People totally forgot the one thing Suge Knight said that mattered. All the way back in 1995, the then head of Death Row admonished “executive producer’s…all up in the videos, all on the records, dancin’.” Today, Suge’s a shell of his former self and rap’s overrun with producers, DJs and, yes, executives coming from behind the desk and boards to take their turn on the mic.
Fact of the matter is most of them aren’t good. Put bluntly, they’re basura and just clog up the airwaves, blocking more deserving MCs the spotlight and budgets to blow. Here are our least favorite 10, in no ranking order because they all just equally suck.
We’d be willing to bet people only know who Rocko is because of Monica. After all, this former of husband of the 90s R&B singer and current star of Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta hasn’t really accomplished much. Yet, the producer-turnt-rapper still manages to command respect in the rap community and get your favorite MCs on some monster remixes (“Umma Do Me” & “U.O.E.N.O.”). We’re assuming he just saves up child support checks under his mattress and breaks people off in cash. Because, Lord knows his raps alone clearly aren’t warranting that kind of attention.
2. DJ Khaled
Remember when Khaled put out one of the greatest vlogs in the history of Al Gore’s Internet? Yeah, the one where he belly flopped into ocean with a crisp pair of J’s on. That’s what we need more of in regards to The Mouth of The South. More comedy. More “I’m On One’s.” Less yelling on records. And a lot less rapping. To Khaled’s credit, it’s only been on one record (this happened too), but that’s just one time too many. All it takes is one yes man to offset the creative balance in music saying something is hot when in reality it’s nothing more than souffléd shit. Just ask LL Cool J.
3. Jermaine Dupri
After cutting his teeth ghostwriting for Kriss Kross, and appearing on every single album So So Def released, Jermaine Dupri began his inevitable attempt at a solo hip-hop career. Most of his lyrics ranged somewhere in between “meh” and steeped in unadulterated struggle. Dupri would have been better served staying behind the boards and out of the booth.
4. Mack Maine
Mack Maine stands as one of the most successful weed carriers of all-time by parlaying a childhood friendship with Lil Wayne into a spot on Young Money. While he saw little air-time on official releases, Mack managed to make a name for himself behind the scenes, becoming a guiding hand behind one of the most dominant artists in recent history.
Instead of doing what was best and stay out of the booth, dude still insists on being a rapper, turning in sub-par performance after sub-par performance. Being that he serves as President of YM, we feel that he should put down the mic for good and focus on making Wayne and Nicki listenable again. Plus all of our lives would be better for it.
5. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs
Puff has so much personality, rapping seems like it would be a natural fit. But, realistically, being a solo artist is no more than a hobby for the notorious Bad Boy CEO, who’s always been more engaged with the business side of the game. Whether he’s reviving vodka brands or throwing emerging rappers at the wall to see if they stick, Puffy’s priority has simply never been in the booth. However, dancing in videos has never been a problem.
During the mid 2000’s, Cool & Dre rose to national prominence providing chart topping numbers for Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Trick Daddy, Game and several others. Their popularity went through the roof and suddenly Dre found the urge to step outside of his lane and rap. Now don’t get it twisted, “Chevy Ridin’ High” was a dope record. You know how it could’ve been even better? That’s right. You see where we’re going with this.
His career consists of ghostwriting for his brother Timbaland, and weirding us out by looking like a taller, younger version of the super producer in videos whenever he decides to do another compilation album. That’s quite enough, don’t you think?
When it comes to scouting for talent, there are few better than Stunna. His trio of Lil’ Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj owns a combined fan base of probably half the world, and of course that means zillions of dollars in his pocket. Unfortunately for him, his business savvy doesn’t translate into making raps, no matter who he pays to ghost write his verses. But common sense be damned, on every YMCMB album, there’s always that one Birdman feature that leaves the listener facepalming every single time.
Since he’s still relatively new, it’s hard to come to an end-all-be-all judgement on Hit-Boy. However, from what we’ve heard from the kid so far, his beats are some of the best of this generation. Between “N*ggas in Paris,” “Backstreet Freestyle,” and “Clique” he’s masterminded the production of the most intricately created records of the last couple years. And let’s put it this way, if he was as good on the mic as he was on the boards, he’s be rapping like Jay-Z. Anything else, just falls short. And unfortunately, his rhymes just don’t compare to his beats.
10. Swizz Beatz
Swizz could have had an unblemished production legacy, dating back to his days with the Ruff Ryders. Like everyone else on this list, he just wasn’t content behind the scenes, making money and dominating the charts as a producer. So, he picked up a mic. These days, as soon as his drops come on, it’s reached the point that both his rapping and production are met with cringes. It’s kind of snowballed into wackness from there, with him hawking his Reebok sneakers. Do people even buy Reebok kicks? Do people even anticipate a Swizz Beatz song?