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In January 2017 Lonzo Ball was positioned well within the NBA lottery on multiple Draft-centered websites. DraftExpress.com had Ball going fourth overall, and the website had Ball ranked fourth among its top 100 Draft-eligible prospects. NBADraft.net had Ball as its first overall pick, and Aran Smith ranked Ball fourth on his list of the top 100 Draft-eligible prospects. Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks Ball second on his list of the top 100 Draft-eligible prospects.

All of these website also had UCLA, Lonzo Ball’s team making the Final Four. The top 12 NBA prospects moved up the draft board, except for markelle fultz, due to their NCAA performance. Dennis Smith moved down the draft board, but he tore his ACL in August 2016.
Lonzo Ball had a weak NCAA performance scoring 10 points, being outplayed in every way by Kentunky’s De’Arron Fox, 39 points, but Lonzo still moved up the draft board. Lonzo was going to be drafted and he is a big time talent. Some people were concerned about his awkward shot and his horrible 65 free throw shooting percentage but on top of those concerns came the horrible NCAA tournament, yet he still moved up the draft board.
Why?
In The Gym Range had Lonzo Ball going 5th overall just before the March NCAA tournament and strangely enough that is when Lonzo’s father, the outspoken Lavar Ball began making regular appearances on well-known sports talk shows like ESPN’s First Take and Fox’s Undisputed.

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In March 2017, LaVar Ball remarked that Lonzo was a better player than current NBA MVP Stephen Curry. By mid-March he was asserting that Lonzo was better than Jason Kidd,  LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. The memes and videos of Lavar’s appearances spiraled out of control. By the start of the NCAA tournament some draft boards had Lonzo as the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Meanwhile Lavar said that his son Lonzo was going to be a Los Angeles Laker, the Lakers had the #2 pick.
UCLA fell to Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Division I Tournament, Lonzo Ball had two uninspiring performances in each game. Before the tournament T.J. Leaf UCLA’s Power Forward was projected in the top 10 of the NBA draft. After UCLA’s tournament performance some sites dropped Leaf to the 28th pick.
LaVar Ball said, “Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow.” After this causal sport fans began to question Lavar’s parenting skill and techniques. However, Lavar Ball was ratings gold and and must-see tv for morning sports shows. See the sports gods know that Lavar as two more very good basketball playing sons coming through pipeline. They were using him for ratings, but he was going to be around for awhile.

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LaVar was ready to handle any backlash thrown his way. Lavar knew that this promotion was tied to college basketball, so Lavar expanded his on-air boasting to include himself. “Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one. He’s too light in the ass.” This boast prompted Charles Barkley to challenged LaVar to play one-on-one. With each appearance LaVar’s statements grew bolder, he said that he believed his three sons would be worth $1 billion for a shoe deal.
LaVar compared Lonzo to Magic Johnson and said his boy would bring showtime back to LA. There were circulating rumors that the L.A. Lakers wanted Lonzo and that Lonzo was a game changer. Most shows, articles and social medianites mused that Lavar had put too much pressure on his son and hurt his sons draft stock. In the tournament Lonzo Ball was outplayed in both of his match ups with top five picks at his position. Naturally, you would assume that draft boards would charted Lonzo (who was 5th) as losing ground to other top guards.

Lavar Savage
The big picture was that the NBA, the fans and the media want a light-skin toned ball player to promote. Lavar Ball was smart enough to realize that he was now part of the machine and his next moves proves it. In April, Lavar shifted from basketball and said that his family’s Big Baller Brand apparel company, would compete with Nike. The following week, Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas declined to sign an endorsement deal with Lonzo, according to LaVar.

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On May 4, 2017, Big Baller Brand announced its first signature shoes, the ZO2, with a retail price of $495 to be shipped on November 24. Shaquille O’Neal criticized Ball for overpricing the shoes. Dick Vitale took aim at the price by citing Lonzo’s performance against Kentucky at the NCAA Tournament. Social Media and sports talks shows were highly critical. Ball answered critics by posting on Twitter, “If you can’t afford the ZO2’S, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!”
By now surely people had forgotten any remnants of NCAA tournament and Lonzo’s poor performances, but how could the man with the megaphone be sure…A week later he tweeted, “LaVar Ball: Lonzo Ball ‘Only Working Out’ For Lakers; Predicts Playoff Drought Ends With Son In L.A.”

Lakers

Lakers Ball

And on draft night the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the 2nd overall pick, and the fans rejoiced saying Lonzo Ball is the perfect fit. If Lonzo had fallen like he normally would have the Lakers could have traded down, gained additional picks and still drafted Ball. Lavar’s hype and the NBA’s need to have a lighter-skin tone person to train camera’s on prevented the Lakers from making additional moves.
After the playoff it was clear that the Celtics didn’t need a point guard and the other top point guards had outperformed Lonzo.

Lavar Is Trying To Get Off The Plantation

The Celtics traded the #1 pick. Magic Johnson said “Lonzo is the new face of the Lakers.” and then he signed him to a 4 year $33 million dollar contact. If Ball had fallen to #10 and the Lakers could have traded down, Lonzo’s contract would have been 4 year $14 million dollars…So Thank Dad.

Forbes NBA Salary List

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All of LaVar Ball statements and boasting elevated his son’s draft stock, an basically doubled his contract. The boasting also increased the spotlight on Lonzo Ball, increased the expectations and of course it has brought out the racist. I am sure that was a calculation by Lavar, get the psychos to hate him and not his son. Almost every negative commentary on LaVar Ball is about his parenting skills, his mouth almost of the comments are sprinkled with overtly or coded racist language.

The elder Ball has become one of the most visible figures in basketball due to his tireless promotion of his talented brood and his seemingly magnetic attraction to any microphone or camera pointed his way. The audacious absurdity of Lavar’s decades-long plan to get all three of his three boys to the NBA is exceeded only by the increasingly bold, eye-roll-inducing boasts that made him a one-man 24-hour news cycle.
Lavar raises the bar and his sons keep sailing over it, checking boxes, and stuffing their resumes with head-scratching feats, like LiAngelo 72 points and LaMelo 92 point games. Yes, all three brothers played on the Chino Hills high school national championship team, systematically destroying every scoring records they could find.

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LaVar toned it down during the NBA Finals, he even wore suits to his on-air segments while promoting his son’s $1,000 shoe (which are signed and come in a lighted case). He also claimed that he can’t play Jordan or Barkley one-on-one anymore due to he fact that he’s is ‘retired and now a CEO.’

People don’t even like Lavar due to his constant bombastic nature. He talks the way he talks to everyone, but when a women, especially a white woman is involved they call him sexist only because that’s the agenda Ace card to put him in his place. That’s how you turn all women against him, and that’s how you get his supporters to discredit him. You see the media used him as they elevated him, and they will use him as they lower him. At the end of the day Lavar is a Black man and Black men can’t behave as if they have no master, as if they set the rules, and they can’t talk anyway they want to white women…that’s a definite no-no.

Being sexist is easy for people to fathom, but believing that the NBA wants to promote lighter skin tone Black players isn’t. Although, fans do seem to accept that to sports shows must have two or three black athletes/ex-coachs/ex-presidents and one white person as the slave-mast, err moderator and that somehow little blonde hair, blue-eyed white women keep getting sports show gigs and side-line reporter jobs. not to mention how if you look really carefully that white sportscasters have their chair elevated, making the black ex-player commentator seem shorter…in hierarchy.

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Fans doesn’t want to believe that they just witnessed the NBA and sports media orchestrate colorism. We want to believe that these players marketability have nothing to do with it skin tone. To accept this we would have to also accept that we, the fan, the poster, the commentator, are apart of elevating lighter skin tone Blacks over darker ones, even if we didn’t notice.

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Instead of the NBA being concerned with the imbalance in conferences they are worried about racial politics. Here are some headlines from this years articles: “LeBron versus #TeamLightBright.”, “The Golden Skinned Warriors.” “the Splash Brothers look like they maybe have a splash of coffee in their cream.”, “Too Pretty to Play”
Sports Racial Politics

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“When i first met Curry, I thought he was white,” Kevin Durant said. He was the only one who said it out loud.
“I’ve never seen anything like that light-skinned dude,” Allen Iverson said.
“Steph is light-skinned, so they want to make him out to be soft.”- Draymond Green, Steph Curry’s teammate
“The Light-Skin Movement is very strong, “It’s Light Time,” Austin Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers

NBA players, including LeBron James have taken note of this ‘light privilege’ and have questioned the sports media and the NBA’s quick promotion of Stephen Curry, all the way down to his little daughter Riley. Klay Thompson can play and Curry had a great year, but soon LeBron James was taking a backseat to Curry.
Exploiting people’s internal biases is a marketing mainstay, before Curry it was the Los Angeles Clipper’s Blake Griffin, who because of his skin tone had a ‘broad cultural appeal’, he was advertiser’s golden boy.
Griffin NBA’s Golden Boy

After Stephen Curry won the NBA’s 2016 MVP Award Lebron James said “If you do it by a year-to-year basis, I think sometimes the word ‘valuable’ or best player of the year, you can have different results.” Curry ignored LeBron’s chaffing and most people chalked it up to jealousy, but LeBron, like Kanye at the MTV Awards, saw what was happening and wasn’t going to let it go down without saying something.
LeBron Doesn’t Like Steph…

Over the last three seasons the Golden State Warrior have won more games than any other team. The Golden State Warriors are fronted by Curry and Thompson, dubbed the Splash Brothers and both are light skin toned men who can shoot. They have won two out of the last three NBA titles, but in the off-season everyone talks about the Lakers, but now the Lakers has its own light-skin tone to promote.

Shot mechanics…suspect, ball handling…suspect, passing…pretty good but don’t worry because of course Lonzo Ball will have a little help to make sure he does well. NBA Summer League games are packed and Facebook is producing a Ball Family reality show, maybe this Ball hype and the NBA seems to be more alive than ever, so maybe hype is all the fans really want or need. Los Angeles is a major market, this historic team returning to greatest will be a big benefit to the NBA, fans and the Los Angeles Lakers will lead a lot of story lines, and don’t forget that Lavar Ball will be along for the ride.

 

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There are no accidents

The NBA likes to populate the good white players to play in Indiana, Utah and Boston. Right now the NBA is planning to separate Klay Thompson to another team, so this promotion will spread, rumors are already circulating.

In the 80’s Hip Hop needed to co-op rock music with songs like, Run DMC’s “Walk this Way” . In the 90’s Hip-Hop co-oped R & B with albums brilliant albums like, “What’s the 411”. Today it is those genres that need Hip Hop and all of its elements just to survive. Whether it’s rock or pop acts who are rapping but saying that they aren’t, or singers who put the latest hip hop star on a track the impact of Hip Hop has been felt in every genre of music and here are the people most responsible for that, they exist beyond regular rap. This list is not solely based on album sales, or lyrics, one of the mot important criteria for this list is impact. So before you hip hop heads go crazy with the WTF’s, just ask yourself ‘Where would Hip Hop be today if none of these rappers existed?’ If you don’t see your favorite rapper on this list it is most likely because they are one dimensional, have lyrics written by other people or perhaps you are the one that is short-sighted.

 

14. Redman There are very few rappers as skilled as Redman. In term of using braggadocios wit and hard hitting beats, he is the most consistent rapper on this list and most underrated. If you have ever used the pop-culture gesture, “Raise the Roof”, then you owe him.  Redman is an elder statesman with distinctive voice and flow who exploded on to the hip-hop scene in 1992 with Whut? Thee Album. (I Be Dat, Let’s Get Dirty, On Da 99, My Zone, Whatever Man, How High, Whateva man, i’ll be dat, Pick it Up, Da Rockwilder)

 

 

13. Nelly: Is it getting hot in herre? In 2000 he blessed us with the 9x Platinum “Country Grammar” he introduced the nation to Mid West rap, or should I say the Dirty South. Skillfully rapping with unforgettable hooks and an unmistakable mid-west twang. Nelly put the Mid West on the rap map, period. Nelly’s Country Grammar opened the door that Ludacris, T.I. and Lil Wayne have walked through and that’s saying a whole lot. In 2004 the video for “Tip Drill” was released, this was a video full of strippers and naked video vixens, Nelly slid a credit card between a naked ass, after which the the lady started to pop her ass for Nelly. This video sparked controversy from black women’s groups and media, who said “Nelly and other rapper were saying that women were only good for one thing…sex.” This controversy not only led to the banning of the video “Tip Drill”, and other staple raunchy rap videos, but by the end of 2005 hip hop videos were forever changed to reflect a more creative, less overtly sexual tone. This controversy almost ruined Nelly. Nelly is also the only other rapper beside Snoop Dog to have a number #1 hit on the Country Charts. Album- Country Grammar, Nellyville (Dilemma, My Place, Country Grammar, Tip Drill, Hot in Herre 2, and Over & Over)

12. DMX His first major-label album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”, was released in May 1998 and debuted on the #1 on the Billboard 200. It was this album that began the comparisons to Tupac.  In December of 1998 he released “Flesh of My Flesh and Blood of My Blood”, which also debuts #1. DMX was the second rapper to have two albums released the same year debut at #1, the only other rapper was Tupac Shakur. With dark beats and harsh DMX pushed boundaries of imagery and sanity with lyrics on love, rage, God complete with prayers. Albums- It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

11. Nas: With his densely packed flow, he is the best technical rapper of his generation. Nas created a style of rapping that was more conversational, with compound rhymes and words that run into a bar. During a feud with Jay-Z, Nas solidified his stance as rap’s best by releasing a crushing battle track called “Ether.” Though his raps took a more popularized slant in the ‘90s, he has consistently delivered cutting-edge material.  His first album, “Illmatic”, is widely considered the greatest hip-hop debut of all time.  Album: (Illmatic), Songs: (It ain’t hard to tell, If I ruled the world, Ether, One love, Black Girl Lost, Book of Rhymes)

10. Biggie Smalls: A lyrical genius. His song are real life and words add up to something. His skills were untouchable, his flow almost supernatural, and for a fat man his swagger was unmatched. Biggies is credited with changing the game of rap, Biggie was to the East Coast what Tupac was to the West Coast. Biggie released two classic Hip Hop albums “Ready to Die” and “Life After Death” which made him a Hip Hop icon. He changed the way MC’s flow when he blessed “Notorious Thugs” with a verse, using the Bone Thugs style better than they did themselves. He is also one of the great storytellers in Hip Hop, unfortunate he career was cut short with his life. (Hypnotize, Juicy, What’s Beef, Warning, Kick In the Door, Who Shot Ya, Unbelievable)

9. Ice Cube: is an original Member of NWA. He along with Dr. Dre was at the forefront of 90’s gangsta rap era. A gifted storyteller, only his stories usually revolve around illegal acts and retribution. His lyrics were tough and hardcore as he scared Hollywood with his anti-white, misogynist, antisemitic lyrics and Hollywood still gave him movie roles, now that’s gangsta.  He continued to push the gangsta vibe when he created the group, Westside Connection. Westside Connection had two year olds to eighty-two year olds throwing up four fingers with two twisted in the middle. He, Snoop Dog and Too Short are the only mainstream rappers who have used curse words if they were periods and still had hit songs. He manages to stay relevant, but even more than that he has been producing television shows and is a serious actor, who every now and then still finds time to drop a gangsta album. Today his music is considered to conscious to receive radio-play. Whether he is dropping a Hip Hop movie classic like “Friday”, or producing television shows, we’ve beening trying to guess the color of his shoe laces for years. At the eight spot he may still be underrated on  the consciousness of his lyric alone.  Album- Greatest Hits (Go to church, Once Upon a Time in the Projects, You know how we do it, We be clubbin’, It Was A Good Day, Check Yo Self, You Know How We Do It, Bow Down, Why We Thugs,Natural Born Killers)

8. Ludacris: Others claim to be the King of the South, but Luda actually is the King. He popularize the Dirty South, so much that his reach touches each coast. “Word of Mouth” was a classic album regardless of the coastal region. Interesting hooks, unique style, distinctive voice, sexual overtones. A Ludacris themed album is just pure entertainment. Versatile is a word that can’t even describe Ludacris, so lets put uniquely in front of that. Luda opened up the mid western hip hop to the masses. As the market has saturated with sub par commercial rap fair Luda has taken his appeal into movie roles. Albums- Word of Mouf (Move Bitch, Area Codes, Southern Hospitality, What’s your fantasy, Stand up, Act a fool, One More Drink, Money Maker, Last of a dying breed)

7. Kanye West: He is what Tupac would be if he were raised upper middle class. Complete with social issues, political, dis and controversial all in one rap song. His flow is more akin to Spoken Word, while he may not quite be Taalam Acey he does puts it down quite nicely. He gained fame by producing Jay Z’s albums and spitting bars through a wire (while his mouth was wired shut), and then he took Jesus to the top of the hip hop and pop charts. His style is uncommon eclectic to perfection. I have always maintained that Kanye is what Tupac would be if he were middle class in the millennium, but Kanye almost to a fault love to experiment on track production. His album 2007 “Graduation” retired rapper 50 Cent. Kanye was influenced by RZA’s uses of distinctive and intricate string arrangements over his own drum tracks. He uses unique instrumentation to push the limits of creativity with each albums, sometimes he pushes a bit too far…with albums such as Yeezus which is vicious, petulant, abrasive and colossally vain.  Albums- Graduation, 808s & Heartbreak, Late Registration, The College Dropout. His collab album “Watch The Throne” with Jay Z goes even to further show his versatility and passion.

6. Jay Z  He had a hard knock life, but he is arguably the most versatile rapper ever he can flow to any beat, his wordplay is of the highest order and his presence on the mic is unmatched.  Even though he lost a rap battle to rival Nas, the war was won in the end by Jay Z. Hova is proof that if you speak clearly and have skills you can stay local and still be a national hit. His debut album “Reasonable Doubt” heralded his arrival, but he didn’t stop there, he then dropped “The Blueprint” and “The Black Album” both classic albums in their own right. There is one thing the business side of  Jay Z knows is that the audience is not only watching, it is changing, so he filled the, also classic, album “Hard Knock Life” with tons of mainstream appeal and he also shows his daring side in the experimental collaborative album “Watch The Throne” with Kanye West. Even when Jay-Z rest on his laurel with the 2013’s unpredictable “Magna Carta Holy Grail” shows that no matter the age Jay Z is an artistic rebel as well as a family stalwart  (99 Problems, Dope Man, This can’t be life, Brooklyn’s Finest, Hard Knock Life, Regrets)

                                                                                                        

5. Tupac Shakur: He rapped about poverty in America, but more importantly he rapped about how we should stop it. Tupac was rap’s greatest storyteller of all-time. His ability to convey the gangster lifestyle was unmatched. His popularity and notoriety exceeds that of any hip-hop artist. The East Coast, West Coast beef and the eventual shooting deaths of Tupac and Biggie remain rap’s biggest stories. He was the first rapper to enjoy success internationally. He earned movie roles in Above the Rim, Juice and Poetic Justice. Honestly Tupac would have had many more great songs and been higher on this list, if he wasn’t always allowing wack rappers to follow him on tracks and if he hadn’t been murdered. His verses have saved many a song, and are the only reason we listened to them. When it came to telling it like it is, or how we felt no one did it better and Tupac. Power, Spiteful, Passion, Outrageous and Inflammatory, Tupac pondered the afterlife and why, with all of our resources, social ills still persist. He didn’t need the dopest beatmaker, or a corporate machine to produce him to perfection, he just needed a mic and it was ‘Tupac against the World’. Tupac’s voice was and still is the voice of the streets. Albums- Greatest Hits (When Thugz Cry, Only God can judge me, Hail Mary, Brenda’s Got a Baby, Keep Ya Head Up, Life Goes On, Me Against the World, Ambitionz as a Ridah, Letter To My Unborn, I Wonder If Heaven’s Got a Ghetto, Hit ‘Em Up’, Changes, 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, Blasphemy)

4. Snoop Dog: Snoop has stretched out more vowels and dismantled more of the English language than any rapper hands down. His unique laid back cadence and delivery sets him apart from any other rapper. Snoop along with Warren G and Nate Dogg put Long Beach forever on the map. Snoop has dropped lyrics on Pop, Rock, Country and Reggae tracks and that says a lot for a Gangsta rapper from Long Beach California. After gracing Dr Dre’s “The Chronic” with his confident, laid-back flow, Snoop dropped the most important west coast release in the history of Hip Hop 1993’s “DoggyStyle”.  He helped make Death Row records (a label Tupac was also signed to) a force in the music game.  He has graced many rap albums with incredible 16’s. Snoop is constantly reinventing himself. In 2013 he dropped the reggae album Reincarnated. Reincarnated is a very good album and it is Snoop’s most positive and least commercially successful album to date, indicating that there may be a connection with negativity and hip hopSo much of an icon. in movie roles he typically stars as himself, because he’s the most interesting rapper in the world. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog and Tupac earned the West Coast a level of respect it has since lost. Albums- Doggystyle (Gin and Juice, Drop it like it’s hot, Murder was the case, 2 of Amerikaz most wanted, Ain’t No Fun, Sensual Seduction, Lighters Up, What’s my name)

3. Eminem  His first two albums were instant classics.  His song are about true life experiences but more than that he is a lyrical mastermind. His flow is as faster and his verbiage is more on point than anyone in the game. His ability to cut people down with words is second to none. His albums are not happy, they are not party albums, they are drug addicted, domestic violence laden serious and personal albums that always seems to spark controversy. In an entertainment business that turns largely on race, Em has in many ways transcended that argument, although race has a lot to do with his broader appeal, which is evident by the fact that he has sold more albums than any other rapper. Albums- The Slim ShadyLP, Marshal Mathers LP,  (Remember me, Rock Bottom, Till I collapse, Role Model, The way I am, Stan)

 

2. KRS-1: A philosopher and poet among rappers. He put out five albums under the name Boogie Down Productions (BDP). He pre-dates raps movement towards guns and drugs and instead delivered lyrics with a message, that message was that “You Must Learn”. If the black community had an issue he rapped about it. He spoke to the spirit and the mind of the hip-hop and those that love it. Not afraid to provoke thoughts, or express his opinion he set the standard for New York Hip Hop in the late 80’s. He was crucial in organizing dozens of rappers into the “Stop the Violence Movement”, to help curb the violence in hip hop and black communities. Krs-1 is the chief promoter of Hip Hip culture, he is noted for battling any challenger that tried to stepped to his throne and he is the most respected rapper on this list.. (You Must Learn, Hip Hop Lives, South Bronx, The Bridge is over, Criminal Minded, My Philosophy, Stop the violence,

1.  Tie (Dr. Dre & P. Diddy)

Dr. Dre: What rapper/producer’s name has been uttered more times on albums than his? No ones. And that should tell you all you need to know about his impact on the world of musuc. He entered the big time with the rap group NWA. He introduced the world to Gangsta Rap, D.O.C., Snoop Dog, Eminem, 50 Cent and Music ring-tones. He used multi-layered, melodic synthesizers, slow hypnotic grooves, deep bass, a sine wave keyboard and a liberal sampling of P-funk tunes as he developed G-Funk to power the laid back West Coast vibe of  sex, drugs, violence, gangsterism and promiscuous sex. When you forgot about him, he reminded you. His beats alone have powered more top 10 hits than any other rap producer and his pupils are on this list beneath him. Albums- The Chonic, 2001 (Xxplosive, What’s the difference, Forgot about Dre, Light speed, Let me Ride, Kush)

P. Diddy  The rapper/producer who was the driving force behind Biggie, Mary J. Blige, Usher and a half dozen other rappers and groups. He brought hip hop reality television to the masses. He and protege Mase ended gangsta raps reign with shiny suits. What rapper didn’t want to make is band? He introduced the R & B world to Keysha Cole, while he put a brand new Flava in yo ear. Even with average lyrics Sean, Diddy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy or whatever he is calling himself now-a-days has constantly beats his haters expectations. Name changes, identity crisis, business side, controversy, creativity and unusual collaborations…that is Combs, from Hip Hop from childhood to adulthood all the while his lyrics displayed relationship and religious conflicts. The uniformed masses will no doubt hate it, but Combs is the Portrait of the artist as a young rapper. Albums- No Way Out (Can’t nobody hold me down, I’ll be missing you, Been around the world, Last Night, I need a girl, Hello good morning)

Dr. Dre and P. Diddy have rapped, produced and shepherded Hip Hop from puberty, through gangsta rap and the lean corporate years. Today corporate production only focuses on catchy phrases, hooks and making sure that the music stays more powerful than lyrics. For those who wondered how middle age hip hoppers will fair, just look at these two is the answered because they’ve done it. The one true omission from the top spot is Will Smith, who is without argument the most popular rapper that ever existed, but let’s leave him at the #1 actor spot.

Very worthy of mention: Drake, Slick Rick, Rakim,Kool G Rap, Busta Rhymes, Timberland, T.I.,GZA, L.L. Cool J, E-40, Too Short, Big Daddy Kane, Kirk Franklin, Ice T, Scarface, Raekwon, Heavy D, *Justin Timberlake, 50 cent, Common, Lil Wayne, Nate Dogg, Chuck D, Mos Def, Method Man, Twista,  Lil John, Kool Moe Dee, Ben Haggerty, Ja-Rule, Kurupt, Mystical and Big Pun. Unlike many of todays rappers the rappers on this list can tell you more about themselves, through their music, than I ever could.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/MG-Hardie/277636622262511 (Join the movement)

Kanye West recently released his new video “Power” from his album ‘Dark Twisted Fantasy”. Some have called it a Video, others have called it Art, at 90 seconds long many are saying that they are waiting on the rest of it. In this video you see a huge gold chain, naked women, violence acts and various vices, but does it push boundaries, does it raise the bar, is the video sexist; as some have suggested. As always the public will search for meaning in the Marco Brambilla produced “Power”.  In this new video, or portrait if you will, Kanye is portrayed as “Damocles”, as the legendary sword hangs above is head.  The video is scattered with ancient and modern day visual representations of the many perils that come with Power. Filled with sharp light and dark visual contrast all the way down the the white and black individuals wielding swords to strike each other down. To fully understand this video, we need to take a look at Kanye West the artist. I didn’t call him a rapper, I said the Artist, but more on that later.

I was just wondering if the MTV staff and security didn’t see Kanye wandering around below the stage before hand

While we are on Mr. West, does anyone still care if Kanye took a mic from Taylor Swift? Especially since she is really not a country artist add to that the fact that MTV was trying to steal the country youth audience by giving her a “throw away” award, (MTV also threw away and award in 2011 to Tyler the Creator, likely due to Kanye not wanting his ex-girlfriend’s (Amber Rose) husband (Wiz Khalifa) to be on stage) Kanye the artist called MTV on the throw away award. President Barack Obama, rightly called Kanye a “jackass” for his actions that night. But then again the President went to an elementary school and told the youth there that they can’t all be the next Lil Wayne…Lil Wayne.  At a Hurricane Katrina telethon, Kanye West said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”, while it is hard to argue with him on that, but he said it so matter-of-factly, so openly and in front of so many people that his comments from that night still haunt President George W. Bush. Kanye’s words haunted ex-President George W. Bush so much that in his memior “Decision Points” that moment is listed as the lowest of his presidency? Not the Hurricane Katrina response, not 9/11, not the Mission Accomplished statement, not the Vice President’s heart attack, not illegal wire taps, or a mis-guided wars, but Kanye West saying that you don’t care about Black People was your lowest point. When asked about Kanye West’s comments that night the ex-president said “I didn’t appreciate it then, I don’t appreciate it now.”  This is a testament to the power and affect that entertainers could have and use but so very often don’t. In a 4-year period Kanye effectively tied himself to two Presidents and a rising young country star, without rhyming a single lyric.

Factions from all sides have taken swipes at Kanye West ever since he released his debut album “The College Dropout” in 2004.  The Hip Hop community poked fun at Kanye’s “808 & Heartbreak” album. An album which was dedicated to emotions and the heat break of love, but isn’t that what music, dare I say Hip Hop needs? A black man rapping about power shows how hip hop is evolving. Kanye’s power breaks down the paradox of those in the industry that say he can only talk about the hood, what it’s like to be in jail and, what it’s like to get free government cheese.  Kanye isn’t supposed to be rapping about power and he definitely isn’t supposed to be sophisticated enough to use images of Renaissance artwork  to get his point across.

Was posing on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing a crown of thorns a bad idea?

Only if you don’t remember it.

Kanye has even went so far as to suggest that his race is a major factor in why he gets a lot of media flak and is overlooked for some awards, in the words of Kanye “Give a black man a chance…Maybe my skin’s not right”. Does Kanye say things that you don’t agree with? Does he speak ingrandiose term of himself? Does he really need to say “Black”, or “I’ve got the” in order for us to see and hear it?

Hip Hop today is not focused on the Art, but the production. So much so that even the average listener is conditioned to only be concerned with catchy phrases and the formulaic dance-ability of a song. Corporations are riding the music gravy train and squeezing every drop of money out of each stop. Does anyone care that Pop singers can’t sing, or that R & B has become a soulless mosh pit of rap and pop or that Hip Hop is often little more than bad lyrics and violent rhymes? There is no doubt that corporations are pushing explicit wording, overt sexuality and trying to front the genre with White Acceptable rappers. The fact is that Hip Hop has permeated our American lives. Politicians try to relate to our youth by rhyming lines, brushing imaginary dirt off their shoulders or by throwing out a rappers name. Does controversy sell? Does sex sell? They sure do, and when the media trots out people to point fingers at they sell even more.

What do you think?

Kanye’s  lack of humility is the main reason people will always find a reason to not like him, but people also do not like his politics, race or  his grammar, yet he does seem to enjoy his share of critics. When “Dark Twisted Fantasy” was released, many that live on the music industry’s outskirts mistakenly called it a comeback. Even the most respected critics quickly deride the intellectual, or message filled rap, while at time they same time speak in glowing terms of rappers with Dr. Seuss lyrics, or an imaginary violent acumen reminiscent of Al Capone. At the same time radio and television browbeat the populace with this subpar music until they like it. Unknown to many is that the best music every created will never be heard, except for a few select people.

By incorporating spoken word poetry and narration, rappers have made their products more accessible to “the mainstream”. Some rappers have adapted by embedding knowledge into their bars, a few have extended that to their videos. Here is where Kanye West comes into play, he has now branched off into Fine Art. How many times have you or your child went to a museum to appreciate the art? Art is not just sculpture, dance, music and paintings, it also includes wood and metal shop, and he cut that from schools too. Aside from questioning the subversive qualities of power, celebrity, sexuality decadence; what Kanye does is bring the Art to you on your television, powered by images and bass lines.

Jay Z did it in his  video “On to the Next One“, but he did that more so to make fun of the pettiness of people.

Lady GaGa tried it, albeit it in a less artistic fashion with “Telephone“, but that was only to spark controversy and solidify her brand.

These entertainers are creating their own kind of power

Showing that he is a true hip hop student, Kanye’s song nods to Snap’s 1990 hit “The Power”. The hook may not be quite as catchy as “I’ve got the power”, but Kanye’s “Power” shows the power, hope and promise of Hip Hop, especially when you study your craft. The song “Power”, aside from powerful social commentary, is addressed to his many haters. Everyone should seriously take the time and really listen to his lyrics in “Power”, especially the remix. In the remix Kanye West raps in Arabic, I wonder if 20% of Americans will believe that he is a Muslim, like they do President Barack Obama.  You can love Kanye’s vocal samples and instruments or not, he has been a lightening rod for the media and consumers alike and now he is trying to spark an interest in Art, how dare he. So while you are watching Kanye West, recognize that he is so out of touch that he is and has been trying to touch each one of us. There are many followers, and those that play them for that. There are people who will say or do something just because someone else did it, and there is a growing market for that too. Maybe this type of thinking can be traced back to early childhood Art Education, I’m just sayin’.

There will still be those that think that Kanye is ignorant. However, I beg to differ, Kanye seems to know the power of Art. He is aware of the boost in creativity, the focused concentration, the increased eye-hand coordination, the sense of completion you get from it. He also knows that Art promotes thinking outside of the box because that is exactly where he is.