5 worst rap songs of 2011

Is it safe to say the hip-hop's current era of triumphantism is officially over? Does anyone really troll R&B/rap stations expecting to be challenged in any way? The answer to the first question is a resounding yes; the answer to the second is a booming no. There's no way around the fact that mainstream rap was all but moribund in 2011, bloated on its own hype and losing out to a vibrant, uncompromising underground/semi-underground scene; that a complacency is developing in some segments of said scene is endemic of a malaise that afflicts the genre as yesterday's titans or sub-titans diversify their revenue sources and attempt to co-opt the underground in order to establish their own fiefdoms. It isn't so much that most of rap is about how awesome it is to be rich, but that more and more often, rap is about how hard it is to be an independent rapper with no album out or on the horizon but somehow maintaining a strong regional following. Honestly? It's all a bit boring, in a depressing way, but nowhere near as boring as these five songs are.

A$AP Rocky, "Peso"

The history of rap is lousy with crap MCs. Vanilla Ice; The Madd Rapper; Lil Jon; most of Jay-Z's State Property-era weed-carrier fools; Jim Jones. And when I say "crap MCs," I'm referring to rappers whose flows are actively aggravating and noisome. You cannot bear them, you cannot tolerate their personal styles. A$AP Rocky is somehow worse than the worst of the crap MCs because it's like he opens his mouth and spits rhymes, but then later when you try to remember anything memorable or distinctive or even annoying about his performance - a sharp or weak lyric, some distinction of cadence or meter, anything, whatever - absolutely nothing springs to mind. It's as though the song didn't even happen; the guy is a rap black hole. No heat or light escapes him. Seriously. I'm trying to hum the beat to "Peso" right now, and I just can't, because A$AP Rocky has somehow subsumed the production to his hit single. Why are so many people who should know better buying into this?

Pusha T, "Alone In Vegas"

Remember how there was supposed to be a Pusha T debut in stores this year that wasn't a glorified mixtape? That never happened because Pusha's mixtape joints rarely rose above the quality of this song, which furthers the idea that being in Las Vegas is equivalent to being on top of the world or something. There's just absolutely no immediacy to anything this guy puts his name on anymore; he's made it, so he's spinning his wheels and waiting for the acclaim and paydays he feels he's always been entitled to. Lame!

Rick Ross, "I Love My Bitches"

Somewhere, in a sub-basement full of rabid pitbulls, DMX is wondering why he didn't use this title first. As you probably know, Ross's burgeoning Maybach Music empire is slowly but surely gaining traction, which is really good for rap in at least one sense: a little Ross goes a very, very long way. He's not an especially creative or versatile rapper, and is best taken in small doses, usually as a guest on other artists' singles. On "Bitches," Ross's opulence rings hollow, he loses his audience before he's halfway through, and all but wastes Just Blaze's louche beat by giving up a minute or so before the song's even over, in so doing acknowledging the beat's utter and complete superiority. (Don't get me started on the lyric about eating lobster bisque for breakfast, which is almost as insipid as some of the couplets from last year's "Blowin' Money Fast.") For some reason, people by and listen to entire albums by this guy.

Kreayshawn, "Gucci Gucci"

Gives hope to anybody who thinks they can be a rapper because they want to be one. Therefore: gives comfort and succor to the enemy. Fail!

Lil Wayne, "How To Love"

You know how Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s NASCAR seasons have kind of gotten worse and worse over the past couple years, to the point where everybody excepts that he's still racing cars and rocking endorsement deals but most people don't expect him to amount to much? That's the place were Weezy is right now, crossed with Herman Cain ridiculousness, except that Herman Cain is way, way more interesting right now than Weezy has been in years. "How To Love" is a placeholder, really; this could be any song off Tha Carter IV, which my local library had but I didn't even bother to copy into my iTunes. Yuuuch.

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