Throughout the last decades, we’ve seen the hip-hop and rap genre grow wider than ever. Starting off in New York during the 1970’s, DJs kept crowds going and, later, MC’s began rhyming over beats made by those DJs. Soon we were introduced to rap icons such as Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.
However, despite the successes of these rap artists, us fans wonder if some still belong in the modern day.
Take for instance these three artists: Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Eminem.
Lil Wayne, also known as “Weezy,” released a series of Tha Carter albums in his long career. His highest-grossing one, Tha Carter III, was released in June 2008. It featured tracks such as A Milli, Got Money and Lollipop. Undeniably Wayne’s best album, it sold more than seven million copies across the United States. But the musician has failed to bring that heat to his other works.
In September 2018, Tha Carter V made its way to the music charts with only 480,000 copies sold in the U.S. Wayne reiterates the same dope references on the album, which features some of the game’s hottest artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott. After a five-year drought, the album proved underwhelming.
From 2004 to 2010, Kanye West established himself as one of hip-hop’s most influential and creative artists ever. With his debut album The College Dropout releasing in February 2004, it introduced a unique fashion of sonic beats and sounds that not only paved the way for hip-hop and rap, but music in general. Later, he continued releasing his stretch of classic albums like 808’s & Heartbreak, Graduation and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
The self-righteous rapper sat on his pedestal for some time now but, after his Jesus Is King project, he may have just knocked himself off once and for all.
Since MBDTF, West has released four additional solo albums, but the top-level creativity and rhythm isn’t there anymore. His lyrics on the album are as thin as sacramental bread but the power of the flashing lights may have blinded him. Unfortunately for West, he is no god.
Finally, the one who many people refer to as “The G.O.A.T”—Marshall Mathers. The self-acclaimed Slim Shady skyrocketed in 1999 with The Slim Shady LP. Make no mistake, Eminem has thrown some of the best flows and created a legacy in hip-hop and rap that is unrivaled. After his first successful studio album, Eminem continued his lyrical genius in The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, Encore, Relapse and Recovery.
Unfortunately, it seems that The Real Slim Shady has sat down. Eminem, 47, has been in the rap game for most of his life and, since 2012, the MC’s flow and lyrics have become repetitive. Referencing modern pop culture, making quirky jokes and reciting past lines can only go so far. With The Marshall Mathers LP2, Revival, and Kamikaze, behind him we can only wonder if Mathers has anything left up his sleeve.
With these rap icons still in the game, we can’t dispute they’ve left a trail of prosperity and success behind them. However, with the waters around them only getting choppier, maybe it’s time for them to drop the mic.