I’m a fan of music, and you’re a fan of music as well. We each have our own respective tastes, and we all have our own particular artists that flavor our digital music players, media player computer programs, cars, CD players and – in the curious case of my melanin-less other half of the site – WinAMP and Zune player.
However, we all know that in our favorite rappers’ extensive catalog lie a few stink bombs that are equal parts craptastically awful and head-scratchingly confusing. How do you know when a song is awful? Well, have you ever listened to a track, asked what the fuck is polluting your ears (or some variation of that question) and quickly hit the fast-forward button? Have you ever, after listening to said track and — tired of constantly having to hit that fast-forward button — decided you can “make that album a true classic” and deleted it from your Zune (Shake, I’m looking directly at you) altogether? Have you ever engaged in a conversation with your colleagues about the album and said, “If that song wasn’t on the album the album would’ve been a classic?”
Yeah, the songs (and in one particular case, album) I’m about to list are among the most flagrant of audial fouls where I just can’t even use that argument (and “conveniently” refuse to acknowledge their existence in conversations). These cuts are the celery sticks in the vegetable platter of music, the shits nobody touches until all the good stuff has been consumed and you’re left with nothing but bland, green stalks surrounding a half-empty tub of double-dipped ranch dressing. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone about a rapper’s supposedly flawless catalog, only to have someone bring up a song that subsequently has you doing the sour pickle face? Well, these songs do that to me. Feel free to add your own red flags below.
Willa Ford – “I Wanna Be Bad” f. Royce Da 5’9”
Take a look at the above video. Now, if I told you that Nickel Nine did a song with this chick you probably wouldn’t believe me until I pulled out this YouTube video proving it. At the time desperately vying for a spotlight of his own after his buddy Eminem broke down the doors causing money-driven label execs scramble to Detroit to find rap’s next Bill Laimbeer, Royce instead resembled Craig Ehlo after “The Shot” when he believed that actually jumping on a song with one of Marshall’s many targets would bolster his own career. Ever wonder why it would take nearly a decade after this audio rape for Royce to nab his first gold album (which Slim riding shotgun, mind you)? I’m sure this song probably isn’t the reason but if you told me that, somehow, a musical Wiccan took one listen to “I Wanna Be Bad” and cursed Royce’s career because of it, I wouldn’t look at you like you were crazy.
Yo, what the fuck kinda language is in this YouTube?
LFO – “Life Is Good” f. MOP
Brownsville, Brooklyn’s Mash Out Posse will forever be known as one of the hardest rap duos ever, and that’s just the way the like it. Seriously, have you ever been in a mosh pit whenever “Ante Up” starts blaring out of speakers? It’s euphoric stuff, really.
Unfortunately, Lil Fame and Billy Danze made one of the most bewildering decisions in rap history when they collaborated (in the vaguest sense of that term) with Fall River, Massachusetts’ finest, the Lyte Funky Ones. Hearing Fizzy Womack scream about young goons getting murdered in his hood while some dude sings about how drinking coffee reminds him of a James Dean painting is just… that shit just don’t sit right with me.
Jay-Z – “I Know What Boys Like” f. Puff Daddy & Lil’ Kim
With all the über-success Jay has had performing in venues usually reserved for classical music, knocking up his bombshell wife, slowly taking over Brooklyn Sam “Ace” Rothstein style and what not, it’s almost hard to overlook that it took him about ten years to actually get his rap career off the ground. He threatened to derail that shit too when, presumably mesmerized by the glimmering sheen of Puff’s shiny suit, tried to emulate the glossy sound of the Bad Boy capo with this The Waitresses-sampling, electronic mess of a song. Even with the likes of Ski, DJ Premier and D-Dot providing backdrops on ironically some of Shawn’s hardest songs ever, Jay’s In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 was actually considered the worst release from Jay-Z… until he dropped Kingdom Come. “Thirty is the new 20,” my ass. I could continue on about “I Know What Boys Like,” but the comment left by glassit3 in that YouTube says it best: “This could possibly be the worst song by anyone, ever.”
Nas – “Braveheart Party” f. Mary J. Blige & The Bravehearts
Listen, we could spend all day discussing how Nastradamus – rife with verses about high-tech sex, going all TJ Swan on hooks and laptops with a whopping 100 gigabytes – stinks, but that’s kind of played out at this point. However, not too many people speak on track eleven from Nas’ first comeback LP, Stillmatic. Why? Probably because nobody remembers that song to begin with, as Mary J. Blige had the damn thing yanked from the album’s future pressings. When a song is so terrible that the guest artist – who, after signing the contract, writing the hook, performing the hook on the song, recording the song, signing off on the song’s release and getting paid for her services rendered – still gets the song pulled off the album, you know that’s a shitty song.
Common – Electric Circus
I’ll be honest: to me, “Come Close” wasn’t that bad a song. A chintzy “The Light” rehash complete with equally corny video it was, but it wasn’t a bad song. However, that’s like saying that catching chlamydia isn’t as bad as catching AIDS when the song was on quite possibly the worst album of Lonnie’s career. Electric Circus wasn’t just bad, it had all of us wondering what the hell Erykah Badu possessed underneath all those turbans and head wraps (which we soon found out later in that awesome video for “Window Seat”) that had the guy who made a song called “Heidi Hoe” rocking crochet pajamas on the cover of Black People magazines and hamming it up to a deaf woman in music videos (again, not a bad song, just questionable in its execution). When your album has song titles that sound like something Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z would yell before launching a fireball from his hands, something is definitely wrong.
Kanye saved his ass with Be. Keep it real.
 I know “head-scratchingly” is not a real word.
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