TRU Presents: Rap’s Naughty & Nice List 2012

Written by Aaron. Posted in Comic Relief, Spotlight, The Rap Up

Published on December 25, 2012 with 4 Comments">4 Comments


Jay-Z and Beyonce are preparing for their daughter’s first-ever Christmas. Lil Wayne is slipping some eggnog into his purple drink. And of course, record label executives are scheming on last-minute ways to profit off the holiday season. That means it is December, and The Rap Up is serving its third annual Naughty or Nice List. Read on to find out who in hip-hop is in St. Nick’s good graces, and who will wake up feeling as empty as their stocking.

The Game
Game’s off-the-mic rants and unstable interview persona have always been irksome, but not enough to overshadow his dope music. In 2012, however, we got a chance to see what Game would be viewed as if his music was anything less than good. With the incredibly tacky Jesus Piece, Game had no saving grace for his ridiculous rants and claims. Oh, and he flip-flopped on issues more times than Mitt Romney.

NiceThe promise that was shown on Lecrae’s features and BET cypher from 2011 was fully realized on two projects this year. Lecrae repped Christ without gimmicks, and also managed to sound authentically hip hop while doing so. Church Clothes is one of the year’s best mixtapes, and even though his subsequent album, Gravity, didn’t quite match up to Church Clothes, it was still solid in its own right. I can’t wait to see what this guy does in 2013.

Chief Keef
This kid embodies much of what is wrong with hip hop. Mindless violence (his music), cheesy sexploits (his Instagram fiasco) and a horrible attitude (taunting the death of a rival gang member of Twitter) were all linked with Chief Keef this year. Rap’s heavyweights need sit the kid down for a chat. Either that, or give him a Jordan-in-’84-type freeze-out.

Lil Reese
Keef’s buddy Lil Reese was also outrageous this year. After a video of Reese assaulting a women surfaced on the internet, Reese shrugged off the footage on Twitter as haters trying to keep him down. It must be so hard to be a woman-beater.

NiceEarl Simmons stayed out of jail this year. For anyone who has followed his string of past legal troubles, that is no small feat. He also seems to have conquered his drug addiction, and released the worthy Undisputed which proved he still has it. That rendition of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was the whipped topping. I’m happy for you, X.

NiceTip defied the odds yet again. On the heels of legal trouble, the mediocre No Mercy and lukewarm promotional singles, people started to look at T.I. as more of a reality TV star than rapper. Tip rendered those whispers moot when he dropped Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head on Dec. 18. No, it’s not Trap Muzik or even Urban Legend, but it’s still a good album. He also released his F*ck Da City Up mixtape on New Year’s Day, which was a hella good time.

We get it, Shyne. Puffy did you wrong. But that incident at the now-defunct Kit Kat Club was 12 years ago. It’s over. Dwelling on it is tired and pointless. And calling Kendrick’s album trash? You were the only one who said that publicly. Literally, the only one. Either start recording good music, or move on.

Kendrick Lamar
NiceKendrick deserves being on this list because good kid, m.A.A.d city is a masterpiece. But that’s not the only reason. He also handled himself like a 5-year veteran in interviews and tore up a number of featured verses in 2012. Crown him.

Nicki Minaj
Young Money’s first lady tried to sell the same album, albeit with several bonus songs, for the third time. No, that’s not a typo. Then, when stores like Target refused to stock the re-re-packaging because it wasn’t good business sense, she blasted them in an interview. Go home, Nicki. And leave your microphone here.

NiceIn 2012, El-P released Cancer 4 Cure, which Rizoh called “bleak,” but “also beautiful,” and was well-received by hip hop heads and critics alike. He also produced Killer Mike’s critically-acclaimed R.A.P. Music in its entirety, which featured the politically-charged and powerful “Reagan.” Yeah, that’s what you call a double-double in hip-hop.

Liar, liar, mic on fire, your life was nothing like The Wire. Tyga joined a long list of rappers who have lied about their past and/or street cred, and was exposed for it when footage of himself on the game show “Bustas” showed him claiming to be from the Valley, not Compton. You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t lie about it.

Dr. Dre
NiceLast year, I put Dre on the Naughty List for failing to come through with Detox. No, the mythical album was not released this year. However, Dre was the one who gave Kendrick Lamar complete creative control over his major label debut, and we all know how that turned out. His Beats by Dre headphones also continued to grow in popularity. So no, Santa will not be skipping Dre’s house this year.

Lil Wayne
Ugh. This dude is devolving into a twerpy, braided slug. He’s as bad as he’s ever been as a rapper, and even worse as a public figure. He lost his lawsuit against Quincy Jones III for Jones’ documentary on the Wayne, and was actually court-ordered to pay Jones in a countersuit. How did Wayne lose? After he suffered a seizure that caused him to miss his court date, Wayne’s attorney was forced to show the videotape of Wayne’s deposition. The tape showed Wayne refusing to answer questions and mocking the whole process. No, Wayne, you didn’t look like a “G.” That is, unless “G” stands for goof or goon.

Big K.R.I.T.
NiceBig K.R.I.T.’s long-awaited debut album was finally released in 2012. Live From the Underground featured dope production and tight lyrics from K.R.I.T., who should be lauded for successfully making it to his first album. In today’s age of flooding and overhyping, that’s no joke.

I don’t even need to spend that much time on Doom, whose name now reads like a self-fulfilling prophecy. How are you going to send an imposter to one of your shows again? Do you even care about your fans?

I hope y’all enjoyed the list. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everybody!


Aaron is a journalism major at Edinboro University with a deep passion for hip-hop culture and music. He hails from Erie, Pa., and loves all things Pittsburgh and the Sixers. He has been down with hip-hop since "Lose Yourself" and has been all in since "What You Know." As a Christian, Aaron enjoys both secular and spiritual hip-hop. Besides his standard 6-11 servings of hip-hop per day, Aaron enjoys helping people out and hanging out with his crew, Platoon Squad.

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  • super phob

    dude the DOOM impostor thing is old as shit. get over it, he’s a super villain. Also I’ll say gkmc wasn’t the beautiful masterpiece everyone said it was. In my opinion Section 80 was better especially the rapping.

    • aaron

      He did it again. AGAIN. It’s absolutely ridiculous and can’t be explained by any good reason. I don’t care what he sounds like on record, that alone keeps from being among the greats, and puts him on the negative side this year. As for GKMC, a lot of people feel like you, but a lot of people feel like I do, too.

      • J.Monkey

        Yeah, I’m with Aaron. I’m a huge DOOM fan and loved Key to the Kuffs but that imposter shit just ain’t cool. People pay good money to see dude perform only to have some random dude in a mask show up, who wouldn’t feel swindled by that? Besides, if the excuse is “he’s a villain” than it only confirms his inclusion here. Villains are definitely naughty.

    • Jaap

      Yeah, I’m with Aaron. I’m a huge DOOM fan and loved Key to the Kuffs but that imposter shit just ain’t cool. People pay good money to see dude perform only to have some random dude in a mask show up, who wouldn’t feel swindled by that? Besides, if the excuse is “he’s a villain” than it only confirms his inclusion here. Villains are definitely naughty.