popular music. To deny that hip-hop, the blues, or jazz are art forms rooted in the African-American experiences is stupid. But that didn’t stop Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Dylan, Jimmy Page, Jack White, et. al, from drawing upon them to create amazing indelible works.

    Whether you dislike “Beauty and the Beat” is a different point from your decision to make ad hominem attacks based on race. The votes didn’t annoint MC Paul Barman or anyone from Anticon. They picked Aesop Rock (who you voted for), the Streets (one of the most critically acclaimed rappers of the decade,) El-P (the guy who made Funcrusher Plus), Edan (a guy you used to laud and is as hip-hop as anyone. I know you have the Fast Rap mixtape and like it) and Eminem. That’s seven out of 50 albums made by white people–a paltry 14 percent. Only one in the final 25. It was a purposely misleading comment and I’d appreciate if you acknowledged that.

    2. This poll was intended to be an average. Was the sample set skewed? Of course. Any pollster would tell you that’s a natural fact of the business. You make it seem like there was some nefarious plot to ram-rod our tastes down everyone’s throats. I didn’t know how the thing would turn out and attempted to poll as diverse a spectrum as possible. In the end, it’s a pretty fair if not very flawed list. The points I made in the intro to it all, were sincere and well-meaning, not an attempt to back-pedal. How many times do we need to say THIS IS ALL SUBJECTIVE. Just because it didnt gibe with your tastes says as much about you as it does about the voters. You are not the average rap fan. You still listen to cassette tapes (which I’m all for ), but I just don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that not everyone has heard every one of those albums.

    Just yesterday, I spoke with one of the voters, a lifelong hip-hop fan, who can wax fluently about Binary Star and Dipset, Special Ed and Steinski, and he admitted that was really anxious to hear “Warriorz” because of the list. That’s a good thing and I don’t see how you could argue otherwise. I asked you to vote in the hopes of balancing it out, it didn’t happen. However, when we post the full lists later today, your ballot will be there. People will have the opportunity to see your top 50 and hopefully discover some great new albums. Again, this is a good thing. You don’t need to be so dismissive of the enterprise, just because you have some disagreements (some certainly valid, but some unfounded).

    3. You mention that the inclusion of Purple Haze, King, Underground Kingz reeks of tokenism. Perhaps–but I also know that a lot of people love those albums. You yourself love those albums. Just because your preferred choices didn’t make the finished list reflects the nature of the albums in question. For someone who’s rooting much of their argument in populism vs. elitism, it’s a bit contradictory to ignore the fact that “Purple Haze” sold more than “Diplomatic Immunity” “Underground Kingz” was U.G.K’s highest charting album ever, and “King” was T.I.’s most critically and commercially viable. Personally, I voted for “UGK 4 Life,” and think “Trap Muzik” is better than “King,” but these are the albums that had the most impact with the most people. Not on the Internet, but in real life, and sales and radio play can attest to that. Do I think this is the ideal barometer for an album’s quality? Of course not, but then again, I’m not trying to take a populist tack, you are.

    4. I resent the characterization of Potw as “me and my cronies.” I’ll be the first one to acknowledge that I would prefer the site be called something else, so as not to make me the focus. When I began it, four years ago, it wasn’t a music blog, it was just a place for me to vent my frustrations about whatever was irritating me–mostly the city of Los Angeles. Obviously, its focus and scope is wholly different today and a different name would be unquestionably more appropriate.

    But I’m not about to change the site’s name and URL, deal with the incredible hassle, and probably significant lost readership just to alter the wrong-headed perception that it is me and everyone else. The most important thing to me is good-writing, not taste, and perhaps the most frustrating thing about this endeavor is that no one notices that a lot of people spent a lot of time crafting really good analysis and prose. Instead, everyone wants to argue about (yes) “ivory tower” arguments about populism v. elitism, South v. North, whether The Streets calls french fries chips and is therefore, entirely worthless. When was the last time you saw a rap list that featured that much good edited writing and critical thought? With rap mags withering on the vine, someone has to step up and do something. You might dismiss the results, but you can’t ignore the effort.

    The brunt of the blogosphere either contains labyrinthine convoluted pseudo-academic gobbeldigook or one sentence posts with Zshare links. We tried to create something that people would enjoy to read. Even the most inveterate haters have acknowledged that there’s been a lot of good writing. Again, this is something to celebrate, rather than malign.

    5. As you said earlier, this is not beef but disagreement. I welcome that and wish the tone could be more civil. You don’t need to resort to re-tweeting things about how I’m trying to revive Hip-Hop Infinity. I don’t think you believe that, but the general invective regarding the list has often been immature and silly. Despite disagreeing with much of this post (but agreeing with some), I appreciate you at least opening up room for discussion/. However, I think your method of back and forth is often condescending and dismissive, particularly towards Douglas and Zeus. I wish you’d listen to the other perspective more. This is something I’m not very good at, but am actively trying to do. It would benefit you to do the same.

    At the end of the day, this is just one list, not an all-encompassing attempt to re-draw the canon or re-define hip-hop. There are many more important things going on outside everyone’s window. I think we could all benefit from taking a deep breath (or toke) and calming the fuck down.

  37. GROOVE Says:

    Jeff-

    Well said! (And this is coming from a fan of both CBRAP and PoTW.)

  38. noz Says:

    Nothing I said was intended to be dismissive or condescending to Douglas. Zeus is a contrarian troll who debates not with facts and ideas but presumptions and sweeping character generalizations. He deserves nothing but my dismissal and condescension.

    As for populism vs. elitism – once you call Madvillain the #3 rap album of the decade you throw all concept of populism out the window. I am only asking that the catalogs of rap artists who are actually popular are afforded the same consideration. I think a distinction needs to be drawn between populism and critical populism, you know?

    I suspect you and I have very different ideas about what constitutes good music writing, but that’s probably a conversation for another day.

    I don’t listen to cassette tapes anymore.

    I am okay with the existence of this list if it has inspired one person to hear Warriorz for the first time.

    And most white people rap poorly. Deal with it.

  39. Jeff Says:

    Fair.

    And yes, most white people are terrible at rapping.

  40. noz Says:

    POS brings up a good example in the Hot Boyz being rewritten as joke/kiddie rappers in the wake of 2008 Waynia. While they certainly were something of a punchline in critical and purist circles, they were highly respected by a large number of hip hop listeners. Lists like these only reinforce that sort of disconnect in criticism. Thirty years from now when Tom Breihan Jr. wants to know the best rap albums of 2k he is not going to hit the barbershop, but the blogs. He might find Weiss’ and see a past where Young Jeezy and Beanie Sigel were less significant than Edan. And then his modern criticism is going to reflect that false history.

  41. DocZeus Says:

    “Zeus is a contrarian troll who debates not with facts and ideas but presumptions and sweeping character generalizations. He deserves nothing but my dismissal and condescension.”

    This is going on my blog-line.

  42. mark p. Says:

    Wait

    “rap artists who are actually popular”?

    Regardless of whether you think the albums in the top 10 are token choices or not, it should be pointed out that 8 of those albums have probably sold a combined total of well over 20 million copies. And the other two are maybe the biggest selling independent rap albums of the decade (except for Tech N9ne or ICP or whatever). The whole list is just kind of a general best-of list that’s clearly written with kind of a “backpack” bias, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, since it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Do you think someone who buys every album on Thizz Ent. would have included an Aesop Rock record on his list?

    And you may have known loads of people who were really into both No Limit and Slum Village back in the day, but it certainly wasn’t the norm among hip-hop fans until maybe the past 5 years (also, I didn’t really feel like pointing this out, but all those Pitchfork guys who got really into Dipset and Three 6 Mafia back then probably have a lot to do with ‘backpack’ bloggers being more accepting of this stuff. I doubt any UGK album would have appeared on the list if you’d done the same poll with the same people in 1999). I distinctly remember only the really dedicated heads being into the “ignorant southern shit” their friends hated on.

    Note: the term “backpack” here is used in an entirely lazy catch-all sort of way.

  43. walkmasterflex Says:

    rap bloggers are outta control

  44. Sach O Says:

    Although I hate to put my faith in Tom Breihan Jr, hopefully he realizes the difference between critical opinion and the popularity of a record. That disconnect isn’t new, if you look at old Pazz and Jop polls, you don’t see Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin winning over the critics. That said, I don’t fear for Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Plant’s estate and I think Jeezy and (to a lesser extent, Beanie) will be alright: they had major hits and were part of significant moments in musical history. Worst case scenario? DMX minus the crack addiction and Buckshot minus the business sense.

    If anything, the Edan’s of the world have more to lose: they live and die on critical reputation and word of mouth among a smaller target audience. The same can be said about Turf Talk, Mac Dre, Trae, Z-Ro, The Team, etc. Do I wish more people would have voted for a Bay Area record and Restless instead of those Streets albums? Yes I do. But I’m not going to demonize the process because of it. If anything that sort of underground vs. underground mentality helps no one and discourages people from listening to something new because they build up their identity around extremes that are totally incompatible with what’s on the other side of the spectrum.

    I’m glad Cocaine Blunts is around to be a voice supporting music that others don’t and wished a few more people read it even if I only like a percentage of the music that’s put up. I probably agree with a lot of stuff you picked, if not for Top 50 than Top 100. But I also like a lot of stuff that did make the list and refuse to discriminate against it on the basis of origins/authenticity.

  45. Trey Stone Says:

    not sure i’m getting this whole populist argument. “King’s” better than “Trap Muzik,” “Purple Haze” is by far better than “Diplomatic Immunity” and “Carter III” is easily better than Wayne’s Hot Boyz-era stuff. no critical conspiracy involved. i guess i can see the argument that this stuff shouldn’t be painted as irrelevant in its time or anything, but they don’t need to be forced into a top something list if they aren’t very good.

  46. david Says:

    ““Carter III” is easily better than Wayne’s Hot Boyz-era stuff.”

    This is just flat-out untrue

  47. david Says:

    Sach O, why does Edan deserve to live on his critical reputation. Does he deserve it more than Z-Ro or Trae?

    There’s another word for artists surviving on the critical appreciation of mostly white critics, rather than populist success: white privilege

  48. Sach O Says:

    Umm…I wrote “The same can be said about Turf Talk, Mac Dre, Trae, Z-Ro, The Team, etc.” The same. As in equal.

    There are also terms reserved for white critics who heap praise on black artists solely on the basis of percieved “blackness”: cultural tourism, white guilt and overcompensation.

    That said, that isn’t an accusation, simply me pointing out the other side of the coin.

  49. david Says:

    congratulations on pointing out the other side of the coin. but noz voted for aesop rock right? so that doesnt really apply here

    but the lack of self-awareness or self-criticism is … bad. this argument makes no sense to me:

    “Do I wish more people would have voted for a Bay Area record and Restless instead of those Streets albums? Yes I do. But I’m not going to demonize the process because of it. If anything that sort of underground vs. underground mentality helps no one and discourages people from listening to something new because they build up their identity around extremes that are totally incompatible with what’s on the other side of the spectrum.”

    why?? u dont think these artists being super-over-praised isnt related to all kind of ppl feeling ‘discouraged’ to take artists like z-ro & turf talk seriously? i think being critical of the obvious biases involved in this process is absolutely necessary & not in any way harmful. Unless u think ignorance is bliss

  50. mark p. Says:

    Wayne might be a better rapper on Carter III than he was on Get It How U Live or whatever, but it’s still the worst album of his career from a musical standpoint. About 1/3 of the album is impossible to listen to ’cause it sucks so bad.. It loses 8,000 points for “Mrs. Officer” alone.

  51. david Says:

    it was a generic major label album w/ wayne being weird on top. nothing particularly special about that … fukkin generic roc a fella soul beats & the occasional miami supergroup track

  52. Abe Beame Says:

    I can’t tell you how similarly we’ve responded to this list. I’ve kind of been stewing in quiet frustration not really wanting to be an asshole but also really wanting to be an asshole. The only thing I would say in response to your critique is based on your expectations it’s kind of a no-win situation in the act of compilation. I think the list is best defined by it’s #1, both in the selection and the review.

    The Blueprint was an ultimate “safe” record made at the outset of the decade. Sach’s review is good but ends with a lengthy personal anecdote. That anecdote is this list, seemingly the only essential criteria was personal importance. To me, your trip to the record store and your parents and your worldview at the time should have zero to do with your best album of the decade list. There was seemingly no pause to consider any greater question of popular impact or importance.

    In assuming I moral high ground I think we’re both being slightly dishonest. Personal taste is going to factor in, it just is. I’m guilty of tokenism without a doubt and I’m sure to an extent you’ve been too (Noz) hence the removal of your physical list from this post. Mista don’t play was 19 on my list in front of Gangsta & a Gentleman. I don’t know how important those records are but I can see how someone who likes The Knife could like Viktor Vaughn as much as I like Mood Muzik 2. If this experiment failed it’s due to the sample, and I don’t know how many rap fans are out there writing on the internet of the same mind as we are. (I had Trap Muzik not King, Dirty Money not Kingz, Hell Hath no Fury was totally absent and Purple Haze over Immunity because it was a better record)

    Also, to both you and David. STOP SAYING WAYNE WAS BETTER WITH THE HOT BOYZ WHEN HE WAS JUST SQUEAKING AROUND JUVIE SAYING THE MOST BORING OBVIOUS EVERY-MC SHIT EVER IN A TOTALLY STRAIGHT FORWARD WAY. IT MAKES YOU SOUND LIKE THE STUBBORN, OBSOLETE OBSCURIST ASSHOLES DUMB NEW JACK INTERNET CHILDREN CARICATURE YOU AS. YOU DONT HAVE ANY GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF WAYNE BECAUSE YOU LIKED HIM WHEN CRITICS HATED ON HIM. THAT ISNT EVEN TRUE. GUERILLA WARFARE GOT 4 1/2 FUCKING MICS.

    Im not saying Wayne’s mixtape work wasnt great. Its crucial to fully appreciating TC3 in recognizing what made him great. One sentence got cut out of my TC3 write up. I’m gonna post the full end of the text because I think it defined my logic for the list and I think you should consider it everytime you bash the album: “Some will tell you TC3 is his worst album. By some criteria perhaps they have a point. It matters little. This is Lil Wayne’s Ficciones. A bright, shining realization of style certified on the biggest stage with a platinum plaque at a moment in which numbers that gaudy had become a distant memory. It’s crazy and courageous, absurd in a way only this generation’s Hip Hop can be. Hate it or love it, it’s album whose impact will be felt for decades to come.”

  53. david Says:

    how many late 90s source critics were included in this poll?

    I would take both the 1st 2 carters over carter 3

  54. noz Says:

    “Also, to both you and David. STOP SAYING WAYNE WAS BETTER WITH THE HOT BOYZ”

    I’ve never said that.

  55. Abe Beame Says:

    David- I think you’re wrong respectfully, both Carters were great but the 1st felt really New York/classically oriented and 2 felt like a shameless mainstream grab. Neither really reflected his mixtape aesthetic and something I realized in conversation on the train last night is other than the fact it went platinum “The Carter 3 Sessions” might’ve surpassed the album. I think you’re right Noz. I wrote a lengthy response to your great request for links last week, with links, but it dissolved in internet ether and I realized it wasnt worth either of our times. But, you sure you never endorsed 500 Degreez over a Carter album or newer Wayne shit in general at some point? I could swear you have and I would qualify that as still in the Hot Boyz era.

  56. Trey Stone Says:

    “might be a better rapper” — understatement

    i mean, i dig some of Mannie Fresh’s work, but for me his pre-”Carter” material with Wayne sounds cheap as hell. it’s a more consistent aesthetic but that doesn’t make it a better one.

  57. david Says:

    ehh i never really fell for the mixtape wayne shit so im not really the best for this discussion. but yeah i also have never claimed he was a ‘better’ rapper w/ CM, just that he was more underrated at that time. I think he definitely peaked at some pt between Carters II & III and i dont see why a mixtape couldnt have been picked as the best representative of mixtape wayne!

  58. noz Says:

    I think just about all of Wayne’s pre-Carter albums are better than C3, but not because he was a better rapper then.

    Also: “If this experiment failed it’s due to the sample.” This was literally the only point I was trying to make on Twitter. Except without the “if.”

  59. Abe Beame Says:

    I had Dedication 2 in the 20s. Never “fell for mixtape Wayne”. See, to me there’s such a defiant contrarian aspect to that statement. I know a lot of people you probably hate liked it, stole Wayne from you in some respects and him getting the shine you’d been screaming he deserved for years ended up just pissing you off, but to say his best mixtape shit isnt bizarre and brilliant and awesome and boundary pushing in all the right ways, its just wrong to me, as wrong as the Streets being on the Weiss list twice. It’s something I think you should write about on your site which I read regularly because based on many of your other aesthetic tastes I have no idea how you could possibly think that and I imagine it’d make for a great argument if you feel it with conviction.

  60. noz Says:

    When Weiss first approached me to do the list he made a point to mention how mixtapes and street albums would be considered equally. It was one of the main reasons I was excited to contribute and made an effort to include a lot of stuff like Dedication 2, 50 Cent Is The Future and The Day Hell Broke Loose 2. But apparently that Seinfeld shit is the only thing anybody came to a consensus on and is THE BEST MIXTAPE OF THE DECADE!

  61. Abe Beame Says:

    Sorry I don’t fuck with Twitter. (I feel I need to stress that’s not to be construed as elitist, I just don’t) I guess the question is does “our” sample exist on the internet anymore. I had such a depressing conversation with a 19 year old from Bed Stuy on the train to Coney Island last night who loved Kanye electro pop and some group called The Kookz. He’d never even heard The Infamous and knew “of” Q-Tip but not much about him. Suddenly I was pushed into a corner and became everything I thought I hated when I started fucking about the internets, old angry “right opinion/wrong opinion” guy. Maybe this list pisses me off/scares me because this is actually what hip hops becoming. More than a disagreement with the past, a total disconnect, a lack of acknowledgment or familiarity. Kids are learning about Warriorz from this fucking list. Scary shit to me kind of in a way that is taking music too seriously and subjective and blah blah blah but it feels like that

  62. noz Says:

    And yeah I’m with Abe. You’re tripping if you can’t find a few Wayne tapes to love. Though Drought 3 is notoriously overrated.

  63. Abe Beame Says:

    Yeah I kicked myself afterwards for not including any G Unit mixtapes which is basically all I fucked with for two years in high school.

  64. david Says:

    #

    Abe Beame

    I had Dedication 2 in the 20s. Never “fell for mixtape Wayne”. See, to me there’s such a defiant contrarian aspect to that statement. I know a lot of people you probably hate liked it, stole Wayne from you in some respects and him getting the shine you’d been screaming he deserved for years ended up just pissing you off, but to say his best mixtape shit isnt bizarre and brilliant and awesome and boundary pushing in all the right ways, its just wrong to me, as wrong as the Streets being on the Weiss list twice. It’s something I think you should write about on your site which I read regularly because based on many of your other aesthetic tastes I have no idea how you could possibly think that and I imagine it’d make for a great argument if you feel it with conviction.

    Aug 7th, 2009

    theres a diff between not falling for his music personally & thinking he doesnt belong on this list; of course mixtape wayne should be represented here, hes one of the major rap stories of the decade, whatever i think abt that music.

    my personal bias aside, i question that the carter iii is the best document of lil wayne’s shit this decade regardless.

  65. david Says:

    all critics have blind spots. thats subjectivity.

  66. Abe Beame Says:

    Well that’s a given. What I was saying is I’d be very curious to understand how you explain your personal bias in response to the physical material

  67. david Says:

    i didnt find wayne’s particular evolution all that engaging after a certain point. It felt more like weirdness-for-weirdness sake, an end not really worth pursuing. there was not enough for me to grab on to. i dunno. i didnt really feel wrapped up in his persona. hes an icon to a lot of folks & there were some amazing songs in their no doubt but his total freedom, his willingness to bcome entirely unmoored from structure or expectations, ended up boring me. i prefer artists working w/in some kind of tension. one of the things i dig abt gucci is how much he gets away with while still feeling constrained by his subject matter & more traditional rap anchors ….

  68. david Says:

    amazing songs in there*

  69. david Says:

    like, lil wayne’s habit of underlining every joke … i like the subtleness, the idea that jokes are an inherent part of rap as it is & theres no need to draw attention to them … swag shd speak for itself

  70. Abe Beame Says:

    I don’t necessarily agree with the personal reaction to said material, but church.

  71. DocZeus Says:

    I’m going to try and be civil and engage the topic at hand this time:

    This is why I don’t like the “populist” tag. There’s no codified definition of what’s populist and what’s not. Its sort of like the problem with referring to an artist as “underground” in the sense that you are inevitably going to wind up ignoring one side or the other. Is populism based on who sells the most records? Then you could argue Eminem is the most populist rapper of all-time. Is it based on who sells the most in the neighborhood that creates the music? Then 50 Cent would define “populism.” Or is it based whose music best reflects the neighborhood it was created? But if that’s true, then the question becomes what best reflects the neighborhood it comes from. Any critics, regardless of make, would be wise to completely avoid the topic simply because the human experience is far too variant to try and narrowly define. Its nearly impossible to define “authenticity” in that context.

    Because “populism” is so truly hard to codify what we essentially are left with is a definition based on cultural assumption. That Trae and Jeezy and T.I. and 50 and Gucci are a more populist version of hip hop. But why? Trae and Gucci’s never sold a million records…yet (I don’t think at least), Jeezy does embarassing Boost Mobile commercials with Mickey Avalon, and 50′s commercial viability has almost completely waned. Do any of these artists fit into one particular definition of “populism” or the other? Now let’s flip the coin for a second. I saw Aesop Rock perform a show in Brooklyn where 10,000 people showed up last summer, Common is one of the most visible faces in rap music right now and Tech N9ne can sell damn near millions of records independently without a single major rap critic giving him ANY daps. If Trae can bring 10,000 people to see him perform in Houston and Aesop Rock can in Brookyln, who has the authority to be able to claim one is more “populist” than the other. You can’t unless you are willing to open a huge can of worms based on race, priviledge, etc.

    My problem is when one side wants to use their own particular branch as a crutch to bash the other side because of some misplaced sense of moral superiority whether its through the lens of white privilege or white guilt, populism or undergroundism, authentic or outsider, popism or rockism. There is no higher ground. The only sensible way to rate a list is based on personal taste.

    So when I say that Noz’ criticism is based on Project Pat not being on the list. What I’m really saying is Noz framing the argument to create a false dynamic where the Passion Of The Weiss is being made to represent “trad annoying backpacking faggits ov da highest order” (and all the cultural stigma attached) for picking Edan over Pat thus negating the whole process.

    Total aside-

    I don’t really understand the logic of placing an article re-posting an article written for XXL about Potw first list where the thesis of the piece is list creation is a flawed enterprise because hip hop is so diverse that its folly to try and create a definitive list of anything. especially when you claim your motivation behind it was:

    “It’s about a group of mostly outsiders and neophytes rewriting the story of hip hop from the safe distance of their ivory towers. It’s about the predictability of criticism and critics. It’s about the deterioration of a promising and potentially boundary crossing medium into a few self affirming circle jerks.”

    It’s like literally arguing about the work of two different writers with differing opinions on the same post.

  72. david Says:

    “There is no higher ground.”

    nazi

  73. Cash Says:

    HOLY SHIT! My eyes are bloodshot & burning just from trying to read the first 1/3 of this fuckin’ argument…….lol

  74. noz Says:

    When I say populist I mean within the world of hip hop listeners. I don’t think many of the 10,000 people at an Aesop Rock concert are representative of hip hop’s core audience. They are Fleet Foxes fans who value eclecticism. The same way many of the 10 million people who bought Marshall Mathers are basically Kid Rock listeners. Black Eyed Peas are the most popular rap group of the decade, but I don’t think anybody would presume that they bear any significance to this conversation. This isn’t a specifically racial distinction, though it clearly falls on racial lines. (I’m not sure folks are so frantic about NOT MAKING THIS ABOUT RACE. We are a bunch of mostly white people talking about mostly black music. Race comes into play.)

    The main difference between the Fleet Fox fans and the Kid Rock fans is that the FFers are more inclined to become music critics (#allshots) I’m not exaggerating when I say this is how history is rewritten and whitewashed. Even though these people might have the best intentions, and I don’t want to suggest that hip hop is less than inclusive, it’s just that understanding it demands more than just a casual investment. It’s an incredibly tangled and self referential genre of music. I can think of very few general interest music critics who regularly get rap right and most of them (Caramanica, Sennah) are hip hop heads dipping their toes in other genres, not the other way around.

    None the less, I do think Aesop Rock has as much a part in this discussion as Trae does (Again, I fucking voted for him!) The results just skew way too close to the Aesop Rocks of the world to be taken seriously.

    “Noz framing the argument to create a false dynamic where the Passion Of The Weiss is being made to represent “trad annoying backpacking faggits ov da highest order” (and all the cultural stigma attached) for picking Edan over Pat thus negating the whole process.”

    You were so close to civility and logic and now you’re back to making up arguments and painting those that disagree with you as homophobic Genesis P’orridges.

    “I don’t really understand the logic of placing an article re-posting an article written for XXL about Potw first list where the thesis of the piece is list creation is a flawed enterprise because hip hop is so diverse that its folly to try and create a definitive list of anything.”

    I don’t see what’s so contradictory about this. If anything they are parallel ideas. A) lists are difficult to put together accurately and ultimately do not matter and b) this list is particularly skewed. I’m not trying to crucify Weiss or any of his other contributors. I understand the complexities in putting something like this together. But I also think the results are worth critiquing/considering.

  75. noz Says:

    i mean is this the taste of well informed twenty first century hip hop authorities?

    http://www.villagevoice.com/pazznjop/critics/2008/782794
    http://www.villagevoice.com/pazznjop/critics/2008/686601
    http://www.villagevoice.com/pazznjop/critics/2008/686460

  76. DocZeus Says:

    I guess your description of populism is fair enough but I don’t really see the value in attempting to qualify one form of hip hop vs. another form of hip hop via their fan base especially when the lines for these things are so nebulous. That’s what I mean by cultural assumption, we are assuming that indie rap fans (or the critics who voted him) give a fuck about Fleet Foxes. Personally, I’m an indie rap fan who would be caught dead at an indie rock show. My preferred tastes skew heavily ’90s New York and West coast hip hop (the stuff I grew up on) which I find is better reflected in the works of Masta Ace, MF Doom, etc. Hence my taste.

    And I’m glad you brought up the Black-Eyed Peas because the one aspect of this lists that both sides are neglecting is that it skews unapologetically male. Where’s Missy? Where’s Eve? Where’s Jean Grae? Where’s Trina? Were there any female writers included? Let’s take the Peas, for example. There audience skews female (I think…) due to the presence of Fergie. Even you said “they don’t matter” because they don’t appeal to hip hop’s target audience. Why is it a crime that more acts like Trae don’t get on (who’s style of music is far better represented on the list) while the Peas basically get no love (Where is the Love?) from ANYBODY.

    “You were so close to civility and logic and now you’re back to making up arguments and painting those that disagree with you as homophobic Genesis P’orridges.”

    Am I? I’m asserting that your comments over twitter were a direct case of painting Weiss and co. as ignorant back packers when you called the following around his site “an indie rap circle jerk”. I feel the implication of what you were saying on twitter was quite clear. You’re inviting vitriol when you say things like that. I know, you’ve sort of apologized so let’s just drop that. And I was only quoting Transient’s comments on myself as a rhetorical device.

    “I don’t see what’s so contradictory about this. If anything they are parallel ideas. A) lists are difficult to put together accurately and ultimately do not matter and b) this list is particularly skewed. I’m not trying to crucify Weiss or any of his other contributors. I understand the complexities in putting something like this together. But I also think the results are worth critiquing/considering.”

    I guess this makes sense. I just thought you were weakening your argument by including what you wrote for XXL because its sort of tangential to what you’ve been saying. And I agree lists are kind of meaningless. But that’s why they are so fun to do. And thats why its kind of idiotic to get upset over them.

  77. DocZeus Says:

    ” And I was only quoting Transient’s comments on myself as a rhetorical device.” – DocZeus

    Quick thought, I don’t want to imply that I have the arrogance to assume that I’m a stand in for the rest of the dudes at the Passion (I write for my own site and only on occasion for them when I’ve been specifically asked to take part). I’ve had plenty of far more civil arguments (heated or otherwise) with those guys. We DON’T have the same taste.

  78. mike Says:

    everyone go smoke a B and listen to Liberation off Aquemini… damn what a headache all this is

  79. gordon gartrelle Says:

    “The site is ‘Cocaine Blunts and Hip-Hop Tapes’ NOT ‘Cocaine Blunts and the Othering of the Masculine Gaze of Capitalism Through the Feminine Mystique.’”

    ^^^ You all completely missed the point.

    This isn’t about Project Pat, you troll. It’s about a group of mostly outsiders and neophytes rewriting the story of hip hop from the safe distance of their ivory towers. It’s about the predictability of criticism and critics. It’s about the deterioration of a promising and potentially boundary crossing medium into a few self affirming circle jerks.

    This is spot on. But you want to talk predictable? I will put money on the fact that the next 5 rappers that you, the Shrimps, and the rest of the bloggers in your particular self-affirming circle jerk (white, faux-populist, anti-east coast traditionalism) are going to flip over will have the following traits:

    1.) He’ll be “authentically” black (i.e. steeped in ghetto signifiers).
    2.) He won’t be from NY or anywhere about.
    3.) He won’t evoke anything like 90s east coast rap styles (but evoking 90s Southern styles is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged).

    Anyway, with all of the stuff in the comments, these 3 stand out:

    When I say ivory tower I am talking less of economic background or upbringing but of a distinctly “high brow” taste that’s almost entirely out of step with popular opinion in hip hop circles.–Noz

    When an album by a black artist becomes “white enough” to hit the mainstream, it becomes their de facto “best album,” and that’s both discrediting to them as artists and–let’s be honest–implicitly racist.–TSELIOT

    There’s another word for artists surviving on the critical appreciation of mostly white critics, rather than populist success: white privilege–David

    There’s an argument there, but you all insist on ignoring important objections made by Doc Zeus. You persist in using “populism”/“populist success”/“popular opinion in hip hop circles,” yet you refuse to define these terms (beyond “it’s not the kind of highbrow critical populism that exalts Madvillainy” and “[populism]…within the world of hip hop listeners”) because doing so would expose the problematic assumptions that bolster your devotion to that “populism.”

    As MARK P noted, “populism” for you guys is obviously not record sales, fan interest, or radio play (otherwise you would be defending Jay Z & Common). It can’t be just popular opinions among hip hop listeners, because, as you know, these opinions are often ill-informed and flat out wrong (“Be and Stillmatic are great return-to-form albums!”…”Eminem is the greatest rapper.”). Your arguments only make sense if you define “populism” as something like “hood buzz,” meaning the supposedly “authentic” tastes of the black youth underclass.

    But you will never admit it. Explicitly positioning yourselves as the champions of “real” black people opens you up to all sorts of critiques based on your whiteness and class (see Sach’s claim). So, instead you try to minimize the racial connotations of your critical approach by talking about it simply as “populism.” You’re perfectly fine using charges of racial bias to club racist, rockist whites, bougie black elitists and hip hop traditionalists (and you all do that as well as anyone); but when Doc Zeus points out that your criticism is just as fraught with racial biases, you dismiss him (simply admitting “race comes into play” doesn’t count).

    You’d think that white dudes who are so quick to point out and critique white privilege in rap criticism would be a bit more self-aware.

    It’s weird because when Sach wrote, ”There are also terms reserved for white critics who heap praise on black artists solely on the basis of perceived ‘blackness’: cultural tourism, white guilt and overcompensation.”, David responded by saying that “the lack of self-awareness or self-criticism is … bad.”

    Pot…kettle…white.

    Noz, you and your cronies are absolutely right to:

    1. expose and critique the implicit white privilege of most outsider, rock-oriented rap critics.
    2. bash the stagnant Nah Right, neo- golden age revivalism that marginalizes regional rap that departs from this tradition.

    But your enthusiasm for doing these 2 things creates problems. Your penchant for doing 1. Makes you extremely defensive about the ways in which your own whiteness and assumptions about black authenticity frame your criticism; your penchant for doing 2. often leads you (but mostly your cronies) to adopt a douchebaggy, kneejerk anti-east coast, contrarianism that is just as stupid and narrow as the views of those who can’t appreciate rap outside of the NY/NJ.

  80. david Says:

    thinking makes my head hurt!

  81. david Says:

    Hey Gordon sorry dude but thats bullshit. Havent we been talking over & over in this discussion about how Noz voted for Aesop Rock? My most recent non-Gucci posts on somanyshrimp have been about Blaq Poet (who made my 2nd favorite rap record of the year)? Ive written positive reviews about CNN records, about Alchemist’s record (which as far as I know has no ‘street buzz’) about DJ Quik & Kurupts (ditto)?

    The thing you’re not realizing is that ‘realness’ in rap has been very much a part of SUBURBAN discourse about rap music for a long time

    & despite being labelled one of noz’s “cronies,” he & i regularly disagree abt lots of issues related to what rap’s audience ‘is.’

    I think there’s a real debate to be had about the role of women as rap’s audience, & how artists like Missy & Fergie are marginalized bcuz they are popular primarily w/ women (who love rap). For example.

    But Gordon, your accusations abt what we represent as writers are entirely uninformed & it genuinely appears that u havent read our work at all. FURTHER, it seems like you’re suggesting that what ‘street buzz’ exists should be ignored when in fact its a defining characteristic of how rappers build buzz & thats just the facts of it. “From the hood to the burbs,” everyone has heard of gucci now because he started building street buzz first. Its not that street buzz is inherently CORRECT but its an engine of success for rappers & the predominant one so it makes sense that it would be a focal point for people writing about rap & ignoring that is ignoring rap music’s roots. Or pretending that by acknowledging it (& NOT blindly following it, which i haven’t seen ‘noz & his cronies’ do at all) we’re somehow being anti-east coast ‘contrarians’, simply because we think this list is ahistorical & corny.

  82. david Says:

    I also recently posted about a great Red Cafe/Pete Rock beat, a positive review of which i pitched to pitchfork.

    I guess the blaq poet was a couple weeks back

    I mean if u want to, try reading this actual discussion before weighing in, where i express my personal lack of interest in lil wayne’s mixtape shit leading up to/around the Carter III, which certainly had huge national street buzz, but left me cold

  83. david Says:

    The thing you’re not realizing is that ‘realness’ in rap has been very much a part of SUBURBAN discourse about rap music for a long time

    ^^^what i mean by this is that for white & black people, popularly, who are listening to rap music, realness is a part of the discourse whether theyre from the hood or the outer burbs. the fact that ‘street buzz’ & issues of authenticity enter into these discussions figure because theyre a defining characteristic of the genre & huge parts of the largest swaths of POPULAR rap music. Its basically the dichotomy of the streets & the club. what else is there?

  84. noz Says:

    This is an unedited, in order, list of the artists featured on the first three pages of this blog: DJ Jimi, Kool Rock Steady, Pill, BDR, Baatin, Organized Konfusion, Andre Nickatina, The Roots, Goodie Mob, Mos Def, Rafael Casal, Kingpen Slim, Z-Ro, X-Con, Jay Electronica, Red, No ID, Gucci Mane, Red Cafe, Murs, Omid, Spree Wilson, Lil B, G-Side, Too Short. Does it lean populist? “Authentically black”? I don’t know, but I defy you to find a blog populated by a more diverse array of rappers.

  85. noz Says:

    Really I’ve been unfairly accused of perpetuating stereotypes or chasing a sort of authentic blackness for too long. Period point blank I am one of the only rap bloggers writing seriously about Divine Styler and Busdriver and Log Cabin Crew and New Kingdom and Pharoahe Monch and Lil B and mid-period Jungle Brothers and Saafir. Dudes who have traveled so far from any stereotypes they might as well be on the moon. Do you read my posts or just skim through them?

  86. Sach O Says:

    I think this discussion of populism and authentic blackness sort of misses the point. Who sits around going “damn this song is dope but a few too many white people like it” or “wow, this rapper is ILL, but he’s just too fuckin ghetto”?

    People DO listen to rap music for a variety of reasons though.

    You can listen to rap out of an appreciation for drum machine based music created by lower class African American youth in the wake of budget cuts to school music programs in the 80′s. You might find a lot to write about in terms of regional variations between releases from different cities both in musical structure and how certain common topics (life in the inner city, partying) are treated.

    You can listen to rap out of an appreciation for the post-modern reinterpretation of soul, funk (and other) music through sampling.

    You can listen to rap out of an appreciation for lyricism and flow and the complexity of those qualities in respect to the African American tradition.

    You can take a very narrow view and rate all music in relation to an ideal stemming from music, slang and street culture from mid 70′s to mid 90′s NYC. If this is the case, you probably didn’t enjoy much music this decade.

    You can view rap as black pop at this point. This is an undeniable fact whether hardcore fans like it or not.

    You can view rap music as the authentic retelling of street stories (in which case, I have a bridge to sell you over Queens)

    Or you can view said street stories as fiction and rate them based on slang, flow, beats, details within…

    ETC.

    More often than not, people listen to rap for a combination of these reasons and that specific combination results in their taste. If you’re interested in reason #1 you’ll probably find less to enjoy in something that’s further away from that ideal (say Anticon in my case, which I find intolerable). If you listen for reasons #2 or 3 on the other hand it’s probably not as big a deal but you might shy away from stuff based on production or simplicity in word play (I’m not particularly amenable to Jeezy). And so on and so on.

    Anyone who insists that there’s one sole, pure way and reason to listen to rap music this decade will finds himself on the wrong side of history. That ideology works great for a tight compact scene tied together by respected tastemakers in 1-2 main hubs (its also very exclusionary) but it’s impossible for a massive decentralized 30+ year old musical art form that’s lingua-franca for millions of people worldwide.

    Also Re: the diversity of the artists on this site. Along with the fact that we like your writing, that diversity is why we asked you to sign up. I was genuinely happy to have you on board (for your picks, if not necessarily for the inevitable conflict) and there was no tokenism intended. But you gotta admit that there aren’t many blogs that cover the spectrum of stuff covered here: there are regional blogs but we approached the list from a National point of view. So I’m asking you: who do you think we should have polled to get a more diverse spectrum? I’m no fan of Anticon nor Gucci Mane but I’d rather have the critical consensus slide towards to Beanie Sigel, Trae, E-40 AND Aesop Rock then The Streets or a fourth Doom album. So what are the ideas to bridge this gap? (No Nasir)

  87. jordan s Says:

    as a noted noz “crony”, i will admit to a southern bias because that’s the rap music that i grew up with. but where i see distinct anti-southern rhetoric in the culture that surrounds a blog like nah right— to the point where i don’t think most of the nah right audience even listens to the music that they love to shit on— i don’t see that same rhetoric or feelings surrounding the culture of southern rap, and that’s why i think gordon’s attempts to turn the mirror on noz & our blog fails. and on top of that, i’m not inspired by current nyc/east coast rap. there are so many more rappers in atlanta alone (playboy tre, pill, young dro, etc.) that inspire me to write than there are in nyc etc. or those that are pushed by the blogs that serve the interests of those listeners. and when i turn on the radio i hear “swag surfin” and “wasted” and “ice cream paint job” and not any wale songs or slaughterhouse songs, or even songs by guys that i like (freeway, sigel, fabolous etc)

  88. August Says:

    So what are the ideas to bridge this gap?

    I’m going to jump in and offer a few ideas. I’m 20 years old, and only got heavily into rap in 2003. Like most white kids, my introduction was through the underground, specifically Immortal Technique’s “Revolutionary Volume 2.” I’ve spent the last few years trying to catch up on what I missed outside of that narrow definition. With that background I agree with a lot of the PotW list, but there’s some I don’t feel informed enough to comment on, and there’s some I disagree with. Viktor Vaughn shouldn’t be on there, UGK should be higher, one of Z-Ro’s projects should be there, Common’s a douchebag, and Ghost doesn’t deserve three albums. Pretty Toney can go. However, I don’t see any HUGE missteps. I think both camps are offering up some good arguments, and at this point the disagreement seems to be over what makes an album make a list like this. I think there are certain criteria that should come into consideration:

    Critical acclaim: How was the album received when it dropped? Was it loved across the spectrum, or at least by those who paid attention to it? How has it weathered since its release?

    Popular response: this includes album sales and radio play. Does it still play in cars, clubs, headphones?

    Street buzz: similar but separate from popular response. This is probably the hardest to define. Is the final product something that was highly respected in the community from which it originated? For example Stankonia had a good popular response and street buzz. Common’s Be had popular response.

    Influence: was it a game changer? This is why I dispute The Blueprint as being No. 1. It should be on the list, but it did not have an enormous amount of influence on the sound to come. Stankonia did. Stankonia (for better or worse) is the reason we have all these crossover attempts. Nobody else has been able to get it right, but damn, they’re trying. Influence may be hard to measure, but it should be one of the most important criteria.

    Artistic merit: this should be the most important category because it is necessary to remember the artistic intent of the music. Maybe that’s why Get Rich or Die Trying doesn’t really do it for me. But, some of the other criteria suggest it should still be on the list.

    Taking an applied look, Aesop Rock should still be on the list, for artistry, influence (big influence in the indie arena) and critical acclaim. He doesn’t have a huge popular response or street buzz, but what seals the deal for me is the artistry. The same goes for Madvillainy. Artistically it should be remembered as a great achievement in rap. Q-Tip’s “The Renaissance” should be removed, because it had no influence, little popular response or street buzz, and wasn’t artistically cohesive. I enjoyed the album but it doesn’t deserve the status of a classic, which is essentially what we are conferring on these 50 albums.

  89. August Says:

    Addendum: Criteria like street buzz and artistic merit should allow more regional rap albums to make the list. We all seem to agree that Aesop Rock should be on there, so why not a guy who is mostly constricted to the South but is wildly popular there. Their fanbases are gonna be about the same size. And we’re kidding ourselves to think we can’t find something better than Tha Carter III to put on that list. Wayne himself has done much better. I swear that album is the one indie kids who want to enjoy rap start and finish with.

  90. hook Says:

    Where was The Product’s One Hunid????

  91. hook Says:

    tell me someone else loves that album

  92. DocZeus Says:

    “Where was The Product’s One Hunid????”

    I’m sure somebody does. That’s Scarface’s Theodore Unit right?

  93. hook Says:

    “Where was The Product’s One Hunid????”

    I’m sure somebody does. That’s Scarface’s Theodore Unit right?

    ^^^^^^^^

    Is being snarky more important to you than actually discovering good music?

    I’m starting to side with Noz.

  94. MLKshake Says:

    I agree/disagree w/ certain aspects of the argument.. but some of it certainly sounds like faux internet intellectualism-
    “opinions are like assholes, everyones got one”

    +But. the top 10 of that list is wack.
    -I feel like an asshole but I’ve just never liked doom…. and becoming a poster boy of pitchfork rap fans… Well that didn’t help either…

    -Donuts… great record… but looking at the rest of the top 10 it feels out of place considering its instrumentals… (wtf is that article about Dilla being the downfall of rap? was that off this site… i don’t remember?)

    -3 fucking Kanye records (in top 11)? eat a dick. you can’t possibly be serious…

    -50 record on top 10… seems questionable.. brings up the whole question of criteria x 10- i don’t feel like it stands up and i’m not ever sure it really did.. some fun shit but nothing that changed my life thats for sure

    -Stankonia? not bad but… why would you rep this when you know all 3 of the prior releases are firrrreeeee- yeah they didn’t come out in the 00′s but… it just seems inane to rep.

    -also not in love w/ jay-z- i know this is blasphemous but blah i like the can ox record more than any of his probably… but thats just me

    sidenote: christ that 2nd streets album blows and the 1st one… is that rapping? b/c i think i can talk w/ a slight flow… why would you ever listen to the streets when you could listen to a legit grime record?

    With the ridonkulousness of this list in mind… im surprised that the grey album isn’t there instead of the black one heh.

  95. gordon gartrelle Says:

    Come on, man, I’ve been following you guys since you started. I know that you like various styles of rap.

    “Some of my best friends are black favorite rappers are black suburban weirdos” aint gonna cut it.

    You can reference all of your pieces on Busdriver, Dose One, Monch, Divine Styler, but those aren’t the types of rappers you’re defending under the mantle of populism in this post. You’re defending the Guccis of the world—and more importantly, their black fanbases. Now, to be fair, you do have a track record of using the idea of populism to defend “backpacker/nerd” rappers (pardon the stupid terms) from white outsider “highbrow/ivory tower” critics. And that’s all good.

    But there’s another kind of populism you’re refusing to acknowledge—one that you’ve essentially made it your mission to tear down. I’m talking about the populism of the rap rabble: the prevailing simplistic attitudes about the “underground vs. commercial” “hip hop vs. rap,” “east coast vs. South,” “conscious vs. dumb,” etc. that tends to privilege east coast ‘90s giants and their followers. In the face of this kind of populism, you counter by exalting a very narrow kind of populism: one that privileges and champions largely poor, black, Southern “ignant” rappers and their fans, and leads its proponents to suggest that critiques of these rappers and their fans are inherently racist and elitist (in the broader social sense, not the cultural “highbrow sense).

    By the way, I recognize that what I perceive to be an anti-east coast traditionalism in your recent work isn’t driven by hatred of NY rap or anything, but by hatred of the insularity and echo chamber of popular rap criticism, which exalts NY rap to the exclusion of all else, save a few tokens. You may not admit it, but your approach to hyping overlooked regional artists acts as a corrective to the narrow perspective of the Nah Right, hip hop academic, and white rockist folks who are largely writing today’s skewed, dumbed down hip hop history.

    Resentment of these writers has, I think, hurt your writing. Your tone has changed quite a bit in the last year or so. You and your cronies (I’m using it sarcastically, David ) are more prone to take unnecessary shots at Nas or De La or Mos or Jay, as if their existence is preventing guys you think are more deserving from getting shine/respect.

    You’re straddling the line of being the insightful rap writer that keeps us coming back and becoming a parody of that writer. Quite frankly, I think that has to do with the fact that you’ve influenced a lot of guys who have started blogging and have pulled you in to their own asshole echo chamber.

  96. noz Says:

    “You may not admit it, but your approach to hyping overlooked regional artists acts as a corrective to the narrow perspective of the Nah Right, hip hop academic, and white rockist folks who are largely writing today’s skewed, dumbed down hip hop history.”

    I would admit that it’s consciously corrective, but only in the sense that the NR/Academic/Rockist sects are not representing my own taste. I write about Gucci because I enjoy his music. If I didn’t enjoy his music I would not. For example I think that most of the boogie shit coming out of Dallas right now is musically pretty uninteresting and basically shitty. As underrepresented as that scene has been in the mainstream hip hop media (it is huge), I don’t enjoy and I feel no obligation to step up and represent it. Same goes with this swag/futuristic trash coming from atlanta (a point which me and my crony David split at.) This is the same reason I don’t write about Galapagos4 or whatever. If Qwel were to magically wake up with an all black “authentic” Chicago fanbase tomorrow he would still be a rapper I didn’t particularly like.

    Though my politics lean populist, this is not a populist blog by any stretch of the imagination. The fact that the average hip hop fan would look at the front page and literally not recognize but one or two artists names should be testament enough to that.

    “Resentment of these writers has, I think, hurt your writing. Your tone has changed quite a bit in the last year or so.”

    This is a fair critique. The past few years tied up in the rap blog echo chamber has really turned me off to this music writing thing. I can count on one hand the number of truly interesting articles/blog posts about rap that I’ve read in 2009 and in turn I’m less inspired to write about anything except how uninspired I am. I know when my work is suffering, but I’m not sure how to correct that other than to keep working. Or quit entirely. (Though in the same breath I’m quite proud of the shit I’ve done on hip hops more inspiring movements and artists this year – Gucci, Lil B, jerkin, Quik & Kurupt. Or maybe the writing itself wasn’t that great, but I’m happy to help bring better light to these artists.)

    One of the reasons I considered the old XXL blogs such a success is that I was genuinely inspired by the diversity of opinions being traded there. Right next to me on the same page. Exo, Bol, Dallas, Tara, Maurice, etc. all came from dramatically different backgrounds and their tastes reflected that. A white girl from canada is going to look at hip hop dramatically differently than a black dude from Atlanta or a an aging Brooklyn Lo Life or a soft spoken fat kid from the St. Louis suburbs. Living in a Gucci obsessed city I’m inclined to respond differently to his music than someone in New York or Germany might. But that’s what creates an interesting dialogue. These days there are a lot of music writers whose tastes are informed not by the world around them but by the writing of a small handful of other music writers. Hence a few schools of thought develop and the circle jerk commences.

    (I’m not sure how this has turned into a summit on the state of *my* writing but whatever.)

  97. noz Says:

    WRT to New York I think you are neglecting one fact: for the most part, New York has not been producing great or original rap music as of late. The NY artists who are the most acclaimed – Jay, Nas, Doom, Ghost, Rae, Q-Tip- are holdovers from a bygone era and undeniably past their prime (yes, even those of them who are are still making good/great records). And people forget that “contemporary” folks like Mos Def, D-Block, Fabolous, El-P, Juelz and tri-state ny-style hopes like Beanie or Buddens are 8-10 years or more deep in their career and are pretty consistently falling just short of their best work, at best. Could you imagine propping Big Daddy Kane up as the best the city had to offer in 1997? The New York aesthetic had gone through at least a half dozen significant iterations in that decade. It’s been in a holding pattern for the later part of this one. I’m not inspired to write positively about a Ghostface record that is good but similar and vastly inferior to Supreme Clientele. And with few exceptions the next generation is simply rehashing those guys best work. The most ardant Joell Ortiz supporter would admit that he’s not really seeing CNN or Mobb Deep. There are no new voices, no forward motion. Say what you will about a Gucci Mane but his approach is a dramatic departure from what was happening in Atlanta even a year or two ago. Max B, maybe the only newish rapper in NY rocking anything resembling an original style just went to jail forever.

    I wish I could read a thoughtful Nah Right but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that very few people are being inspired to write thoughtfully about New York rap.

  98. monique r. Says:

    http://i28.tinypic.com/2qk4abd.jpg :D

  99. david Says:

    ““Some of my best friends are black favorite rappers are black suburban weirdos” aint gonna cut it.”

    what does this even mean? im talking about white people in the burbs who listen to rap music — ‘authenticity’ & street cred & all that shit impacts the way they talk about rap too. this isnt about ‘my black friends’ at all.

    “one that privileges and champions largely poor, black, Southern “ignant” rappers and their fans, and leads its proponents to suggest that critiques of these rappers and their fans are inherently racist and elitist (in the broader social sense, not the cultural “highbrow sense).”

    There are totally critiques of Gucci (for example) that Id be willing to look at if i thought they were in any way insightful or interesting but so far its been more like, if im not rolling my damn eyes at his ‘ignant’ antics then im not willing to engage in all these ‘serious critiques’ of his music out there.

    & I dont think gucci is an ‘ignant’ rapper. i dont think its just about him having southern black fans; rich kids in the suburbs like gucci mane too (who was buying all those gangsta rap records in the 90s again??) i dont see how his fanbase is any different than dr. dre’s was circa 1992.

    & I mean, Jordan’s defense of Yung LA & the futuristic kiddie rap shit on our blog was more abt its challenges to cultural expectations of masculinity from rappers than it was about ‘ghetto signifiers.’

  100. mark p. Says:

    What I don’t get is how people can talk about “The Mixtape About Nothing” like it’s a masterpiece and a modern classic. I mean, even when it came out, I got the feeling the positive reception had more to do with the fact that it’s rare to find a good mixtape in that style nowadays than it being some of the best music 2008 hip-hop has to offer, or whatever. It almost seems more like a “hey, we don’t have anything like this in the list yet, it’ll have to do” vote than anything.

  101. Renato Pagnani Says:

    I think “Futuristic Love” is a dope song, on somewhat of a sidenote (but David mentioned Jordan’s defense of Yung LA so I figured I could sneak this comment in).

  102. MAYNHOLUP Says:

    dayummmm mayn yall need ta lay back wit sum uv dat kill mayn thow on “Top Notch” an juss chill out mayn an enjoy dat Rother mayn too mcuh arguin ova here mayn iss bout Ro anywayz so wuss de point nah mean less git it mayn chief on dat kill yall

  103. Abe Beame Says:

    “The most ardant Joell Ortiz supporter would admit that he’s not really seeing CNN”

    False. Joell Ortiz supporters such as myself would take The Brick any day and will tell you with a straight face he can feed a village with a single fish and smoke Joe Budden in a foot race.

  104. Abe Beame Says:

    Not to mention his Covering the Classics mixtape, probably a 2009 top 10 at the moment. Is Joell being slept on?

  105. noz Says:

    So you’re telling me that Joell’s rap karaoke album is as good as the War Report?

  106. noz Says:

    I think “Mixtape About Nothing” slid by on concept. People really like Seinfeld.

  107. Abe Beame Says:

    Karaoke is singing along to others people’s shit. Have you really given it a solid burn? 95% crack. I bet when fifty did it over disco records last year that was the truth these so called NY officianados were too bougis to check for. Mixtape about nothing got by on concepts but it was solid song concepts with by the bar execution, not the loose Seinfeld theme which basically amounted to a beat and a couple vocal snippets, but in the interest of fairness the packaging was total Hipster bait to make the album stand out, which apparently worked but as GG was suggesting dont allow a gay fanbase to revise the inherent quality of that very good album.

  108. Abe Beame Says:

    “People really like Seinfeld”=so fucking pithy

  109. faux_rillz Says:

    “People really like Seinfeld.”

    I eagerly await his follow-up “Friends”-themed tape.

  110. MAYNHOLUP Says:

    fo de record i ont even like seinfeld an i thought dat mixtape wuz nice when it came out mayn since den doe cant say i been felein wales records mayn nah mean

  111. MAYNHOLUP Says:

    curb is thowed doe mayn

  112. brandonsoderberg Says:

    There’s really no way to defend or argue with Gordon in this because his construct can always fall back on “of course you don’t KNOW or would never ADMIT” to be loving ignant black people, but that’s what you’re doing”.

    Additionally, in regards to Populism, there’s not a way to defend it either because solid examples–namely, the recurring things one witnesses in life, non-internet life–can be chalked-up to exceptions, subjectivity, or the “my ONE black friend” dig.

    That said, I hesitate to call bullshit on anybody–especially people I basically agree with–but what’s your gauge for populism? I get a feeling some peoples’ gauge is Dirty Glove Bastard and has nothing to do with real life things…

  113. brandonsoderberg Says:

    *Also, because it’s an #allshots extended weekend in the rap blogosphere, that line about gauging populism was NOT aimed at anybody in particular…oy…

  114. the '96 impala with the gat in my lap Says:

    you guys are so gay.

  115. TSF Says:

    Co-sign MAYN, let’s all lay back and get blunted!

    Back to arguing about THE MUSIC: the thing that stands out for me about this list is the absence of Jeezy. Call him a shitty rapper, ignant, unoriginal, boring, etc. etc.: I guarantee that twenty years from now Thug Motivation will be recognized as a classic from this era.

    Also, D4L should be on there for the beats alone. And that’s an album I never would have given a second listen if it weren’t for this site.

  116. david Says:

    my guess on what’s gonna age poorly is that blu & exile record … it basically stole dm & gemini’s spot bcuz it was lucky enough to come out later in the decade …

  117. david Says:

    (neither of those records deserve the spot, i just mean theyre like the same thing)

  118. Renato Pagnani Says:

    With that said, “Ghetto Pop Life” is waaaaay better than whatever that boring ass Blu & Exile album is called.

  119. david Says:

    yeah i guess jemini at least sounded like dude from brand nubian

  120. CW Says:

    Preace Noz!!! any list without RO , Slim Thug , is no list at all psssshhhh

  121. CW Says:

    yo yo yo …

    Madvillain is a great album though, lets all smoke some pot!!11

  122. DocZeus Says:

    “Is being snarky more important to you than actually discovering good music?

    I’m starting to side with Noz.”

    That’s not a diss. I thought the one Theodore Unit album was solid. I was using it as a point of comparison. Although, judging by the fact, that you thought I was dissing The Product by comparing them to the Theodore Unit, you don’t feel the same way.

  123. hook Says:

    Ha nah I thought you meant that shit as a snarky-ass diss. The Product wasn’t Scarface’s crew (like Theodore Unit, or Icewater, or–shudder–Skull Gang.) They were just two young rappers Face respected who he got together for an album. Will Hen from Frisco and Young Malice from Mississippi. That is a deep, fucking underrated album. And it was like a one-time deal. Check it out.

  124. Langston Says:

    This is some crazy shit.

    My thoughts are all over the place on this issue(s) because I am a Black kid from a Houston ghetto, writing about hip hop from an Ivory Tower (Indiana University). I think there have been over-simplifications and generalizations from both sides.

    This discussion is an updated version of an age old argument. Noz is being hit with some of the same criticisms that the Lomax’s and others dealt with when researching Black (and rural white) folk music. Noz offers insight into music that has been ridiculously under appreciated and ignored by mainstream rap journalism and academia. I can’t say I enjoy all the music posted on this site, but I do see value in it as it illuminates different experiences.

    I study ethnomusicology, which was born because the Ivory Tower deemed anything non-European as unworthy of academic study. This is similar to what has occurred to non-NY and later non-Cali gangsta hip hop music. Without blogs like cocaine blunts, so much great and interesting music would remain unknown and under explored. That’s criminal to me.

    Who cares if Noz criticizes other for their elitism. That’s part of the game. In the academic world, lots of great scholarship has been generated purely because a scholar hated another academic’s ideas. This type of discourse is necessary when attempting to destruct the status quo, which I think is very important in this case.

    I gotta give props to Cocaine Blunts and the other websites that shed light on underground and rural music. They have greatly expanded my knowledge, which has made my work that much better.

    The blog scene has created a diversity in hip hop journalism that has extremely bettered people’s understanding of hip hop as a genre.

    back to work

  125. Langston Says:

    I clicked on this thinking that it was a post about P$C’s “25 to Life,” one of my favorite albums. oh well.

  126. 25 That Should Have Made the Cut: Part 1 « Compact Diss Says:

    [...] critical lists are by their nature subjective, so it was interesting to observe the blogger infighting that occured last week when Passion of the Weiss posted its Top 50 Albums of the Decade. Given that [...]

  127. all over print Says:

    Good list, could have been better if it has my fave artists.

  128. Jake the Mobile Phones Guy Says:

    Wonderful, that is precisely what I was scanning for! Your article just spared me alot of searching around

    I’ll make certain to put this in good use!

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