Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Toiling In Obscurity

One of the saddest stories in hip-hop is that of the aging rapper who has been putting it down for years with too little recognition for too long, staying true to the game throughout. And so we begin, the Toiling in Obscurity List, no particular order:

1. Tragedy, aka The Intelligent Hoodlum, aka Khadafi. Talk about never getting what's due, this guy has put out album after album of worthy material, only to see it ignored by the buying public every single time! From his Marley Marl produced debut and sophomore joints, to his recent Mobb Deep-styled politicking.
2. Masta Ace. More Intelligent than the Hoodlum, Masta Ace has tried everything. Black consciousness, Jeep Beats, Rap Operas, you name it. All with integrity and creativity, mind you. Still, ain't nuttin to show for it.
3. Craig G. Didn't expect this to be a Juice Crew list, but while we're at it...
4. Biz Markie. Come on, one hit "Just a Friend" doesn't do the man justice. Pop charts saw the song as an oddity, not as a true hip-hop staple.
5. Chino XL. The original Eminem, Chino XL spit offensive lines before it became fashionable.
6. Keith Murray. He's never going to have a huge album, or a huge single, but he's going to keep cranking em out. Up there with Chino and Rass Kass as a great punchline MC.
7. Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith. Separate not together, these two are doomed to obscurity following their disappointing reunion. This is especially sad for Erick Sermon, who may be the most prolific producer that hip-hop has ever known.
8. Prince Paul. Speaking of legendary producers, this man has contributed so much to hip-hop, yet seems content with his niche outside of the hip-hop mainstream. Possibly the only person on this list who is comfortable with the "Toiling in Obscurity" title.
9. Chuck D. Does anyone really care about *anything* Chuck D has created since "Can't Truss It" came out? Unfortunate, would have been great if he contributed to Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11.
10. Ras Kass. One of the most skilled lyrical technicians, Ras Kass seemingly had all the traits for a legendary artist when he came out the gate back when...11 years later, only two albums to show for it, neither being worthy of his potential.


At 7/16/2004 7:02 PM, Blogger mizzensch said...

Tight list Mike

re: Biz

yeah it really annoyed me when Biz made it onto VH1's Top One-Hit Wonders list.
Idiots. To include Biz in a list of people who have made only one notable contribution to contemporary music. Based on "Just a Friend" to boot!? A song that really isn't even up there in the top echelon of Biz classics (eg "Nobody Beats the Biz", "Make the Music With Your Mouth", "Vapors", "This Is Something For the Radio", "The Biz Dance", "Pickin Boogers", "Spring Again"...), next to most of those tracks, "Just a Friend" is more of a nostalgic novelty joint that happened to pop than anything else.


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