The odds on America’s next top rapper

11 01 2010

Ah, prognostication. It’s as American as subtle racism and reality TV. Everybody does it, and since everybody does it, it must be important, right? Exactly. And American’s are free to predict anything about anything. That’s the beauty of prognostication, it’s ubiquity, it’s omnipresence. It’s here, it’s there, but right now, it’s going to be in hip-hop.

And we’re going to use it to answer this question: Who’s the next rapper that’ll take over that coveted “Number one spot” that Ludacris rapped about only a few years ago?

You’ve had your Jay-Z’s, your Kanye’s, your Lil Wayne’s, even your T.I.’s, Ludacris’ and 50 Cent’s. But  this is 2010, it’s time for a changing of the guard. Who are hip-hop’s next heavyweights, and who will end end being the best of these new fighters?

1,000/1 — ASHER ROTH

Strengths: Is loved by white college kids who weren’t exposed to real hip-hop during their childhood. I believe Proximo said it best when he told Maximus in Gladiator, “Win the white college kids, and you’ll win your freedom.”

Weaknesses: The fact that I knew 30 white guys that could rap better than him at my high school, of which 28 had more urban credibility than a dude from Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Plus, the only white rapper that has been able to say he was on top of the game was Eminem. Asher Roth is not Eminem. Asher Rother will never be Eminem. Asher Roth won’t even be a quater of Eminem.


Strengths: Understands how to use the internet and parlay it into a career. The same people that like Asher Roth seem to like Charles Hamilton.

Weaknesses: Exhibits a nearly endless amount of bitchassness. Whether it’s beef with various rappers including Wale, Soulja Boy and Rhymefest (who roasted him to death with the “SuperSonic (Chucky Cheese)” diss track. Favorite line: “He’s so soft / I’ll break him off / Go play Rock Band with Asher Roth”), getting punched in the face by a woman or emoting too much on the interweb. Also, Charles Hamilton called out yours truly on facebook. Charles Hamilton has a disease, and it’s called bitchassness.

15/1 — WALE

Strengths: Based off of pure lyrical skill, Wale is either the most talented rapper on this list, or tied for first. He also has the backing of Rhyme&Reason favorite Mark Ronson, which is a very good thing when it comes to his production. Of all of these rappers thus far Attention Defecit, set the bar as the top album of this new class.

Weaknesses: There’s a better chance that Wale’s career will go the way of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Common — considered too political, cerebral and lyrically-oriented to lay claim to the number one spot — than someone like Jay-Z. T.I. or Ludacris. Because of that, Wale should get comfortable with this Kwelie quote, “”If lyrics sold then truth be told / I’d probably be just as rich and famous as Jay-Z”.

10/1 — KID CUDI

Strengths: He’s backed by Kanye and the good people at G.O.O.D. music, and he’s had arguably had the most successful track of anyone on this list with “Day ‘N’ Nite”. He’s also one of the better rapper/singer combo artists on the list, which broadens his appeal beyond the realm of hip-hop.

Weaknesses: Be honest, he’s a weak rapper. As good as Man on the Moon was, his rhymes were questionable at times and embarrassing at others. Plus, he spent half the album telling us that his problems are way worse than ours, and that we can’t understand his internal struggle. Rrrrright. You can be the Woody Allen/Rodney Dangerfield of rap if you’d like, but it’s a slippery slope, my friend.


Strengths: Lupe’s the most critically acclaimed rapper on the list, and has had the most success in sum. The only rapper who can match his lyrical libido is Wale, but Wale doesn’t have guest appearances by Jay-Z or Kanye West. Lupe Fiasco wouldn’t even be nominated for this award (since he’s already released two full-length albums) if it weren’t for his weaknesses.

Lupe emits the vibe that he doesn’t really care about reaching hip-hop’s summit. It’s almost like Lupe thinks he has better things to do, like climb mount Kilimanjaro or disrespect A Tribe Called Quest, and that releasing albums comes second to those things. Any momentum he had from Food and Liquor and The Cool has evaporated with the endless amount of delay that’s saddling Lasers, but he still has the potential to become the next biggest thing if he stays focused.

3/1 — DRAKE

Strengths: He’s the best combo rapper/singer. He’s tapped in Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak sound and successfully infused it with masculine hip-hop. He’s got a guy in his corner, Lil Wayne, who currently holds the title all these schmoes want. And probably most important, he’s the one guy on this list that music producers can package and sell like nobody else. Drake can be a brand like Lupe, Wale and CuDi can’t (or make wouldn’t).

Weaknesses: His biggest strength might be his biggest weakness. Drake could end up being packaged and produced like a vapid pop star, which would damage his chances of running hip-hop significantly. It takes a special type of talent to run pop and hip-hop at the same time. Lil Wayne might be the only one who can say they’ve truly accomplished it in this day and age.

Also, he’s Canadian. Huge weakness there. This is America. Rarely, rarely, do we allow a bunch of ice fishing, hockey-loving Canucks run our shit. We made that mistake with Celine Dion, and we’ve learned. Never again … Never. Again.

5/2 — B.o.B.

Strengths: Put simply, B.o.B. has put out the most dynamic (and the best) music of everybody on this list to date. He can rap, he can sing, he can play the guitar, and he can also get on a track with T.I. and hold his own. Like the other heavy hitters on this list, he’s backed by a industry giant (that would be T.I.) and people are already starting to compare his sound (present company included) to that of Andre 3000.

Weaknesses: This could be his biggest strength though. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. The worst you could say about B.o.B. is that he might not be hard enough to reign in all of the thug, gangster rap holdovers from the late ’90s, but they are dwindling in number ever since Kanye changed the paradigm of hip-hop. He’s even geographically desirable, free to own the Atlanta/southern scene while everybody else is stepping on each other’s toes in the Northeast.

Lay a few dollars on Asher Roth if you want to hit the one-in-a-million jackpot, sucker. I’m putting all my chips on B.o.B., ready to rake in the green.




One response

2 04 2010
the sKetcher

I think Lupe has been stepping his game up to make an even Bigger impact in hip-hop than he already did with his first two albums (“Food & Liquor” and “The Cool”). He’s gaining an even bigger fanbase due to his “Enemy of the State” mixtape and “Lasers” has been highly anticipated. In my opinion I think all his albums proves that he works hard, and if he doesn’t care about reaching “hip-hop’s summit” I can only imagine the kind of music he’ll make if he did care. Even though I doubt him being “unfocused”, I agree that he can be the next biggest thing…And he didn’t disrespect A Tribe Called Quest. He just said he never listened to their music.

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