Not everyone can be Jay-Z and Kanye.
This week the highly anticipated collaboration between Kanye West and Jay-Z, two of the most successful and talented rappers around, was released on iTunes. In honor of that debut, we thought we'd examine the opposite end of the rap quality spectrum: the terrifying YouTube rap. Hip-hop is truly an art form. These people are stuck on finger painting.
1. “The Andover Song”
The problem with this is not, as you might think, the fact that these are prep school kids rapping about how much they love to learn while wearing blazers and pearls. I'm sure these kids listen to a ton of rap — it's only natural they'd give it a shot themselves. No, the real problem here is simply how terrible it is. I guess they get some slack because they're children, but that much AutoTune? It's not 2006 anymore, Phillips Andover. These kids clearly love their schooling, so here are two lessons they can take away from this video: no one watches anything on YouTube that is over four-minutes long, and stretching out your words like Treebeard does not mean you're rapping.
2. Pablo Dylan, “Top of the World” & Chet Haze, "White and Purple"
There are plenty of rap songs about overcoming adversity, whether that means escaping poverty, dealing with abuse, or losing loved ones. “Being the son of Tom Hanks” is not usually considered one of those obstacles, but Chet Haze isn't going to let that stop him. Arrogance is fine — Kanye West runs on the stuff — but the whiff of entitlement surrounding these projects is difficult to stomach. I do not want to hear about Bob Dylan's grandson's rough road to success, because it is not real. Haze's lazy re-interpretation of Wiz Kalifa's “Black and Yellow” and Dylan's non-sensical posturing show that both are hardly even trying — their output has all the trappings of actual rap but no real understanding.
3. “Young Con Anthem”
Talking with. A strange. Cadence. Does. Not mean you. Are rapping. (Maybe these guys studied rap at Phillips Andover.) And out of all the possible songs you could reference, you choose “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”? Do you really want to “superman” socialism, conservative dude bros? Are you actually going to take socialism doggy-style and then, at the moment of climax, ejaculate on socialism's back and stick a sheet there? Is that your plan? Because somehow I just don't think that will go over as well with the electorate as you believe.
4. A. Samuels, “Livin’ De Life”
Oh, fuck me. What the hell are you even talking about, A. Samuels? This man literally does not know what the words he is saying mean. He's throwing around “shorty” and “hype” and “low” like it's his job, and none of it makes a lick of sense. More than anything, it's this casual disregard for actual hip-hop culture that makes videos like this one terrible — the assumption that you can be a rapper to by using some “hood” slang and an 808 is frankly kind of offensive. There is a possibility that this thing is a hoax — Allen Samuels, casino owner, doesn't really show up in a Google search — and for this man's sake, I hope that it is. And great accent — did your friend enjoy his childhood in French Jamaica?
5. Kreayshawn, “Gucci Gucci”
Kreayshawn is not quite as amateur as the other people on this list, but she did upload her song "Gucci Gucci" to YouTube before signing with Columbia, so it's fair game. (And if she were already a "professional," that would only make it worse.) Kreayshawn, as you can tell, is no fan of Louis Vuitton or Fendi, but she certainly loves cultural appropriation! Kreayshawn: you cannot say the N word. Even if you have some black friends.