The 2012 RapDose Wrap Up: Disappointments
RapDose weighs in on their top 5 disappointing moments and/or artists of 2012 in part two of their yearly wrap up. Is your favorite artist on The 2012 RapDose Wrap Up: Disappointments list? Find out here.
Yesterday Kenny, Kyle, special guest contributor Johnny5 & I came together to give you our top 5 mixtapes respectively and today we come with the worst of the worst this year. No hard feelings right? Of course not.
Time Freeman’s Picks
Kanye West Presents: Cruel Summer … Cruel Joke.
For a project to have “Kanye West Presents” before it’s title, it should be held at a level that is extraordinary for it’s kind. One that feels immediately superior to anything else you may come in contact with. That said, and I’ll be forthright about this: When you compare Cruel Summer to the standards that it should have reached? It was nothing short of atrocious. Now lets face the truth, without the build up and Mr. West’s name on it? It’d be a decent album. It can be considered as such however, that is not the case. We’re talking about the man who has released 5 classic albums consecutively up until this group project that falls so far from his own bar that he’s set. It’s sad and almost bothersome, as Kanye West as a whole has been uninspired as of late. That said, my favorite artist of all time needs to wake the hell up or have Kim break up with him soon, before we witness the greatest career dive in Hip Hop history. Not to mention the damn project dropped with a week left of Summer to enjoy. Kanye, you can’t get away with being fashionably late when your project is average. Cruel Summer? Cruel attempt.
Welcome To: Our House? Who’s to blame for the Welcoming Party?
Joe Budden is an artist I’ve always appreciated. I am one of those fans who followed him after “Pump It Up” died and appreciated all of the Mood Muzik projects. That said, when he came together with Royce Da 5’9, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz to create the lyrically unstoppable Slaughterhouse then signed to Shady, I was beyond excited to see Budden win. The plans were on the horizon and the album looked as if it was coming in the distance. The singles were decent, but nothing we were willing to assume off of. Then, the lengthy mixtape before the album was released less than a month before Welcome To: Our House and then the album itself leaked… and I forgot it existed not even a few weeks later. Apparently I wasn’t the only one either, as the sales for the project were beyond disappointing. So who’s to blame? Were the lyrics bad? Wouldn’t go that far. I’d say everything else. The promotion, possibly even the beat selection had a hand in the train wreck that this ended up being. The Eminem feature even ended up being mediocre, but I’ll get to Eminem a little later. The point is, Slaughterhouse can go on Hot 97 and spit some of the craziest bars you’ve ever heard with Flex losing his God forsaken mind in the background, but it really can’t amount to much when they can’t even sell 100k first week. Some effort has to be put into pushing these guys, because this project clearly proves that it takes more than just bars to succeed. Hell, I’m playing Slaughterhouse now trying to convince myself they’ll only get better but the truth is, everyone else around them has to get better with the lot in order to succeed.
Common sends shots at Drake but that OVO and that XO is everything he believes in.
This was just awful. I enjoyed The Dreamer, The Believer but one issue I have always had with Common (besides his speaking voice, dude speaks like he’s constantly chewing peanut butter) was his lack of personality. The guy is the equivalent of frozen oatmeal in terms of character, and no great beat can disguise that. So when I heard the Chicago native catch a few bodies on “Sweet”, I lost my mind. Firing shots, talking slick and taking no prisoners over a beat by No I.D., Common was as cocky as he’s ever been on that record, acting a fool. The problem here is that the issue eventually led to where questions were asked and Common became shy, never directly pointing the gun in Drake’s direction but clearly having an issue to resolve. Drake’s response eventually came in the form of a single from Rick Ross’ Rich Forever project, in which he described “the Gods acting like the broads” and from there it was clear there was some problems were in the air. From here it spiraled downhill. Not only was Common the one who sent the shots then eventually seemed confused himself about who he was sending shots to, his response over the very same beat that Drake ripped him on was so quick it seemed either planned or just flat out pathetic. If Common intended to do what Drake claimed in his verse and made an attempt to benefit off of beefing with him for the sake of copies flying off shelves, I can only pity him. The record sales failed to spike, and the project (which was actually good) was overshadowed. Finally putting the nail in the casket, a picture was released (that you can easily see if you go to google) of Drake and Common embracing each other lovingly at the NBA All-Star game. This coming from the guy who’s crafted Be, created “The Light” and rapped to a deaf woman while she watched him from her window. How the mighty have fallen.
Eminem… Yes, Eminem.
What the absolute f**k is Eminem doing? Anyone? Going back, Recovery was a spectacular album. Eminem had one of his finest moments delivering that piece of work and honestly I’m thankful for it’s release, in contrast to Relapse it was everything the game needed at the time. Then Eminem went silent. Understandably so, with such a great project added to his great discography I’d understand him taking some time off. That said, Eminem’s year was spent mostly behind the scenes but two particular moments stick out. Two features. Exhibit A being “Throw That” by Slaughterhouse. Eminem took over the hook duty here, and it’s appalling. The combination of Eminem and Slaughterhouse was one that was supposed to cause excitement but after this track, I press download on tracks involving these individuals without expectations. It’s easier on my ears that way. Then, Exhibit B? “Numb” by Rihanna. One line will sum up the total combined failure of this entire verse: “I’m the butt police and I’m looking at your REAR REAR!” … Are you kidding me? You’ve got to stop hanging out with Lil Wayne. This sh*t is unacceptable. Eminem, you’re a living legend. Remember how to rap like one.
Nicki Minaj and her entire existence.
Where do I begin…? Lets not even talk about how crazy you’ve become, Nicki. I’m not a huge fan and I never have been but these past couple years it’s an understatement to say you’ve been in the spotlight. You’ve been making major moves, with the perfume and all sorts of major deals but that does NOT mean you’re allowed to lose yourself in the process. You came up rapping. Actually RAPPING. Delivering verses and bars that were to be applauded, and once Wayne really started pushing you, there was no stopping the growth but you’ve become a waste of space. Unimpressive and foolish, you’ve transformed from rapping female MC to schizophrenic animaniac. You’re a cartoon character with the mind of a crazed diva, and it’s sickening. You’d think that once Rosenberg called your pop candy track “Starships” corny that you would realize there was a reason for it but no, you let Wayne push you even further up your own plastic a** to the point where you disappointed everyone at SummerJam 2012 by refusing to play, leaving it up to a real legend like Nas to fill in last minute. I was at SJ and that was pathetic to see. People PAID to see you. Then even if we tried to overlook that piece of trash move, You put out what this year? Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded in April then what? Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re Up? Are you kidding me with this? Barbies by your side or not, nothing should’ve been a bigger wake up call than doing 35k first week with that Re Up project. Wake up and do better, Ms. Minaj. Oh yeah, and the new music in my opinion is more Britney Spears and less Jay-Z and Foxy Brown. You know them right? The ones you called your influences? No? Forget it. I wouldn’t want Hov being blamed for your existence anyway. You call yourself a rapper so why not put more effort into a verse than what you’ll be wearing to the Grammys. Just an idea.
Kyle Fall’s Picks
Wiz Khalifa – O.N.I.F.C.
Wiz Khalifa‘s debut album Rolling Papers was in my opinion, a complete and utter failure musically. As a fan of much of his work I was highly disappointed by the lack of inspiration on this project. I crossed my fingers that O.N.I.F.C. would be different. I mean,his Taylor Allderdice mixtape was great so surely Wiz has a ton of strong material in the vault…. NOPE! He Failed… AGAIN. Containing maybe two songs that have any replay value whatsoever I would not suggest the purchase of this album to even my worst enemy. Can a label really be that inhibiting or is the old Wiz we all know and love dead forever?
DMX – Undisputed
We waited six years for DMX to step out of his crack cocaine induced stupor and release a new album but after hearing this one you will be hoping for another six years of peace. The only thing that’s Undisputed is that this project fails on almost every level. Move along folks, nothing to see here. Just a dead career.
Xzibit – Napalm
Much like with DMX we waited over six years for Xzibit‘s comeback after the failure of his last studio album Full Circle. Generally when listening to an album you expect the title track to draw you into the project in some way, but if you’ve seen the video for Xzibit‘s “Napalm” you probably have absolutely no interest in purchasing this disc. Apparently neither does anyone else as sales numbers remain dastardly low. I guess that’s what happens when your lead single sounds like a Limp Bizkit or Drowing Pool b-side. Oh well, it’s not like most people didn’t already think that X is a cornball.
Lil Wayne is no longer a rapper who skateboards, he is a skateboarder who raps. What a disappointing year for one the hottest MCs of the decade. Only 1 noteworthy single came from the YMCMB general this year in the form of “No Worries” featuring Detail. His Dedication 4 mixtape was a letdown as well, leaving many people wondering if there is even room left at the top for the man who many considered the best in the game at one point. Not another artist was this cold in 2012.
Slaughterhouse – Welcome To: Our House
It can be pretty hard to sell copies of your album when you release a better project for free just weeks prior but Slaughterhouse shot themselves in the foot exactly like that with their On The House mixtape. Executive produced by Eminem many people expected to take something positive away from Welcome To: Our House, but the “super group” consisting of Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5’9 provided us with a project that hit the recycle bin faster than an empty coke can.
LL Cool J – Ratchet
Hey LL, you’re a veteran emcee. You have too much experience in this Rap game to be making songs likes this. I understand you’re trying to fit in with what’s current, and what’s current isn’t that great. It’s ratchet. The WorldStarHipHop thing isn’t something we’re all fans of. It’s just there, like this song.
Cassidy – Condom Style
This track appeared late in the year, but it definitely left it’s mark as one of the worst songs that came out in 2012. The last thing I ever expected to happen was seeing a rapper remix “Gangnam Style” but Cassidy being Cassidy showed up one day out of nowhere in the mist of an ongoing beef with MMG rapper Meek Mill acting as a broke man’s Lupe Fiasco spreading super positive and fake important rhymes on his “Gangnam Style” remix embracing safe sex titled “Condom Style.” Everything about this track seemed like a joke, and according to Cassidy, it was, and he was just having fun.
The Game – I Remember (Feat. Young Jeezy & Future)
I really have no problem with The Game‘s “I Remember.” In fact, I actually like the song. So you’re probably wondering why this track has made it onto my worst 5…simple, because The Game on this track is laughable. Not only is this track different from anything The Game has ever done, but it’s also one of the worst songs he has ever done, yet I still like it. Why? Because it has Future and Young Jeezy on it who carry the track. The Game likes to channel the energy of the other rappers he collaborates with in music, but in this case the Compton emcee damn near tried to be Future throughout. The Game does not fit on this song AT ALL, but for funny one liners, this track got everything you need. I often find my self screaming “I REMEMBAH!” and quoting Game’s homosexual bars about not caring if Kanye West or Jay-Z “hit it.” Strictly for laughs tho. Pause.
Slaughterhouse – Throw That (Feat. Eminem)
Not only was Welcome To: Our House a huge let down, but it contained one of the worst songs that I’ve ever heard, “Throw That,” featuring one of the best rappers of all time, Eminem. How does such a promising group of emcees link up with one of the greats and create something like this? Maybe it was the drugs. According to Joe Budden, the whole gang was high in the making of the album.
Johnny 5′s Picks
Rick Ross – God Forgives I Don’t
For someone with such an incredible calendar year, Ross’ major misstep was the handling of his fifth album, God Forgives I Don’t. Hindered by seizures that put a stop to the release of the album in December 2011; Ross went into hiding after releasing the incredible Rich Forever mixtape in January, promising a classic with his next effort. 6 months and a incredibly ridiculous press conference later, Ross dropped GFID; an album that didn’t exactly live up to his lofty classic label. GFID isn’t “bad”, it just doesn’t contain the ferocity of Rich Forever, containing songs like “Hold Me Back” which were more bite than bark in more ways than one. GFID is a rare misstep in Ross’ discography, one that he surely can bounce back from.
Kanye West Presents: Cruel Summer
Just like God Forgives, I Don’t, Cruel Summer isn’t a terrible album. It sports some pretty amazing verses from it’s stars and co stars and has the meticulous attention to production detail that we have come to love from Kanye West, but it’s also pretty vanilla when the sum of its parts don’t click. Cruel doesn’t make any broad leaps to actually showcase it’s talent, and mostly plays it safe behind the lead of it’s maestro ; Mr. West. Common only appears once, Kid Cudi is virtually nonexistent, and the few appearances of the social media lambasted CyHi Tha Prynce don’t do anything to gain him any goodwill. The album is mostly a vehicle for Kanye West to place G.O.O.D.’s members where he feels best, and occasionally add the odd guest or two (Mase? R. Kelly? Jadakiss?). There’s just no feeling of cohesion or camaraderie within the group and in the end it feels like a mixtape with no clear focus. While Kanye may take a lions share of the credit for his pairing of the group, they still remain firmly behind his shadow which is completely against the purpose of the album.
Meek Mill – Dreams & Nightmares
The stars were aligned for Meek Mill’s first album to be a huge success. There was no buzz bigger than his — “I’m A Boss” ruled over two summers of club playlists, and he had just come off a major release with his Dreamchasers projects. So what happened with his debut album Dreams & Nightmares? It was too safe, and instead of going for the same brand of anthemic, aggressive hip hop he instead opted to try and recreate everyone else’s “classic” debut album. While attempting to touch on every base of what makes a classic LP (revealing story of his past? Check. Staunch rags to riches story that drags through the albums duration? Check.) it quickly becomes apparent that Meek just doesn’t have the range to compete with the albums he was hoping to be compared to. “Maybach Curtains” falls limp as his marquee “kitchen sink” song (Nas, Rick Ross AND John Legend? Okay.) and his attempts at ladies man pandering fall short not once but twice, relegating the tough talking Meek Mill to a whimper of his own self. Meek didn’t need to make an Illmatic or a Reasonable Doubt, we would have been just fine with Dreamchasers on steroids. Maybe next time.
Kid Cudi’s first foray into a lucrative rock career wasn’t new seeing as though he announced going outside the box at the beginning of his career. This is all fine, there’s nothing wrong with artists stepping outside the box, Lil Wayne does it regularly (to mixed results) and Cudi’s own mentor Kanye West continues to do so with every release. What we got when Cudi finally decided to drop the oft-delayed self titled project with collaborator and longtime producer/friend DotDaGenius was a little bit underwhelming…it was actually pretty terrible. Guitars play dissonant melodies and Cudi just seems to sleepwalk through the majority of the album as if to say “hey at least I’m trying” while he ruins a cover of Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” The soul of Kid Cudi’s music, his emotion and catchy lyrics, seem to be muted on WZRD and replaced with empty and even more vapid songwriting. Cudi had hoped WZRD would be a new launching pad for him — he should have just kept it to himself.
2 Chainz – Based On A T.R.U. Story
2 Chainz has paved a way for himself through features (“Mercy” “Beez In Tha Trap”) and his superstar aura which mostly came from his ubiquitous reign on the charts (again, from being on other peoples songs). So…what happened with his debut album? It’s really very simple, Based, while containing many of 2 Chainz’ signature tropes (women, weed and a knack for metaphors) it’s missing much of the soul that presided over his defining mixtapes. While never known to be super-lyrical, he regresses to become near background noise on songs like “I’m Different” replacing the major cover of his lyrical weakness with facepalm inducing lines — “I wish a nigga would(wood) like a kitchen cabinet” being chief among the many on the album. What really disappointed me about Based On A T.R.U. Story is the feeling that this was created with a “second album” attitude and instead we received a by the numbers debut that gives real definition of who 2 Chainz is. There’s little introspection (a trait he displays on features, mixtapes, and even Playaz Circle albums but not here), or even acknowledgement on the how and why of his honest and real rise to prominence from fourth fiddle on a fledgling superstars label — instead we get appearances by The-Dream and Mike Posner (!) to attempt to please a wider audience. It’s too easy to say that T.R.U. isn’t good — but it’s more telling to realize that it just isn’t representative of the 2 Chainz we adored in 2011.