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.