Hip-Hop Power Rankings: Top 5

The Hip Hop music industry is one of the only genres that willingly and inherently competes with itself. From the beginning with rival DJ’s scratching records in the park, to emcees battling on the mic, the game has been cultivated and mastered on a very competitive nature. It is almost like a professional sport. Till this day we want our artists to show and prove why they’re the best of their contemporaries. The NBA, closely associated with Hip-Hop culture, has built itself the same way: the cream always rises to the top, and a high tide floats all boats. The greater the players are, the more attention they garner to the league.

If we were to rank the top 5 NBA players, there would definitely be some differing opinions involved, but overall, I believe a consensus could be reached as to who they are. For example, the top 5 toward the end of the 2013 regular season.

In that time we have found out LBJ was almost the first unanimous MVP in league history. So, he’s #1 without much debate. #2 is a toss up between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. Sure, Durant has had more playoff success in less service time. However, Carmelo’s team in New York does not have another bonafide top 10 guy. Kevin Durant has Russell Westbrook. His impact was made clear as OKC fell to Memphis in the wake of his untimely injury. However, individually, Durant is the previous three-year scoring champ before letting up on this year’s title. Durant’s consistency lands him at #2. Melo solidifies the 3rd spot.

Now, the #4 spot, under even more scrutiny and debate, goes to Chris Paul. As the best floor general in the game today, Paul is a leader by example as well as with his voice. He’s led a charge of young and talented players to steal the spotlight away from the storied Lakers franchise.

Towards the end of the season, we saw Dwight Howard struggle, Kobe Bryant go down, Stephen Curry heat up, and Chicago and Boston agonize without their best players. Honorable mentions out of the way, #5 I’ve decided is Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. What he’s meant to the team this season is MVP personified; best skilled big man in the game and a great team defender.

That said, lets start the Hip-Hop list, as of the end of the NBA regular season in descending order from 5-1.

#5: Rick Ross: Reluctantly I placed him here, just because of what he’s responsible for: Meek Mill’s break out year, Wale and Omarion’s revival, every DJ Khaled track, etc. I also felt this comparison to Marc Gasol worked since he’s on the list only because Dwight Howard(Lil Wayne) had such a down year.

#4: Kanye West. His comparison is Chris Paul. Their career arcs don’t mirror each other much, but their skills in the game are very similar. Kanye does it all. Mr.”Triple-double, no assist”. He produces and raps with the best of them in both fields. He’s also established G.O.O.D. Music as a force to be reckoned with in the game. Pusha T, Big Sean, and Common are all under his leadership and guidance right now and the game is all the better for it.

#3: 2 Chainz. Like Melo, he’s switched teams and coasts and made a new name for himself. Same style as before, but you could say the difference between 2 chainz and TT boy reflects the change in Carmelo’s game. He’s stopped being mostly a team player and began to take a leadership role in the business.

#2: Drake. Like Kevin Durant, he’s virtually unstoppable. No matter how much you try to hate or criticize him, he keeps coming with bucket after bucket. Playing with a superstar in his own right, Drake has now replaced Lil Wayne as Young Money’s go-to artist.

#1: Kendrick Lamar. Lebron James of the game right now hands down. Lebron has played 10 years. Kendrick, not so much. His time behind the mic, though brief on the main stage, is not small in stature. His versatility and consistency are what make him the king at the moment. With the bonafide classic he dropped last year symbolizing his first “ring”, the sky is now the limit for this ‘good kid’.

By: Christopher “Kellz” Kelly

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Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Review

“Roman Holiday” introduces listeners to Minaj’s sequel to Pink Friday. It’s Minaj at her best and worst at the same time, a polarizing bouncy track equipped with vocal impersonations sure to keep her fans thoroughly entertained and her naysayers clutching at their opinions a little tighter. But, neither side can make a case against her originality.

“Come On A Cone” sports a boring beat and a boring flow from Nicki as she comically sings “Dick In Yo’ Face” repeatedly – quite frankly the highlight of the track.

“I Am Your Leader” features guest appearances from Rick Ross and Cam’Ron. There’s nothing special about the track, not the beat, not the verses. Nothing.

“Beez In The Trap” with 2 Chainz is more of the same – a subpar lyrical performance and a teenager’s attitude for a chorus.

Note: I’m bored as shit listening to the album at this point. I’m waiting for some talent to showcase itself instead of these insults to my intelligence and time.

“HOV Lane” still doesn’t do anything to entertain me. The beat is simplistic and her hashtag, Tourette’s Syndrome flow manages to be utterly forgettable. I guess she’s earning points for consistency at this point.

“Roman Reloaded” has a catchy hook and some harder punchlines. Lil Wayne stops by for some humorous metaphors of his own and finally, we have something I could bop my head to and sing along with. “Bang, B-B-Bang, Bang, Bang.” 

“Champion” hits on a deeper note with an airy production and heartfelt lyrical composition from Minaj, Drake, Young Jeezy, and Nas. A dope track for sure.

“Right By My Side” is surefire Hip-Pop at its finest with R&B prince Chris Brown. It’s a radio friendly sentimental love track as only Nicki can compose.

“Sex In The Lounge”, a lustful track featuring Bobby V and a second appearance from Weezy is a pretty bland track even though there’s some intense sexual advances in the lyrics.

“Starships” is Nicki’s pop dance track – a fun, catchy, party anthem sure to bang in the clubs and dance halls. Don’t listen if you’re looking for lyrics and swagger. It’s a feel good track and it does its job efficiently.

“Pound The Alarm” follows suit perfectly with the previous track as another dance hall offering. I can see a lot of drunk college kids jumping around to this track, too.

“Whip It” is poppy, romantic, house music; a little on the overkill side for Hip-Hop fans.

“Automatic” continues Nicki’s venture into dance club music.

“Beautiful Sinner” is actually a hot dance track. The beat is energizing and Nicki’s auto-tune is catchy. She does a good job of capturing the sexual chemistry between lovers who are actually no good for one another.

“Marilyn Monroe” sees Nicki liken herself to the legendary sex kitten. The beat is well-bodied with an eclectic coupling of sounds to which Minaj smoothly rides over. Good shit here.

“Young Forever” is a full-fledged love song with a good performance from Nicki over a solid production.

“Fire Burns” is Nicki standing her ground against an unfaithful lover. Her songwriting here is strong and the beat is pretty fresh.

“Gun Shot” features Reggae king Beenie Man is a cohesive mix with the last batch of love songs. Nicki’s still singing but still sounding very good over the light production.

“Stupid Hoe” is Nicki giving the dance tracks the sudden cold shoulder. She’s as obnoxious as ever on this track, just as the name suggests. But, since she’s getting at Lil Kim with it then it works. It’s a juvenile offering but entertaining nonetheless.

“Turn Me On” picks Nicki’s dancing shoes right back up. You can’t penalize her for making this type of music as it’s the popular wave right now.

“Va Va Voom” and “Masquerade” is more of the same. She’s singing her heart out and riding over pop beats with harmonizing efficiency.

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is Nicki Minaj at her most Pop Iconic. The character, attitude, irreverence, and swag are all loaded in abundance on this album and it’s obvious she has become something more than an just an emcee, she’s an entertainer. Her talent stretches far and wide into realms of music outside of Hip-Hop as she stage dives head-first into Pop and Dance platforms then back into her own brand of hashtag, A.D.D. Rap. Sure, the cohesion on the album is pretty spotty at times but she’s determined to wow audiences of all genres, not just that in which originally made her famous. She sings, raps, screams, and downright entertains in her own unique fashion on her own unique terms. And that will always be a respectable asset for any artist to maintain.

17/22

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