02 January 2013

Readers' takes on which artists have fallen off after the '90s

On NYE I wrote about hip hop/R&B artists who I think have gotten stale after 1999. Zuodi sends me his list:
  • Joe
  • Dr. Dre
  • Wyclef Jean
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Shyne
  • Lauryn Hill
Here are my responses/comments:
  •  Joe: I first heard Joe when I was 11. The song was the remix of "Stutter" that featured Mystikal; I thought Mystikal's rapping was very scary back then. In my freshman year of high school I then discovered "Still Not a Player" by Big Pun featuring Joe, who sang the chorus of "Don't Want to Be a Player" for Pun's song. The following year  I joined the "4 Elements" hip hop club in high school (where I met Zuodi) I began listening to Golden Age music, including the song that the "Stutter" remix sampled, "Passin' Me By" by the Pharcyde. Eventually I stopped listening to Joe; I have just now learned about his '90s songs like "All the Things (Your Man Won't Do)" from the 1996 movie Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Definitely Joe sounded more original in the '90s than '00s, especially since Joe began collaborating with talentless hacks like G-Unit and was a featured artist on Mariah Carey's horrible 2002 album Charmbracelet. And apparently Joe had a single "If I Was Your Man" in 2007...of all the time I spent from 2005-2008 listening to KMEL I don't think I even remember that song!
  • Dr. Dre: In the past decade, Dre has been doing more producing than MC'ing, so I don't know if he really "fell off" this decade. In the early 2000s he had some decent productions like "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige and "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" by Eve featuring Gwen Stefani...both of which are way better than any Nicki  Minaj "you a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe" songs you heard on the radio. Unfortunately, Dre was responsible for spawning 50 Cent's sellout Get Rich or Die Tryin', a dull, lifeless drop from 50 Cent's earlier underground career (like "How to Rob", "Ghetto Quran", or "Your Life's on the Line"). And of course 50 Cent pretty much tarnished mainstream hip hop for the next 5 or so years...hip hop became more meaningless with all the Lil Jons, Soulja Boys, D4L's, Gucci Manes, and every crunk/auto tune/ringtone crapper. At least Dre, from his experience behind the Golden Age of Hip Hop, managed to produce music better than most, such as "How We Do" by the Game or "Like Toy Soldiers by Eminem. Finally, Detox, the forever-delayed album that fans have waited for near a decade now.
  • Wyclef Jean: Like I made my case earlier with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, Jean was best when he was with the Fugees. His solo stuff has been very uninteresting, and I've got to question his creative streak with his 2007 single "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" where the chorus sung by Akon straight up rips off Wu-Tang's "C.R.E.A.M."...and did Wyclef really have to bring in Lil Wayne of all rappers in the song? If not for the alleged misuse of funds, I would have praised Jean for his recent humanitarian work in this blog.
  • Nelly Furtado: Oh my, please don't take me back to the bad old days of 2006 and 2007 when "Promiscuous" and "Maneater" got non stop airplay on every top-40 radio station in the country. Apparently she had an indie career in the late '90s since her senior year of HS and also sang on a Jurassic 5 album in 2002. I haven't heard too much from Furtado after she was on Timbaland's 2009 album, so I guess going dance-pop in 2006 must've hurt her musical reputation a lot.
  • Shyne: I don't listen to Shyne so I can't comment about him. But because of the December 1999 nightclub shooting (where Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez were present), Shyne never even had a real career beyond album releases of super-old recordings in the 2000s.
  • Lauryn Hill: Hill, also of the Fugees, hasn't released very much new music since her MTV Unplugged concert in 2001. Again I can't comment since I don't listen to Hill beyond the Fugees or The Mis-Education.
Robb also commented on my facebook page where I posted my original blogpost: "Lil wayne has had numerous great albums in the last 10 years. Usher is still popular but I like his old stuff way more." I guess Robb means the Wayne mixtapes like Da Drought series. And glad to hear someone agrees regarding Usher.