By Marcus Arman
Not all rappers need critical adoration to achieve commercial success. Some use negative reviews as motivation, others dismiss them as hate, and a few of them probably don’t know what constitutes a review. But it’s commendable anytime an artist reaches some level of success. In fact, some of the most popular artists of past and current generations have been critical dwarves. Consider this an ode to the artists who are often the butt of rap-snob jokes. Here’s our list of the top five critic-proof rappers.
5. Mac Miller
Why Critics Hate Him: His subject matter, (kool aid, frozen pizza, Nikes on his feet, smoking loud, and pretty much all forms of raging), is youthful, if not childish. And despite his stellar production, he rarely (see: never) composes a memorable track.
Why Fans Love Him: When you’re living young, wild and free, as most Mac Miller fans are, there’s no time for analysis or criticism.
4. Chief Keef
Why Critics Hate Him: Ignoring societal concerns over his lyrical content, (which is ultra-violent), the fact remains that Chief Keef sucks at rapping. His voice registers as a low grumble, and he often plays catch up with the beat’s cadence.
Why Fans Love Him: They listen to Keef’s sermons for the sensation, not the moral lessons. His radio and viral hits, (“I Don’t Like,” “3Hunna,” and “Love Sosa”), are undeniably catchy, and he could care less about the fuss surrounding him, or that he’s become a conversation piece. He just makes his music and buys tacky designer clothing. Carry on Keef.
Why Critics Hate Him: His mixtapes made him a critical darling early on, but Wale abandoned his uniquely DC go-go sound for a chance to rhyme alongside Rick Ross. His reliance on sports similes and routine addressing of “haters” gets stale fast. And that spoken word bad beat poetry he does a lot now wouldn’t be fit for most open mic nights.
Why Fans Love Him: He persevered through a heavily scrutinized debut flop (Attention Deficit) to reinvent himself both commercially and artistically. Songs like “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “Look Ma (No Hands)” showcase his versatility as a hitmaker.
2. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Why Critics Hate Him: Have you heard “Thrift Shop?”
Why Fans Love Him: Have you heard “Thrift Shop?”
*Chances are you have. Shit’s got 85 million views on YouTube.
1. Flo Rida
Why Critics Hate Him: His hits–seemingly catered for radio by the season–are polished to the point of being gimmicky. Realistically, he’s not all that different from Ke$ha.
Why Fans Love Him: Actually, we have no idea. But then “She had them Apple Bottom jeans. Boots with the furrrrr.” got stuck in our heads and we were like “Oh, yeahhh. That’s why.”