Wow. Another year come and gone. “Naughty and Nice List 2010″ was my second ever post for TRU. One year later, I”m officially a member of TRU and legally able to slur my words. No worries here, though. The second annual “Naughty and Nice List” is clear and straight to the point. Some good dudes, some bad cats. Peep game to see who- and who isn’t- on Santa’s good side based on 2011. (Note: This is not a complete list of rappers/hip-hop figures active in 2011. It’s a list of some of the notable ones.)
Nice: Brotha Lynch Hung
Kevin Mann is not someone people refer to as “nice” in the traditional sense of the word. The man who pretty much invented horrorcore rap is all about dismembering bodies in horrifically brutal ways- on wax, of course. Lynch does a helluva job on his latest offering, “Coathanga Strangla.” The album, which is the second part of
his terrifying trilogy, never gets dull over the course of its 22 tracks. And that’s nice.
Naughty: Beanie Sigel
Still, man? You’re STILL going on about the Roc-a-Fella split? I guess you didn’t see Jaap’s open letter to you back in June. Well, in case you didn’t hear us clearly, I’ll be clearer. THE DYNASTY IS OVER, no Phil Jackson.
If “Be” was Common’s redemption after “Electric Circus,” consider “The Dreamer/The Believer” his redemption after the poorly received “Universal Mind Control.” Common delivers the goods on his album, which is equal parts raw and soulful. Kudos to Lonnie Lynn for his critically-acclaimed memoir, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.”
Jayceon Taylor continued to make an ass out of himself in interviews, but 2011 also saw the man release a certifiable west coast banger, “The R.E.D. Album.” Game steps it up both lyrically and personally, using excellent rhyme techniques to display some actual personal growth. Now, if he could only keep his mouth shut off the mic…
Naughty: Lil Wayne
It’s not that Dwayne Carter told us he was going to release a classic and then proceeded to drop one of the worst albums of the year. It’s not even that he pretty much expunged all creativity from his music. The reason Lil Wayne is on this list is because he is the ring-leader of misrepresenting hip-hop as all about misogyny, reckless statements, and irresponsibility. That’s as far from nice as it gets.
Nice: J Cole
It was a real Cole year, for sure. Jermaine kept things fresh with flurries of lyrics and dope beats- and that was in the fall. The result? “Cole World- The Sideline Story” is one of the finest albums of 2011. If this guy ever releases an album mid-January, we best get ready for an ice age.
The problem with one-trick ponies is their tricks get pretty old quickly. In 2010, Curren$y introduced us to the Jet Life. In 2011, he ran it into the ground. It’s sad that it doesn’t look like Shante’s audio will be dope in 2012.
Who says 42 is too old for hip hop? Jay did it as big as ever in ’11, conceiving a child with Bey, releasing the dope “Watch the Throne” with Kanye, and then hitting the road with Yeezy. In the words of Carl Weathers via Happy Gilmore, he’s only just begun.
Naughty: Dr. Dre
Sometimes, teasing can become cruel. After years of toying with our emotions via “Detox,” it seemed like Dre was going to really release the mythical album after both the single “Kush” and the video for “I Need a Doctor” appeared. Alas, 2011 is drawing to a close and “Detox” was nowhere in sight. Prancer, take a left. We’re skipping the Young household this year.
Nice: Kanye West
Of course, “Watch the Throne” couldn’t have been possible without Kanye. Not only was ‘Ye a beast on the boards, he was also a monster on the mic. That “weak-emcee” talk is nothing more than a joke now.
Why must rappers bite the hands that feed them? Kanye practically handed Consequence success on a platter, and he still couldn’t cut it. This is for taking the Broad Street route, rather than the Freeway. *Drops a lump of coal into Consequence’s stocking*
After years of holding it down well within Christian hip-hop, Lecrae ventured out to rap on Statik Selektah’s tape and also rap in a BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher. Oh, and the best part? He never compromised his faith.
Naughty: Rick Ross
You may recall that I put Ricky Rozay on the nice list in 2010. Well, so much for that. Ross spearheaded the earsore that was “Self Made Vol. 1″ and expanded his mafioso persona from “LOL” to “I’m-steaming-mad-at-this-clown” level. Oh, and that grunting noise he makes on songs? Someone, please make it stop!
These guys may be nuts, but they’re a breath of fresh air in the culture. Tyler, the Creator released the well-received “Goblin,” won a VMA award for his “Yonkers” video, and had an awesome Q&A with NaS featured in XXL. Odd Future’s resident crooner Frank Ocean also did a solid job lending his vocals to “Watch the Throne.”
Naughty: Two dumb girls
I debated with myself over whether or not to put two attention-starved female rappers on this list. I decided to put them on without saying their names, thus depriving them of the attention they so sorely want. If you know who I’m talking about, you most likely whole-heartedly agree. If you don’t, count yourself lucky.
Nice: Wit and Dre Murray
Think all Christian rap is sweet? This duo turned that theory on its head in ’11. Rather than spit Bible verses into a mic, they connected with God through real-life tales backed by raw, soulful production. Need proof? Check their “Hell’s Paradise” episodes.
Folarin went from Go-Go to Oh-no! in ’11. The inexplicably awful decision to join Maybach Music was pretty much career suicide for Wale, at least in terms of making respectable music. Though he was the sole consistently bright spot on “Self Made Vol. 1,” his sophomore album “Ambition” was contradictory, shallow and painful. Maybe he should start releasing his mixtapes for retail.
Nice: Royce Da 5’9″
And I thought Cole was going to hog the spotlight. Nah, Nickel Nine negated any notion of no publicity for himself this year when he rejoined forces with Eminem on “Hell: The Sequel.” The EP wasn’t anything too special, Royce remained lyrically impressive. He then released the strong “Success is Certain” LP and ripped it up in the Shady 2.0 BET cypher. After all that, there’s only one thing left to say: Hi, Rihanna!
That’s that; a goodie for your holiday season. No, it’s not $1 million from Santa Claus, but it’s better than those itchy socks your aunt got you. Merry Christmas, everybody!