Graphic by Talia
The recent rally behind Lauryn Hill after her East Coast Rock The Bells stop will soon die down once fans remember the harsh truth — we lost Lauryn long years ago. Miseducation… Lauryn dropped out and even though she may make reappearances on stage & record, she will never be our Lauryn. She was the songbird & rapstress who took us to a place where a femcee could dominate, combining substance with skills unrivaled to capture the attention of all.
But she’s not the only luminary who’ll never return to the limelight’s full focus. She, Dr. Dre and Rakim could easily form the holy trinity of wasted talent. The producer, rapper & singer who all have classics under their belts, but will never return to prominence. They are not alone though and here are a few artists who will never reclaim the spotlight, no matter how they may try.
1. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony — You can’t blame these guys for continually trying. But a lack of quality control, good defense lawyers and adequate psychiatric care have doomed Cleveland’s finest to Hip-Hop obscurity. They get some bonus points for having a rabid fanbase, but then again so do ICP and Glenn Beck.
2. Ja Rule — Sometime in 2002, there was a staff meeting at the Murder Inc. offices. In the ensuing minutes, the motion to ignore 50 Cent was passed. The result? The label would go on to die a slow painful death with Jeffery Atkins serving as the poster child for defamation of character in Hip-Hop. Selling a LeBron jersey in Cleveland is more feasible than this guy ever returning to prominence.
3. Lil Flip — It was only a matter of time before people actually caught on to the fact Flip was referring to himself as a gangsta leprechaun. In hindsight, he’s probably the inspiration for Chuck Hamilton’s Sonic The Hedgehog infatuation. Add in a lyrical barrage and being called out –plus allegedly beaten – in his own hood (both by T.I.). What hurt even worse? Scarface even disowned the guy.
4. GZA — The former genius of the illustrious Wu-Tang Clan has seen his rap IQ dwindle in the ensuing years following his classic album, Liquid Swords. Forced to pay his bills by performing the aforementioned album in full at the annual Rock The Bells festival, the once prolific writer has seen disses to soft target 50 Cent fall on deaf ears and his numerous projects fail to make a blip on the critical rap radar. Makes you want to sing along with Gladys Knight and reminisce when becoming a Hip-Hop legend was all so simple.
5. Outkast — As much as it kills any TSS member to say this, the Atlanta duo is now a decade removed from their last collaborative album. 3 Stacks appears to have lost the attention span to rap, sing or act more than two or three times a year while Big Boi has tried to keep the hope alive with random hints of imminent return mentioned in interviews. Sadly, the writing on the wall has long been there for us to see. If Big’s content to fly solo, we’ll just have to follow.
6. Ma$e — Ha! Ma$e! This friggin’ guy. Is he a preacher or a rapper who murders people? Actually, he’s neither. He’s an idiot. The second this completely un-Bad Boy tried to act like he was too good for the lifestyle that made him successful, then tried to come back to open arms is the second he forfeited any prior fans he may have had. Resentment, much? Yes.
7. Nelly — He’s one of the top-selling Hip-Hop acts of the 21st century, but banging Ashanti into oblivion has been Nelly’s only musical contribution of note in the last few years. His last album was horrible and an utter failure, putting a comeback out of reach. We’re pretty sure Nelly realizes this too, which is why he’s content hosting radio shows and interviewing people that still have careers.
8. Dr. Dre — If you think Detox is still coming out, we at TSS have wonderful Idaho beachfront property to sell you. Face it. Detox is never happening. Oh, it had a chance until the Internet diarrhea dumped over that chicken scratch “Under Pressure” song that sounded like Banana Republic house music. Did we crush your dreams, here? Sorry. We take it back. Detox is coming out. Right after your dad comes back from the trip to the store for cigarettes and milk that he took when you were seven.