The Miseducation is Overrated: A Wakeup Call to my Teenage Self » VSB

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The Miseducation is Overrated: A Wakeup Call to my Teenage Self

Columbia Records


Sometime last year I went through a gut-wrenching breakup. Not because anybody cheated or invited me to therapy to let me know they were gay in front of 25 cameras and a boom mic or anything. Just a regular ole’ “I think we just broke up and I don’t know how to function without my best friend so now I’m drunk in DR  a week and a half later and still buying you a birthday gift like a looney tune and crying on the damn beach” break up. An “I’m crying in the club to a dancehall tune that we both loved” breakup. An “eat and drink my feelings with abandon for 6 months then stand on the scale in horror” breakup. You get the picture.

Thankfully for both me and my friends, I busted out of that funk. That is to say, I’m still a mess, but a way more high-functioning one.

During this pity tour, I went through a lot of sad playlists, because no one engages in emotional masochism quite like the Yung Shamgod. I watched Sarah Mclachlan abused puppy commercials. I dusted off my mom’s Celine Dion and Jacques Brel CDs. Had an Adele Appreciation month – and committed the cardinal sin of updating my Gchat status to a verse off 21. I may have even played “Song Cry” on loop for an hour in the dark while I polished off a lemonade-rita tall boy in bed – although I’m sincerely hoping this was a fever dream.

Of course, no post-breakup wallow cycle is complete without revisiting Lauryn Hill’s debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. So one Tuesday evening, I got my glass of wine, dimmed the lights, and got ready for my almost daily routine of crying my eyes out until my tear ducts were depleted enough to be functional around well-adjusted humans for 8 hours the next working day.

That same Tuesday is when I promptly discovered that this album is terrible.

Before you start pelting me with essential oils, please note that I’ve been an avid defender of Lauryn Hill: The Early Years (no one is standing by Burlington Coat Factory Fire Sale Rack Lauryn). Teenage me cobbled my hard earned tutoring pennies to buy the album to play on my fancy non-skip discman, waist length straightbacks flapping in the wind. Teenage me found this album very deep and soulful.

Teenage me also thought that communism was a really great idea “in theory, just not in execution.” In short, teenage me was an idiot in a Knicks jersey dress.*

We need to collectively acknowledge that our stannery of this album is wholly due to our nostalgic memory of what that album seemed to be, and not what it actually was and is: a petty collection of shots and fake-deep respectability politics by a pretentious asshole who definitely presses the like button on hotep Facebook memes that litter her newsfeed.

As I am sure that a few of you are still vehemently denying reality, I will submit to you some incontrovertible track-by-track truth bombs.

  1. Intro – There’s nothing really to break down here but I wanted to use this part to just get the acknowledgement out of the way that the skit that is weaved through the album is just pointless. No one cares how kids feel about love. They don’t know how they feel about love. Because kids don’t have fully formed opinions on anything except for  what’s in the new crispy chicken wraps, or b.what new vine dance is going to break into the mainstream. Even at my peak delusional enjoyment of this album, I skipped past the skits.
  2. Lost Ones – In the cannon of top diss songs ever recorded, this definitely is up there (although not superior to “10% Dis” – MC Lyte blessed us with the unfuckwitable phrase “hot damn hoe, here we go again”, which is in regular day to day rotation round these parts). That said…the entire conceit of the track is a farce. Lauryn Hill was the side chick who got played to the left and had nothing but sour grapes to show for it. All reasons to be salty to be sure – but you got with a married Haitian man…girl, what else were you expecting? The modern day equivalent of the spirit of this song is jumping on twitter and putting up screenshots of somebody’s man’s DMs after he decides to stop cheating with you. I haven’t even gotten into her hotep life parables peppered throughout the song. “Wisdom is better than silver & gold?” I’m pretty sure she didn’t tell that to the IRS. (Have you read what she actually said to the IRS though? She said we shouldn’t pay taxes because of slavery and because she creates art about love. I don’t know about that second part, but I am happily onboard to sign the petition for the new-age reparations model.)
  3. Ex Factor – Again, Lauryn is forcing us to accept a reality that retroactively undermines that we historically know to be true. “It could all be so simple”…how on earth could being in a non-relationship with your band mate and co-writer who is publicly with someone else be simple? “Loving you is like a battle”..”get some reciprocity”…”pretend that you can’t stay”…I’m just saying, we mocked K. Michelle for writing woeful ballads about sleeping with a certain Ghanaian fuckboy. What’s the difference beyond a few booty injections?
  4. To Zion – Okay, I guess this song is endearing, I’ll give you that. Although I kind of furrow my brow at the whole “everyone told me to abort you, but an angel told me I was going to have a powerful son, so I ignored everyone, and look at you now?” part of the song. I wouldn’t rebut anyone who said this was sweet. I’m not a parent – the only person I can sing about being the joy of my world is Mona “Lucifer” Scott for continuing to find new ways to keep me in her evil clutches (Cardi B AND Remy Ma on Love & Hip Hop NY? Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in…)
  5. Doo Wop (That Thing) – This song is flat-out terrible. The entire first verse is her calling chicks sinful weaved-up hoes. The woman who was sleeping with two married men and had them both at the delivery of her son is wagging her finger at who, exactly? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone, as someone in the Bible once (kinda) said. Then after she’s done going all “nasty put some clothes on I told ya” she chastises men for…not adhering to club dress codes and lying about their prison records? Oh, and child support. At one point in time we thought this song was empowering.
  6. Superstar – I have nothing much to say here except that the hook is super corny. “Come on baby light my fire/everything you drop is so tired/music is supposed to inspire/how come we ain’t getting no higher” sounds like the revelations of Chip & Dustin after passing around a vaporizer in the Kappa Sigma frat house.
  7. Final Hour – Lauryn can indisputably rap. But what the hell is she rapping about? I guess this is the hotepian version of “I’ll get that last laugh from the gates of heaven while you heathens are dancing on those flames, haters.” But hey, if Wu-Tang can do it, then Lauryn certainly can. Blink your third eye 5 times if you understand this message.
  8. When It Hurts So Bad – Another 5 minute long sub to Wyclef. *Yawns* We’ve already tread this water. Lauryn is one lifelong warning sign against island dick. ESPECIALLY if it’s married.
  9. I Used to Love Him – *points up*
  10. Forgive them Father – I appreciate the Concrete Jungle beat flip…but this is another hotep song that doesn’t actually seem to have a point. At some points it seems like she’s talking about Wyclef for the umpteenth time, but then she starts talking about Indians and Chiefs and African czars and Menelik and I’m pretty sure I passed out and woke up in a spoken word showcase.
  11. Every Ghetto, Every City – A cute ode to her hometown I guess. I don’t have anything to say about this. I guess no thoughts are better than bad thoughts.
  12. Nothing Even Matters – I got nothing. I genuinely love this song. Plus D’Angelo sounds out full syllables! I can’t hate on that.
  13. Everything is Everything – see: Hour, Final; Father, Forgive Them.
  14. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – …okay I love this song too.

It goes without saying that (some of) my criticism is a bit dramatized for effect. I didn’t even give the album it’s due props for production and arrangement. That said, I do present my case for Miseducation’s greatness being overinflated. It’s 60% sidechick woes, 25% hotep facts with some religious overtones (ESPECIALLY Tell Him, which I didn’t write about because I was lazy and my word count has gotten quite egregious at his point), and 15% self-empowerment. This is not a bad thing! But let’s acknowledge it for what it is.

…Or give K. Michelle’s sophomore album a second glance. She may be like a bird, but that Memphis cockatoo can sing like one too.

*this was the most feminine item of clothing I owned at the time too. I went through a quite painful and protracted tomboy phase.

Shamira Ibrahim

Shamira is a twentysomething New Yorker who likes all things Dipset. You can join her in waxing poetically about chicken, Cam'ron, and gentrification (gotta have some balance) under the influence of varying amounts of brown liquor at her semi-monthly blog,

  • *puts rotten tomato down and actually reads the list*

    You’ve made some decent points, particularly about Doo Wop. It’s definitely very, “ladies should act like ladies and wear modest clothes, and do all the cookin’ and cleanin’, etc.” I’ll give you that. Lauryn fell flat with me after that re-emergence a few years back when she dropped that terrible song talking about God knows what and blaming gay men for killing our people.

    I had to acknowledge that Lauryn wasn’t ever really all that revolutionary. I had found her in middle school when I was in an awkward (still am honestly) stage and felt like I needed something to validate me. She out here preaching respectability politics at me but her entire life is basically her being the heaux she told me not to be :-

    • Tierra

      I wasn’t a teenager when this album came out, so I didn’t know about the whole Wyclef affair until right before I saw her perform at House of Blues last year. It was like hearing Santa’s really ya moms conspiring with Aunt Tracy who keeps all your presents at her house ’cause she ain’t got kids. (I’m still hurt by that. I thought we was fam, Aunt Tracy).

      But real talk, I spent that entire concert in stunned silence because the illusion of respectability was shattered. Lauryn was the pinnacle of godly femininity in my household growing up. My childhood was ruined. Not to mention she was 3 hours late and rude to her backup singers, band, and stagehands. That concert was like watching a mom beat her kids in the cereal aisle at Food Lion. Awkward… but you just can’t look away… or call social services.

      • Another issue I have with her and many other celebrities. I understand that things come up which prevent you from being prompt but Lauryn Hill showing up to events 3+ hrs late without so much as a, “my bad”, is so disrespectful. Don’t disrespect my time.

        • Amber

          Yes this is an issue that I have of many of these artists. Then they will come out like they paying us to be there. Or will talk about their art like being an artist has something to do with you being on time.

          • Here’s the thing, I don’t need any one artist’s music to live my life. They get paid hand over fist to be average, at best. Can you imagine your electrician, doctor, accountant, etc. giving you average work and expecting to be paid and lauded as the best??????

        • JamesInstagram

          Here it is. I Googled it in preparation of reading this article. I had to remember how trifling Lauryn Hill can be.

          • The whole, “I apologize for being late but I don’t apologize for being late so stop complaining”, thing really rubbed me the wrong way. Artists don’t get a pass from me. This is your job. The music industry is far more lax about “deadlines” than corporate America is, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for allowing artists the freedom to push back deadlines so they can be “creatives”. I doubt artists would be pleased if they showed up to a venue and their rider wasn’t fulfilled. They ask for so much and give so little in return.

          • inYOface

            4 days late (but I’m giving my $0.02) – she’s on my never list … so disrespectful to HER fans … I’m done! (1 fan may not count, but I’m still o.u.t.!!)

      • Tina

        “That concert was like watching a mom beat her kids in the cereal aisle at Food Lion.”


    • Question

      This. Lauryn was revolutionary to me during the time I was probably most confused about who I was.

    • Tinawina

      But… that’s not a commentary about the actual music though. That’s my problem with this piece. The album was full of well written, well sung/rapped, and well produced music that made you feel something. Hypocrite or not, the music was good. You mean to tell me Ex Factor is not a great song, all because we think we know who she’s singing about? If someone morally acceptable sang the song, would it be a good song then?

      I mean we could go down the list of artists who made great music while having screwed up personal lives that sometimes contradicted their lyrics… and so? I really feel like this was written for the internet traffic. Eh.

  • Brandon Allen

    No, Sham. No! You can’t gloss over the production because its great. Also, every artist from the east coast was hotep-adjacent until about 2001. At least it’s the rare female perspective instead of another dude rambling about queens and oils.

    I appreciate the effort tho, because this is bold….

    • uNk

      “because this is bold….”

      Can you help with the troll blockade set up? I got the right side if you can handle the left.

    • Jennifer

      “Also, every artist from the east coast was hotep-adjacent until about 2001”

      Thank you! East Coasters used to clown Southern artists for not being deep enough back in the day. I still see nothing wrong with party music that took creative risks with their sound and production — which I think southern artists were crazy good at creating. That fake East Coast enlightenment stuff used to get on my nerves.

      • Val

        It wasn’t fake though. That’s what they were into.

        • Jennifer

          How about overwrought then? ;-)

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        As an east coast representative I’ve gotta say, who said it was fake? Growing up in different NYC neighborhoods, I’ve gotta tell you, there’s nothing wrong with a lil street education bordering on ‘enlightenment’. There nothing wrong with the southern rap music and nothing fake about the east coast enlightenment. This is the basis of Hip Hop as rebel music.

    • Val

      “…every artist from the east coast was hotep-adjacent until about 2001.”

      Lol That’s true. Although it may have been more Afrocentrism than Hotepness.

      • Brandon Allen

        The line between Afrocentrism and Hotepness is thin and porous lol

        • Val

          Lol True.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        people are getting these things sadly confused. . .but whatever. We’re in the post-conscious, LAHH era of black culture I guess.

  • Vanity in Peril

    Lauryn Hill is the goat…ALL THYME, okaaaaay?!?! *storms off

    • Love that song a bunch Cool video too.

  • That must have been a heck of a break up to make you turn your back L Boogie. This was a great album that maybe we all overplayed.

    Side note: Communism needs time to play out just like a democracy. Europe has many communist principles, just democratically agreed on.

  • Kema

    *covers ears with hands* no No NOOO!!!! I refuse to listen. That album is the best and you cant tell my teenage self nothing.

  • Delia

    I was gonna shout ‘BLASPHEMY!!!!’ until…..

    You called her out on her hypocrisy in ‘Doo Wop’ (can we be honest here? I really had no idea about that mess of a situation)

    You left ‘Nothing Even Matters’ and ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ (which still brings me to tears today) alone

  • uNk

    Hmmm…..ok will I can kind of somewhat possibly see your point for Doo Wop and Ex-Factor. Its almost the whole “do as I say, not as I do” speech we all got as kids, or when you finally get grown and realize adults don’t really know what they doing either while they preaching. I just don’t know if I can call the whole album….trash

    *Turns Doo-Wop back on blast*

  • AlwaysCC

    i compartmentalize alllll the time. i still like the majority of these songs – i could care less about the lauryn/wyclef drama. if i started evaluating my musical choices based off the personal lives of the singers, i would have a very limited playlist. like 3 songs lol

    • True. When I listen to these songs, Lauryn’s situationship with Wyclef doesn’t even enter my mind. I simply retreat into my own mind, think about my own misplaced love…

      • AlwaysCC

        i relate to music by how it makes me feel. i can instantly go back to various moments in life depending on what song is playing. the artist and his/her life have very little to do with it for me.

        • Val

          Unless it’s RKelly.

          • MsSula


          • AlwaysCC

            lol ain’t nobody talking about robert sylvester today

            • tgtaggie

              When I saw Kells up there last night getting shine. I was like, BET that wasn’t the best idea.

              • AlwaysCC

                i don’t have cable so i didn’t see it. i just saw a lot of people talking about it.

            • Pinks

              erbody is, apparently, since he was on the soul train awards. I only caught Jill Scott’s award so I can’t speak on him

              • AlwaysCC

                i couldn’t tell what exactly happened. most people were just talking about his hits/songs…did he win an award?

                • I think people get upset that the black community still feels the need to bring him up in light of his questionable past with teenaged girls. Admittedly though, many R&B artists, rappers, etc. have had s e x with teenagers over the years and we just chalk it up to “men being men”.

                  I get why people are mad at R.Kelly but it doesn’t really change anything. People still love his music and will pay to see him perform it.

                  • AlwaysCC

                    people are definitely still paying to see him. his concerts sell out (and i’ve heard it’s a really good show)

                    • Idk, the black community has always had issues when it came to how we excuse black men for their indiscretions. Kelly has settled dozens of child p o r n o g r a p h y and r a p e cases levied against him. He’s had s e x with the daughters of close friends, associates, even his former publicist’s daughter (who he’d known since she was 7 years old) and people don’t really understand the scope of it all.

                      R.Kelly is a literal monster but we like to make jokes about him peeing on his goddaughter, the young girl in that infamous tape. It’s really scary that he still walks free after all the things he’s done to little girls.

                    • AlwaysCC

                      i agree with everything you just said. i haven’t bought any rkelly music since tp2 so i don’t really have a dog in this fight. any memories i have related to his music were from long before i knew of his sordid personal life.

                    • One

                      “Literally a monster…” You either don’t know what literately means or your understanding of monsters is woefully unimaginative.

                    • Tina

                      “one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character”

                      “an inhumanly cruel or wicked person”

                      child rapist applies, no?

                    • LMNOP

                      Child rapists are scarier monsters to me than the whole of Monsters Inc and Monsters University put together.

                    • Ezra Taylor

                      So homosexuality is in that mix as well, no?

                    • Thanks for your input.

                  • Dee Squared

                    Thank you RubyWooWho!!! R’a is the man and will always be the man. He can sing and these fools out here cannot hold a candle to him. YES, YES YES his past is shady, but when the Chocolate Factory is playing Saturday morning…I could give a DAYUM!!!
                    *drops mic and continues to vacuum!*

                    • I think you missed the point of my comment. R.Kelly’s singing is slightly above average. Production is what carried him over the years. I won’t ever give him any more kudos than he deserves though. He’s a decent singer and a terrible person.

                    • Dee Squared

                      Oooh….but as I have reread yur post, i see that your not really pumping yur fist for Kels…. I do understand…
                      I’m still here for you RubyWooWho…

                    • I mean, your opinion is yours to have, you don’t have to agree with mine but I’m glad you re-read it and saw where I was coming from.

                    • Michelle

                      In my opinion, I believe R. Kelly’s career would’ve been over if he was caught with boys/transgender women, instead of with girls.

                    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                      His past is criminal, predatory and altogether corrupt given that his victims were purposely young black girls. This is all throughout his music, so its not just his “past” being “shady”. Ugh. F R. Kelly.

                    • xAlone in a Crowdx

                      You didn’t understand the comment. Clearly.

            • MissMoni

              I have cable, and didn’t see the show….i might rewatch it when it airs again repeated during the next 4 weeks. LOL!

          • *nods*

    • Question

      This. It seems like most of the author’s issues stem from Lauryn’s personal life, not necessarily her “product”. I can appreciate what she offered and that can be separate and distinct from my opinion of her personal life (which doesn’t affect me none).

      • That and majority of the lyrics being Hotep

        • Question

          But in 1997 when the album dropped, we were still callin’ people Gods, Earths, Sons, Duns and Scullies.

          She wasn’t all that outta context for the time.

          • Squish

            These are facts.

    • MsSula

      The beauty for me is I had no idea about this drama until very recently… and even then I still don’t really know what went down. So I was able to appreciate it all.

      • AlwaysCC

        i found out loooooooong after it had all gone down myself. i think it was a few years ago when i found out.

    • WST_Three

      Agreed, but if I know that every song I’m vibing out to is based on the trials of a disgruntled sidekick hotep, I can’t really get down with it. Well, I take that back. Because i can and did get down to Lauryn Hill, but not without a sideeye…

      • AlwaysCC

        to me, that’s the beauty of music. i don’t have to care/know what the song was coming from to enjoy it. i apply it to my personal situation. kind of like people keep trying to make “every breath you take” by the police a love song lol (spoiler: it’s not a love song)

  • Leggy

    I agree. Also, Tupac is so overrated. He’s lucky he died. *drops mic*

    • [Insert Creative Name Here]

      You may want to go into hiding.

    • Outside of his albums feeling bloated, he stands the test of time as an emcee to me.

    • LehcarB

      A friend and I were talking about if Tupac was still alive and we both agreed it would have been him starring in “Are We There Yet?” LOL

      • This is very true. He would have crossed allllll the way over!

      • miss t-lee

        Would’ve been wild to see. He was kinda headed there with the movie roles.
        Too bad.

    • CHURCH! *vamps on the organ* *signals to the drummer to start playing* I FEEL A PRAISE BREAK COMING! THE HOLY GHOST IS IN ME! WOOOOO!

    • Tupac AND Biggie IMO are both extremely over-rated. I don’t care…I never cared, I never will care. Their music is meh at best…with the exception of a few highlights from each camp of course.

      • Biggie is a weird one. His music aged much better than Pac. Plus he was throwing such heat at such a young age. The aura around him is ridiculous, but there’s legit talent underneath it.

        • I’m not hear for Project Fables and Crack anthems…

          • LEE007

            Umm B.I.G was one of the best storytellers in the game and he had songs that gave you depth beyond the wordplay. Pac was much more socially conscious and that is why I think some people may prefer him. What would a 24 year old gut from BK rap about in the 90’s if not hood topics?

            • I’m not saying he should rap about anything other than what he did rap about…What I’m saying is…I don’t care about it. Never have, never will.

        • I think he would have become a Drake with an edge. A lot of edge because Pac’s buzz was nuts so his crossover would have been big.

          • Ewwww…’s bad enough Drake is Drake. Over here crying over a girl moving on. We don’t need more of that.

        • his music aged better than tupac? huh? what? where? huh???

      • BlueWave1

        Damn this hurt. But there is some truth here. I’ve always felt that crack era rap would not age well. And that is where Biggie falls. Tupac is a special case though. I think his career as an entertainer was bigger than rap. “Juice” probably did more to build Tupac’s mystique than any of his music. “Juice” came out in 1991 at the beginning of Tupac’s rise. He basically spent the next 5 years making music as “Bishop” from the film. Between his films and his very public run ins with the law Tupac was a walking reality show. His music was his soundtrack.

        • Tupac the actor > Tupac the Rapper…for me anyway. His turn as Bishop in Juice was just…perfection.

    • Pinks

      I’ve never understood the hype. But I be quiet, because folks will cut you.

      • Brandon Allen

        Ive got my knife ready.

        • Pinks

          Ight, Debo. *tucks chain in*

      • NY in the 80’s/90’s is the reason why NY natives won’t stop telling you they’re from NY. I blame Biggie.

        • Pinks

          And, we’re just that frigging awesome. lol but for real, people do act like Biggie, Nas and Jay are rap’s saviors. I can’t argue that much against them because I don’t care.

          • Y’all remind me of Cowboys fans. Quick to remind you about something that happened 20+ years ago. Give it up.

            • Pinks

              Meh, I don’t even get involved in those who’s the best debates. I just happen to think NY has everything anybody could want, but I know there’s other places that are less expensive, less noisy, less polluted, etc. I honestly can’t live the life I want to live and stay in NYC for much longer. I’ll ride this bish till the wheels fall off, doe lol

              • Lol

                You have fun paying rent up there for those glorified shoe boxes. Y’all can have that.

            • belligerentwill

              Thank you for that. You just made my Thursday night hangover (yes, STILL) a little bit better.

        • Wait… I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to show pride in my hometown if I live within Route 287. I’ll guess I’ll claim Cleveland then….

          • No one said don’t show pride.

            • I’ve seen too many examples of people from other cities coming out guns blazing because they met an @sshole from NYC 6 years ago. Nope. I love where I’m from.

              • Again, no one said you can’t show pride so what exactly are you getting at?

    • ChellZ

      Shhhhh. Don’t tell nobody. I agree.

    • Brandon Allen

      You are both excommunicated and banished and shall henceforth never be admitted to the realm. Anyone apprehended assisting you shall be subject to the same punishment.

    • I don’t think people would be touting either as the best if they were still alive. We have a nasty habit of putting dead artists up on imaginary pedestals.

      Aaliyah is a good example of this. I really enjoyed her spirit, beauty, etc. but baby girl couldn’t carry a tune. Yet, every year in August, Timbaland and Missy Elliot have convinced radio stations everywhere to play her songs all damb day as homage to her life cut short.

      • Tina

        Same here. I love Aaliyah’s music, but her voice didn’t really move me.

      • BlueWave1

        “Best Ever” stays changing. Every generation thinks their “best” will always be the best. It’s why people over 50 think the Beetles are god’s gift. Its why 40 year olds think 90’s rap is the best. It’s why Charles Barkley thinks the NBA will never be as good as it was in the 90’s.

        • As an aside, I can’t wait for Charles Barkley to die.

          • Tina

            LMAOOOOO. Latte all of over the screen. F*ck you for this.

            • He’s a s h i t human being and this world is better off without him in it.

      • fxd8424

        I like the way she sounds on “I Care For You.”

      • Kat

        When I tell you I shake my head at the Aaliyah hype…I’m like I was there. She wasn’t.

      • L. Frank

        Her voice had some jazziness in it, and her ad-libs were smooth. She was cool!

    • Medium Meech

      Inevitably, hearing people talk about Tupac being overrated is like hearing conservatives debating racism… people that really don’t know the subject matter but have strong opinions none the less. Usually people that didn’t even listen to him like that because they’re still in their feelings about him coming through NY and crushing the buildings.

      • No, I listened precisely because Snoop Dogg came through and crushed the buildings, and he’s type above average. So no.

        • Medium Meech

          Ok, well may I ask in what aspects as an artist was he type above average? Flow? Delivery? Subject Matter? Creativity? Songcrafting? Voice as an artist? Presence and persona on tracks? Riding a beat? Range?

          • I’ll take the bait.

            He had an incredible delivery. His aura and presence were impeccable. However, his aura covered for a lot of flaws, like pedestrian metaphors more often than not (Hail Mary being a notable exception), dull subject matter and predictable song craft. Take away his aura, and he’s a more political version of Method Man.

            • BlueWave1

              But isn’t aura like 90% of it? There were pop lockers on the streets moonwalking long before Michael Jackson did it. There were better singers out there than Michael as well. But Michael has something extra that made him special. Like Michael, Tupac had “it”. That can’t taken away or discounted. If it was just about being the best technical rapper than most of the rappers people think are great wouldn’t measure up.

              • Aura isn’t supposed to be 90 percent though. I believe being a rapper is about technical ability, full stop. Otherwise, it’s poorly sung R&B. And you’re right about great emcees not measuring up technically. In a way, 2Pac was the Herald of swag rap. At least 2Pac had some ability. A lot of of these guys are either all swag no lyrics at best or Fetty Wap at worst.

                • BlueWave1

                  Okay. But a lot classic rappers weren’t very technical. You can’t tell me Run DMC were straight up lyricists. Yet, I consider them one the greatest rap acts of all time. What about all the “hotep” rap of the late 1980’s? A good deal of that was cheesy. Rakim was a technical marvel. A great MC for sure. He also had the personality of a cardboard box. Charisma matters.

                  • So you’re shading the God MC because he wasn’t charismatic enough. Wow… I didn’t know the greatest MC contest required stage presence. By those standards James Brown is the greatest MC of all time. FOHWTBS and I’m done arguing.

                  • Kat

                    But…but I love Rakim. For about 15mins and then I’m like next…

                • Medium Meech

                  I don’t think anyone has every been a great based strictly off of how tight their rhyme patterns were. You can’t sit here as a fan of 50 and tell me about Pac not being technical enough. In all seriousness, go back and listen to some Pac, check out his use of perspective and how he would go from first to third person between verses to emphasize a point. Check out his subject matters. Check out his perspective on women.

                  • One, I would say that 50 is the greatest. I’m just saying I’m a fan. I can tell the difference. Two, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane did the same ish 2Pac did, chapter and verse. Three, his perspective on women is straight hotep once you stop getting baffled by BS. Quit while you’re ahead.

                    • Medium Meech

                      What are you talking about? Pac wasn’t Hotep at all. I think you’re right, I will quit while I’m ahead.

                • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                  *Get the hip-hop popcorn*

                  Don’t mind me y’all…carry on.

            • Medium Meech

              Hmmm, the man that did Shorty want to be a thug, wonder why we call you b#%*, Dear Mama, I aint mad at ya, white manz world, changes, temptations, etc… in an era where people were just rhyming about drugs and guns had dull subject matters? He could make Toss it up and Brenda’s got a baby. He didn’t rap about moving keys or popping bottles at all. He got political and didn’t sound pretentious. Method man? Na son, I’m gonna have to walk away from this one on grounds of F*&#$ery.

    • Dana Naildiva Bowman

      Agreed. Good MC. Sure. The greatest? Not even close. He was enigmatic, but far from the best.

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