Ain't No Love: The Demise Of Radio Friendly Hip Hop Ballads

DX's Editor At Large, Omar Burgess, takes issue with the cottage industry of watered-down Hip Hop love ballads and the motivation behind making them.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I expect to be bombarded by every manner of Hip Hop love song from LL Cool J’s “I Need Love” up to the latest Drake fare. It makes for an interesting discussion because Hip Hop love songs are polarizing. While all Hip Hop love songs are clearly not created equal, both the artists that create then and the listeners they’re intend for have an interest in either romance and/or sex. So we end up with a myriad of songs dedicated to both topics. Artists like LL Cool J, Fabolous—and more recently, Drake—can seemingly dedicate half their career to creating popular songs that explore matters of the heart. Common sense dictates that these songs also appeal to the lesbian, gay and transgender community too. But, as it currently stands, Nicki Minaj is the closest thing Hip Hop has to a Lady Gaga type artist that openly courts the LBGT community. But that’s another editorial for another day.

For my money, I’ll always prefer innovative Hip Hop love songs that at least fool me into sounding sincere. But regardless of the kind of Hip Hop love song you or I might prefer, there are likely exceptions that blur the lines. I’m interested in the friction caused when the decidedly masculine genre of Hip Hop tackles affairs of the heart. I’d go further and argue that there are essentially three main factors that spawn the Hip Hop love song: increasing one’s money/status, attracting fans with sex appeal and a genuine interest in creating works that explore love and/or sex.

The Dilemma Of Radio Appeal

“R&B studs kill me with they hardcore ballads / Love songs that’s violent / Them niggas whole style is salad / I hate to staple the singles together / But in my head it’s been ringing forever / And a day / If you grew up on Marvin Gaye / Why all you sing is booty this / And freak me ba-bay…” –Common, “Real Nigga Quotes.”

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s 10-year Consumer Trends Report, women have been purchasing more music than men in all genres during seven of the last 10 years. Generally, the gap has been no larger than 3%. I wonder if such reports are the reason labels or artists themselves feel the need to keep churning out these horrible songs. After all, 3% becomes a rather large number when you’re talking about the billions of dollars spent on legal music purchases.

There’s a commonly held belief among many decision makers in the recording industry that two things will always win—appealing to young women, and making music as simple and catchy as possible. Yet, no one in the recording industry has been able to prove that women are more likely to buy a single or an album if it is geared toward what people assume they like. If you’ve ever seen an Immortal Technique or M.O.P. show packed with women, then that “female friendly” line of thinking outlined above seems rather insulting, right? In 2011, with the respective examples of Lupe Fiasco and J. Cole, I saw how making simple, stereotypically “female friendly” material can impact an emcees bottom line.

For the last two years, I’ve had both a professional and a personal interest in J. Cole’s career. The people that regularly visit HipHopDX like him, but I’m also a casual fan of his music. While I still think Cole is a dope emcee, I became less of a fan after hearing “Work Out,” “Can’t Get Enough” and the album that spawned those two singles. I suspected someone at Roc Nation pressured him into making such material, but I was wrong. Luckily, Cole does a lot of press. So there’s no need to guess why he made “Work Out” and “Can’t Get Enough,” because he had enough balls to tell everyone why.

“Sometimes as a fan, what you expected your favorite artist to do is not what’s always best for them,” Cole explained in an interview with SoulCulture UK. “I’ve seen the comments like, ‘Man, why didn’t you come out with a real record where you was really rapping hard as your first single?’ And I’m like, ‘My man, it’s called ‘Who Dat.’ I did that last year; it didn’t work. Do you hear ‘Who Dat’ on the radio or in the club? I love ‘Who Dat,’ and I’ll perform that song for the rest of my life. But the fact is that could only get you so much…What I’ve learned allowed me to make a record like ‘Work Out,’ which is radio-friendly, club friendly and summertime friendly. But if you wanna ride around listening to just Rap shit, I have ‘Return of Simba’ for you. I have a lot of things for you.”

Lupe Fiasco And J. Cole’s Complex Compromise

“Turn it to the radio / Listen for a minute / Yo G stick a fuckin’ tape in it / ‘Cause all the radio do is bang old / Fat R&B love triangle / Now if you’re out there kickin’ it with the brothers / You don’t care about lovers / You wanna hear a young nigga on the mic going buckwild / Going and flowin’ and throwin’ new styles…” –Ice Cube, “Turn Off The Radio.”

Conversely, Lupe Fiasco’s LASERS is an example of an artist begrudgingly making simpler, more catchy music. While it seems pretty clear to me that Cole’s “Work Out” and “Can’t Get Enough” targeted one kind of female listener while also achieving the stated goals of simplicity and repetition, Lupe either didn’t want to or couldn’t adhere to the stereotypical “female friendly” formula. Lupe wisely passed on singles such as “Nothin’ On You,” but many felt some of his LASERS singles were out of character. Those feelings were confirmed when Lupe went on record with Details magazine, Complex.com and the Chicago Sun-Times detailing his frustrations.

“I was specifically told don’t rap too deep on this record,” Lupe told the Sun-Times. “That was a specific order from the top. ‘You’re rapping too fast or too slow, or it’s too complex.’”

For what it’s worth, both Lupe Fiasco’s forced compromise and J. Cole’s voluntary, strategic compromise achieved their respective goals. Sales numbers are far from being totally objective, but they’re a good indicator. In terms of the numbers, Cole’s right. “Work Out” is still currently on the charts. Since being released in June of 2011, it’s been on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart for 22 weeks and has peaked at the number 13 spot. “Work Out” has been certified as a gold-selling single by the RIAA after moving over 500,000 copies. Conversely, “Who Dat” disappeared from the charts after 13 weeks, and it failed to crack the top 20 after peaking at the number 32 spot on the Hot 100. If you prefer a more complex take from Cole, there’s “Too Deep For The Intro” or “Girl Of My Dreams.”

In Lupe’s case, Atlantic got a more marketable record, as LASERS has gone on to enjoy commercial success—with “The Show Goes On” reaching multiplatinum status. Even the visibly forced Hip Hop love song “Out Of My Head” managed to spend nine weeks on the Hot 100 while peaking at the number 40 spot.

Both Cole and Lupe have likely gained some followers to supplement the core fans he may have lost by “not being too deep.” And while I think these watered down love songs are poor representations of Lupe and Cole’s lyrical abilities, that’s completely subjective. The millions of people that paid for those songs obviously feel differently on the matter. If more emcees were as forthright and honest in their interviews as Lupe and J. Cole, I suspect we’d find the same holds true of many of the Hip Hop love songs we hear on the radio.

The Rise Of Drake And The Hip Hop Dandy

“What up / To all rappers shut up / With your shuttin’ up keep a shirt on / At least a button up / Yuck / Is they rhymers or strippin’ males / Out of work jerks / Since they shut down Chippendales…” –MF DOOM, “Beef Rap.”

Before going any further, I should remind anyone still reading that everything prior to and after this point are strictly my opinions. I may try to support them with anecdotal evidence or statistics, but I’m not trying to pass any of them off as universal truths. That being said, I think the worst purveyor of the current Hip Hop love song is the dandy. Much like the dandy archetype laid out in Robert Greene’s The Art of Seduction, the Hip Hop dandy draws the attention of female fans and the ire of male ones. If you think I’m hinting at the likes of Drake and LL Cool J, you’re correct.

Drake isn’t oblivious to the criticism either. On “Lord Knows,” he rhymes the following, “I’m hearing all of the jokes / I know that they trying to push me / I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy / Know that I don’t make music for niggas that don’t get pussy / So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me…”

To buy into Drake’s “Lord Knows” rhetoric is to assume a few things. The first would be that people mistake some of his effeminate actions and lyrics with not being a successfully promiscuous, heterosexual male. Another assumption or inference would be that artists that don’t openly and overtly court females in their music the way Drake and LL Cool J do aren’t equally successfully promiscuous, heterosexual males. Or, to put it bluntly and use Drake’s own words, you can still “get pussy” without being overly emotional. The last assumption would be that some women dont enjoy using men strictly for sexual purposes too. The irony here is that Drake’s own alleged dalliances with Rihanna disprove that assumption.

The uber-macho emcee that lives by the credo of “we don’t love these hoes” would argue that the approach matters. Dandies complain about being labeled as pussies or soft, but they often invite such criticism by claiming to want monogamous relationships on one song only to court the same strippers and groupies the uber-macho emcees also seek. So the two groups often snipe at each other, assuming only one approach is successful. But if both groups have the stated goal of romancing or sport fucking as many women as possible, does it really matter how you achieve that goal?

Dandy godfather, LL Cool J has made a career out of balancing ballads and battle rhymes for decades. If you take a look at LL Cool J’s 22 highest-charting singles listed below, only five of them (“Headsprung,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,”  “Father,” “The Boomin’ System,” and “4,3,2,1,”) weren’t aimed at the ladies.

“Hey Lover” 
“Loungin’” 
“Control Myself”
“Luv U Better”
“Around The way Girl”
“Doin’ It”
“I Need Love”
“I’m That Type Of Guy”
“Headsprung”
“Mama Said Knock You Out”
“Father”
“Hush”
“Paradise”
“Back Seat (Of My Jeep)”
“Ain’t Nobody”
“The Boomin’ System”
“Phenomenon”
“4,3,2,1,”
“6 Minutes Of Pleasure”
“Imagine That”

To be fair, the man’s nickname is “Ladies Love Cool James,” so he isn’t making his desire to cater to the female audience a secret. As for the rest of the major labels and the artists that attempt to shoehorn themselves into this subgenre, what’s their excuse?

I suppose it’s a question we may never know the answer to, because at some point logic goes out the window. On “Swishas And Dosha” the late Pimp C rhymed, “You in love with a stripper / She pullin’ down my zipper / That hoe is payin’ me / Bitch don’t try to play with me…” Yet Drake can fashion himself as a “Young Sweet Jones” while simultaneously trying to turn the same brand of stripper into an honest girl on “Houstonlantavegas,” and 90% of the Rap game co-signs such behavior.

What’s Love Got To Do With It

In the end, I hate “Work Out,” “Out Of My Head” and “Houstonlantavegas” equally. Save for Drake’s decidedly non-Pimp C behavior of saving strippers, I don’t have a problem with any of the emcees that make the above tracks. My issue is with the entire cottage industry of dumbed-down Hip Hop love songs. Such songs are a fiscally great idea. Love songs in any genre can potentially double your purchasing audience—it’s not rocket science that both men and women buy music. And people have been simplifying commercial music in hopes of broadening their audience since the 19th Century days of Tin Pan Alley.

But to simplify something as complex as love and or human sexuality, and to assume all females will buy one of these simple songs if you just put Trey Songz on the chorus seems rather insulting.

There are upwards of 8 billion people on this planet, and when we have sex with each other, shit happens. Songs like “Work Out,” “Out Of My Head” and “Houstonlantavegas” are basically just touching the surface of all the issues that happen after that post-coital cigarette gets lit. To me, those songs are more about boosting sales than anything remotely related to love or even sex for that matter. Sales and chart positions shouldn’t be the only way we measure an elite emcee. But that’s essentially what happens when an artist feels compelled to make a wack Hip Hop love ballad to increase their sales. There’s actually plenty of great Hip Hop songs that deal with sex, love and romance—from Ghostface Killah’s “Wildflower” to Jay-Z’s “Excuse Me Miss” and Mos Def’s “Miss Fat Booty”—to name just a few. But more often than not, labels would rather invest their money in promoting tracks that aren’t “too deep” or “too complex.” And as long as that’s the case, artists will compromise for all of the above reasons and more.

Omar Burgess is a Long Beach, California native who has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and has  been an editor at HipHopDX since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @FourFingerRings.

40 Comments

  • mypitts2

    By the way, one of my favorite songs dealing with the ladies is Nas' "Black Girl Lost." It's not a ballad per se, but show's that a dude can understand what a sista has to deal with. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiWNjlhHjeg

  • mypitts2

    This is a good topic. Personally, I like that hip-hop can represent a range of emotions/feelings b/c not many POPULAR art forms do that as well for the black community. As long as hip-hop doesn't become totally dominated by ballads, like R&B, it's fine. The protest music and street stories should always be a part of rap. It is notable that in most year-end best-of lists, the music critics usually have more hip-hop albums than R&B records. I think this directly relates to the fact that rap records stretch and do different kinds of things. They don't sound stale.

  • steee

    and one thing i gotta add. i'm not a huge drake fan, but i think its kinda stupid to hate on him for the kind of music he makes. yes, if he was doing all songs where he spits as good/hart as can, i'd maybe go buy the cd. but thats not to say that what he's doing is completely watered down and overdone. what a lot of drakes songs give up on in terms of lyrical complexity, they make up for in honesty and real emotion. i'd say in the history of hip hop those qualities are pretty rare, even in a lot of the dopest shit. and yeah... i'm not saying a decent amount of drakes shit isnt just plain stupid (it is). i'm just saying you what this article is doing is boxing in mcs to create a certain kind of music (just like the record companies). and for lupe... i think he's a different case. because his more radio friendly songs (the whole lasers cd) just sounds forced and ingenuine. he dumbed it down, and destroyed the quality of the music. i know the label is what pushed it through, but it's just so interesting that that cd was basically everythign that lupe stood against. he even made a fucking song called dumb it down about not doing exactly what he did.

  • Anonymous

    some of what he said is true , some of it is kinda bullshit

  • bonabo

    beautiful article man. check out RAKIM - Finest Ones how could you not add that? that's the best song for woman lyrically and the beat bangs 13 years later.

  • DiceTRAKZ

    Its coo when a rapper make love typ joints. A few love tracks r some of my favs. One that come tho mind is that Mary J and method man joint. I still bang that shit! What makes hip hop love song wack is when a rapper over saturates us with love song, after love song, after love song....Example, Ja rule. when he first did that "Im real" track with J-lo I liked it, i thought it was a coo song, but he should of left it alone after that. I mean not completely, but he should'nt have put out all the love r&b type tracks he did. But its not jus with love songs, it can be with anything. When rappers over saturate the game with the same shit over and over, it hurts the music in the long run.

  • dslimm70802

    the hardest r and b/rap album is the wizard of poetry. so rappers can make all the love songs in the world that dont mean ppl wont sleep on it.

  • Anonymous

    why should a love song be complex? a love song is not about the lyrics but more about how it feels, a love is suppose makes you want to have sex! period. It's not politics over men and woman relationships. And for the records i'd rather have sex with my girl on a Drake, Ja or LL simple joint than bumpin' immortal technique in the background. And oh, if you're familiar with chicago, you would know that Do or Die whom have some of the rawest joint out there have some the best sex joints too.

  • Derrick Kyle

    OMAR you're too good for hip hop dx. seriously.... what are you doing on this 8th grade level hip hop blog? you're clearly on a different writing level from sean ryon, slava kuperstein,steven horowitz, edwin ortiz, and the rest of the staff that can't even grasp the concept of spell-check. you're basically just writing editorials for the 9-5 trolls who destroyed this site, and self-hating closet homosexuals who only want to talk about fucking men in the ass every article. these is a reason hiphopdx didnt even make the top 50 hip hop blogs list on vibe.com. oh how things have changed in just 2 years. seriously, omar, go somewhere that you can be appreciated and your articles aren't going to waste. peace

  • Anonymous

    Im a huge fan of hip-hop love music. Common's The Light and Method Man's All I Need are two of my favorite hip-hop songs of all time but i dont like the fact that these artists are pretty much being put into a box and being told what type of music they need to make in order to get sales. Business always takes away from the art and its sad that things have to be that way because the quality of the music is not as good as it could be. Todays hip-hop fans need to stop looking at things from the artists perspective and let artists slide with making half assed music and then stick up for them saying that its all cool cuz they getting paid. By doing that yall are just cutting yourselves short. We need to get hip-hop back into the hands of the people where it should. I mean, we even have the rappers saying they are making music they dont necessarily like and that they are just doing it for radio spins. The industry is telling us what to listen and we are following their lead and not questioning anything.

  • Roland

    Let me say this right now, if you wasn't getting your Bump & Grind on to Doin' it or Loungin' remix to a fine sista back in 96, somethings wrong !! If you wasn't feeling Method Man & Mary J., somethings wrong. Truth of the matter is Hardcore Hip Hop on the radio was always a no go unless you got serious backing. As long as your Album wasn't laced with too many love songs on your cd, Hip Hop never had a problem. Busta Rhymes, Gangstarr, Steady B & Cool C., Biggie & Pac, Mase & Ghostface. Some more sappy than others but its about the groove on just as its about the lyrical terror and emcee can bring and all of them brought that lyrical terror when needed. If you wasn't a fan of the radio friendly love song, it is what it is but don't knock it.

  • Tony

    Drake knows what he is doing he bumps dead prez and knows UGK personally that being said would you ever expect someone like that to make soft music? Obviosly singing about women is part of his style and so is rapping, quit bitching when he does one and not the other or both. I love hip hop dx but when i come on this site the bloggers and the writers seem to have a very narrow lane when it comes to what passes as hip hop. There are more rappers today than ever so rap/hip hop is clearly getting morer vast/expanding. Respect workout for what it is a club song produced and performed by a talented man don't critique it and put it in a "love song" category because it isn't. "Do you really wanna love me forever" thats pretty much as romantic as it gets. I dont believe he was trying to give you the listener a vivid look inside of love and or sex. Cole put it perfectly just be happy your favorite artist is putting out new music don't listen to it and say how you would of made it better or what you would have left out. "Excuse me miss" is mentioned as a good love song in this article and also in the article it mentions that artists make "love songs" to get more sales but in the song "excuse me miss" Jay-Z is boasting about moving units, seems like a contradiction. Excuse me miss is an exceptional Jay-Z song by the way. But don't write an article praising one "love song" and dissing others because they aren't deep enough because you can't categorize everybody's music into one category.

  • gulley28

    Great article! But I think it goes deeper than just artist trying to boost record sales. Youth today(especially black youth) are subliminally taught not to think "too deep". Nowadays its not "cool" to question what you hear; considering the source will ultimately give a person the label of "hater" and will subject them to all types of wild harrassment. So the youth are to consume whatever is put in front of them without any critical thought on what they're consuming. It's sad. On a final note, I disagreed with J.Cole when he said "you have to play the game to change the game". The only real way to bring about "change" is confrontation. Not violence, but confrontation of the the truth of the matter. The truth is the so called music industry cares about one thing, the almighty dollar. It does not give a damn about a artist or what he/she thinks(see Lupe Fiasco). The technological world that we live in today can be used to completely and forcibly shut down the "music industy" for good, and bring about a Golden Era of artist who control their own message and reap all rewards from their talents. That is the simple truth, and anyone who thinks that's a lie is still asleep.

  • Anonymous

    You realize that there isn't 8 billion people on Earth, right? There's 7 billion...

  • JPipe

    Method man - all I need 2Pac - how do u want it, toss it up Lox - ride or die chick Nelly - delima Just to name a few & most other "I need a girl" type songs are classics. But like PAC said " make music for the females b/c they the ones that will support you"

  • @ShadowPrecinct

    This is a really well written article. I would definitely like to see more of these pieces. I do agree with your point about the dandy persona being another type of "act" that rappers put out there. Making a billion love songs and smashing strippers does seem kinda counter-intuitive, especially with a populous consumed with keepin' it real and actually doing what you rap about. Pimp C would have a lot to say about it indeed.

  • DL

    Great article. I agree with your thesis. Too many dope "love/sex" songs out there. Lay off the Drake kids, pick up the Dead Prez (mind sex) or Tragedy Khadafi (hood love) instead. "Rap is all a gimmick, don't believe the lies" http://macke.bandcamp.com/track/schemin-like-wow-ft-bk-dl-produktive-mack-e

  • Hidden By Leaves

    Though this was a good read and stated many valid points that could be considered opinions... You wasted a lot of time, thought and energy writing this long winded editorial when the subject can easily be summed up with two words... SEX SELLS

  • Pimp Short

    DOPE READ...KEEP THIS WRITER WORKING PLEASE...

  • steab

    well written article but its not very clear what you are trying to say.

  • RedX

    Interesting article. Admittedly, it was these type of songs which you are kind of dissing which got me into Hip Hop. Most probably, I'm speaking for the masses here too! I mean, if you started listening to music around the 90's it was LL Cool J, Biggie, Mase or Will Smith which got you into Hip Hop. Even Pac seemed like he was going that way with California Love but then he tragically got shot. If you started listening to Hip Hop in early 2000's, it was probably because of Ja Rule (can't believe you left him out of this article, especially because after all the slack he received, he managed to strike a very good balance on his album R.U.L.E. between radio love songs and deeper love songs eg. 'Wonderful' and 'Never Thought'), Fabolous, Jay-Z, Diddy or 50 Cent (eg. 21 Questions is a song I remember very well when he released it back in '02 and it was that song, not In Da Club which made me listen to him) If you started listening to Hip Hop lately, then it was probably because of a Lil Wayne song (How to love got both some of my female and male friends going crazy), Drake (needless to say), Eminem (Love the Way you lie) or B.O.B. (airplanes) Unfortunately, J.Cole still doesn't get as much recognition as those artists get here in Europe, which is a shame because I feel he is miles better right now. My point is, as with all these examples, is that it is wrong to diss this type of music because it can really help put Hip Hop on the map. The most worrying trend right now to Hip Hop is artists like Nicki Minaj and producers like Timbaland collaborating with electro and house DJ's like David Guetta. You need to be drunk to really enjoy that music and it really strips down the essence of a Hip Hop artist. Those smooth, mellow or sexy beats are replaced with annoying snyth sounds which are so out of character and clash with what Hip Hop should be representing. In case you are wondering, I'm a European dude and over here, we are sick of this type of music, but enjoy it in clubs just because we get drunk and DJs think we like it... True Story. However, it comes to no surprise to me that the best European clubs for hooking up are Hip Hop and RnB clubs, and that's because radio friendly Hip Hop ballads make it easier to get down with. ;) At the end of the day, it's also songs from the early 2000's and late 90's which get most plays in Hip Hop clubs, and that's because at that time, the best Hip Hop ballads got released.

  • V

    very good article, I'll say it like I've always said it, it doesnt matter WHAT you rap about its HOW..there are dope songs about love & then theres the sugarcoated "fill the quota" ballads by wack rappers

  • buckeyewu

    Great article! It's articles like this that keep me coming back to this site. Unlike this annoying Levi's add that keeps popping up on my monitor!

  • Mike

    This article is epic. Thanks alot for this Omar. It touches on so many things fans of hip hop want to say but when confronted by sheep they cant say because Its so much. You particularly hit the nail on the head about their being great hip hop songs about love and sex that the major labels don't want to back because Its too "Complex" and not "simple enough". I love 80's/90's r&b but using artists like Trey Songz/Chris Brown to sell units because they appeal to the younger girls is appalling and down right lazy. Common's The Light is one of the best love songs in hip hop for Its intelligent(not the same as complex) lyrics. Yes the beat is a neo-soul/hip-hop combo(Rhodes/Bobby Caldwell Sample/Drums from the Detroid Emeralds record) but we all know neo-soul has had a better creative/non-excessive/healthy relationship with hip hop than R&B has, especially with neo-soul singers: . Taking the place of rapper trying to sing (very badly). e.g. Dwele/D'Angelo/Erykah Badu. . Adding more value to the song than just a name. . Principle concepts of a hip hop track not being compromised for cheap 1 day listen.

  • Anonymous

    "But, as it currently stands, Nicki Minaj is the closest thing Hip Hop has to a Lady Gaga type artist that openly courts the LBGT community. But thats another editorial for another day". Loooooooool

  • opinoinated

    Im an R&B fan so if i want R&B or a mixture of R&B/hip-hop, usely some R&B singer like Chris Brown, Ne-YO, Trey Songz,Lloyd or Mario will have some good features on their albulms. So I dnt hold much expectations for rappers to produce"girl songs" but I c the points this article is trying to make...My opinion on mainstream music is this: the day mainstream music gets better(or goes back to the way it used to be) is the day hip-hop will thrive as a whole. Radio music is our main platform to the world(outside of TV exposure/social media) so if we can get labels/artists to put more thought into their singles and "hip-pop" songs, it'll elevate hip-hop music.

  • Benny Belle

    The sad part is... You used to be able to pick up real, raw hip-hop albums and there would still be "love" songs or tracks "aimed at the females." But they were still GOOD music... LL Cool J Gang Starr - Love Sick Tupac - At least 5 tracks on "All Eyez on Me" alone Pharoahe Monch - Bar Tap, So Good, The Trilogy OutKast - Mrs. Jackson, Jazzy Belle, etc. Akinyele - Put It In Your Mouth (Hah!) Biggie Big Pun Slick Rick Common De La Soul Tribe Called Quest Naughty By Nature The list could go on. All of these artists made CLASSIC material that wasn't hardcore, smack you in the face rap shit. But it was still GOOD Music, not this formulaic BULLSHIT they pump now. It's all about sales & spins - not making good music that stands the test of time. Shame!

  • herewego

    a good article on dx!?!? say it aint so!

  • lola

    LL Cool J made it all possible. J. Cole is just a cornball tryin to hit the chicks that igg'd him in NC.

  • jonepic

    Love this article. The industry is ruining music.

  • Anonymous

    Great acticle Tupac said if you sell to the ladies the niggas will follow

    • buckeyewu

      Not to disrespect Pac, but I heard Coolio say the same thing back in the 90s. Both of them are right. No dude wants to admit it, just like no dude wants to admit they are whipped.