F2K10 is a countdown of the 20 worst songs of 2010. Track our progress here.
Your chick ain’t the only thing that’s bad…
If 2009 was the year that hip-hop died, then “hashtag rap” certainly finished it off in 2010. Hashtag rap is ultimately worse for hip-hop culture that the PMRC and Bill O’Reilly combined. Hashtag rap gave hip-hop cancer and there appears to be no cure in sight. Just say no to hashtag rap.
Kanye West claims to have invented hashtag rap, though that would be like bragging that your kid was the first to eat boogers. West defines it as follows: “The hashtag rap–that’s what we call it when you take the ‘like’ or ‘as’ out of the metaphor. ‘Flex, sweater red… FIRETRUCK.’ Everybody raps like that, right? That’s really spawned from like ‘Barry Bonds’: ‘Here’s another hit… BARRY BONDS.'”
Although I’ve found hashtags that date back to 2002 (lol, N.O.R.E.), it really took off with Drake with his many, many hits that combine saying something, then pausing annoyingly, and then closing with a half-assed pun. (ex: “Swimmin’ in the money, come and find me… NEMO”). The Drakeian version of hashtag rap combines the intellectually lazy reference-qua-referencing of Family Guy episode with a pregnant pause that actually drives home how much better it would sound if there was a “like” or “as” filling that sucking abyss of silence and suckitude.
But the saddest part about this was watching all my favorite rappers leap on this like Drake unearthed the new “Funky Drummer” loop. Watching veterans trend-hop on this moronic bullshit is as sad as if Ice Cube started wearing Hammer pants in 1990 Hashtag pioneer Juelz Santana went crazy with the hashtags on “Mixing Up The Medicine.” After years of trying to get people to listen to Bun B, rap nerds are now dying to distance themselves from him after the Underground King dropped a few himself. Voice pal Al Shipley pointed out that Fabolous not only dropped the ridiculous “I still turn heads… POLTERGEIST!” on a track, but got the fucking movie wrong. Lil Wayne must have left his “like” and “as” on the same Post-It note that said “Don’t make a rock album, dummy.” Nicki Minaj, who can ostensibly rap, dropped the world’s first double hashtag in “Roman’s Revenge” (“Hang it up… FLATSCREEN… PLASMA”). If this continues in 2011, rap is going to sound like listening to a bad round of Pictionary.
Anyway, the hands-down, no-question, basement-level, bubonic plague worst example of this was in Ludacris’s loathsome “My Chick Bad.” The song is bad enough with one of the decade’s best MCs already reducing himself to a say-nothing slow-flow mush. But Luda flails desperately to fit a hashtag in his 140 characters. It comes after a long, slow trudge through many of traditionally bad Ludacris jokes, non-jokes, non-truths, outright dopiness and a weird part that has a sound-effect made to sound like he’s hitting a woman. Like he’s having an angry fight with himself he vomits out the worst hashtag in history: “I blow her up… BALLOOOOONS!”
This is what that looks like to me.
If the line wasn’t bad on paper, the way he says it made my face freestyle with my palm. Like he says it in the goofiest, most cartoonish way possible. Like Luda himself can’t believe he lives in a world where this is considered acceptable rapping. Like he could ride on one of those balloons he just inflated with his pecker and float back to 1999 where he could rap like a rapper instead of guy screeching out a word association test.
Second worst is when he says, “Coming down the street like a parade… MACY’S.” This line is so irredeemable that even Drake called him out for it. Quoth Drizzy: “Well, that flow has been killed by so many rappers. And, I never want to use that flow again in life… A bunch of rappers started doing it and using the most terrible references in the world… They go like ‘It’s a parade… MACY’S!'”
Also, the less said about Nicki Minaj on this the better.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 14, 2010