Monday, 11 April 2016

Top 20 Rap Critic Videos

While I’ve been trying to broaden my musical horizons over the last few years, getting into more metal and electronic music as best my eardrums can manage, I freely admit that the majority of the music I listen to nowadays is hip-hop. Now, I would normally attribute this to parental influence, with my mother playing a lot of NWA and Public Enemy when I was growing up and my dad showing me the angry white kid faves of Eminem and the Beastie Boys. However, as potentially weird and unsettling as this tidbit may come across as, I can easily put the blame(?) of that squarely on a single person. That person is who we’re looking into the work of today. So, as tribute to the guy who has forever altered my musical tastes, here are the Top 20 Rap Critic Videos.

#20: Worst Lyrics I’ve Ever Heard: April 2014

Unwelcome comparisons to Tupac, sex acts extolled by Southern rappers that… quite frankly, no-one should be talking about on record, another baffling iteration of the infamous pick-up line from Full Metal Jacket and one of the more bizarre flavor of the month rappers who is so ridiculous, you’re not sure how into his own joke he is. A good sampling of RC’s sensibilities when it comes to the kind of lyrics that stick out for him for all the wrong reasons.

#19: WLIEH: July 2013

That “smooth jazz lessons” line makes me crack up every time, but probably what makes it work as well as it does is its juxtaposition next to heavyweights like Jay-Z and Eminem at… well, not their worst but certainly at their lamer moments. Actually, with how often Jay-Z shows up on WLIEH, you have to wonder just how good the guy is to begin with.

#18: Moment 4 Life

This video probably has RC at his most fanboy awkward, which adds an extra layer of comedy to his breakdown of his lyrics when you know that he really just wants to get in with the Young Money crowd… okay, maybe a tad simplistic, but his not-so-subtle drops about how he would make a good friend for either Drake or Nicki still tickles me ever so slightly. It’s a joke he would later revisit, in a parody of the most-likely forgotten DJ Khaled marriage proposal, but this is where the joke was at its funniest. It also set up some pretty good preamble for another video he’d make later on, which we’ll get to in due time.

#17: Loyal

If there was any more doubt in the world that maybe Lil Wayne isn’t nearly as good as he has ever claimed to be, RC compiles a montage of the times Weezy has quite literally compared himself to shit. It’s kind of mesmerizing how weirdly specific that trend is with him, but outside of that, RC gives some credence to what the song could be about before realizing that “these hoes ain’t loyal” because the artists actively want them to cheat. It seems like another artist who can only dig himself into a deeper hole is Chris Brown himself.

#16: Top 10 Best Rap Songs Of 2013

If I was to be a bit more critical, I’d question the moments of self-promotion and how his choices of songs for the best of 2013 don’t really represent it all that well… barely, if we’re being honest. But I can’t help it, his choices are all solid and the way he builds up the definite skill on display on each song; this is a video that actively makes me want to listen to music and, when doing a Best Of list, that’s definitely one of the bigger checks to aim for.

While constantly questioning just how much is meant to be taken seriously, RC takes on a whole album by David Banner, a rapper/producer who is the closest we’ll ever get to someone translating the uber-macho attitude of professional wrestling into the rap world. It is ridiculous how much ultraviolence this guy indulges in, and RC makes a decent statement that his work can be enjoyed for just how over-the-top it is.

#14: Worst Lyrics Of 2012

What puts this particular year-end countdown on the list is how RC, after getting through some of the more questionable and just plain confusing lyrics of 2012 (which there is never a shortage of, unfortunately), gets all good and personal with his #1 pick. From his smacked-face reaction to the lyric itself, he goes into his very deep-seated expectations from the artist in question and you can actively hear the betrayal in his voice as he does so.

#13: Soulja Boy: The Movie

A documentary about one of the biggest skid marks in the history of hip-hop was too big for a single critic, so RC and his North Carolina counterpart Mues teamed up to tackle this film that, I swear to God, actually exists. Seriously, I’ve seen this video more than enough times, and even I’m struggling to believe that this film is real.

#12: The Great Milenko

RC and Diamanda Hagan teamed up to spend an entire month talking about Insane Clown Posse. Sometimes, you do have to wonder about the sanity of some of these cats. But of their four big collabs, I have to tip my hat to this one where we get to see a bit of RC’s inner Juggalo and he bounces off of Hagan makes for some damn good banter. Hell, I’m willing to bet this is one of the few times when you will actually hear someone dare to say something good about ICP; that kind of lack of prejudice is one of the main reasons I like RC to begin with.

#11: Love Me

Oh hai, Lil Wayne; fancy seeing one of the show’s biggest whipping boys on this list once again. While RC’s breakdown of how useless Future and Drake’s contributions to the song ended up being, it’s his slamming of Wayne’s repulsively sexist lyrics that makes this video worth watching. Not only that, he goes into the mindset that Wayne is usually in when he delivers his rhymes on record, resulting in quite a bit of uncomfortable questioning about how accurate of the song truly is. Yeah, I don’t know if it’s my own mentality or if hip-hop is genuinely like this, but questioning if the artists are being serious is a running theme with this show.

#10: Gangsta’s Paradise
With all the terrible lyrics that usually end up gracing this show, it’s definitely refreshing to see RC use his scalpel that something that’s actually worth being read into like this. Yeah, we may all remember Coolio for his ridiculous hair and his near-constant falling from grace (read: music video on porn site), but this song represents what so many people enjoy about 90’s hardcore hip-hop, something made even more apparent when RC puts the song in its current and former cultural context.
#9: The Worst, Most Annoying Christmas Lyrics

There’s a rather unsurprising lack of Christmas-themed rap songs, so last year RC decided to go back into the more traditional canon of yuletide favourites. Honestly, while his look at I Want A Hippopotamus is a lot more respectful than I’m used to seeing, and his take on Santa Baby’s continuing popularity points out some of the weirder choices made in adapting it, it’s his kind of legendary takedown of Do They Know It’s Christmas that earns it this spot. From the pandering lyrics to the disastrous result of the original Band Aid effort, it’s nice seeing RC rain down brimstone like this.

#8: Shawty
Despite how his own musical sensibilities may have you think, RC has a real issue with “thugs need love too” songs. Nowhere is that better portrayed than in his look at the mush-mouthed Southerner Plies, in particular a song that quickly veers into the kinds of awful that an uncomfortable number of sex raps end up venturing. Not only that, big respect for not only putting this guy’s words in their place but also using a perfect Jakki Tha Motamouth lyric to help his point. He pulls some DJ Premier shit with how well that sample fit in.

#7: Shaq Diesel (The Album)
Yes, Shaq has a rap album out. No, it isn’t the only one he made. And no, this album isn’t all bad. Yeah, as much of an easy target as Shaq no doubt makes, with his almost cartoonishly wack lyrics, there is a surprising amount to like about this release. That is to say anything to like about it. This is another example of RC’s ability to let an artist’s work stand or fall on its own, despite misconceptions that would no doubt come supplied with the sheer knowledge of the album’s existence; honestly, I really admire that about the guy.

A bit shallow, but I really dig the whole censorship angle this Rap-Libs uses. It follows the standard procedure for the series, that being playing mad-libs with his Twitter followers to make humourous re-writes to the lyrics, and the added flavor that comes with it apparently being done to try and sanitize gangsta rap (with RC in character, of course) and the conclusion the character comes to is a little too accurate in how it shows modern-day attitudes when it comes to hip-hop.

#5: WLIEH: August 2015
There will always be that moment when you regularly spend time breaking down and analyzing certain media and you notice the same problems keep coming up over and over again. It’s momentary, but that there’s a sudden sharp sensation that comes with the realization that, despite how long you may have spent looking at said media, no-one is listening. It’s a pretty disheartening thought to have and, while I have made peace with the fact that indeed no-one important gives a shit what an uneducated suburban kid from Sydney thinks about their movie, there are still times when that thought will crop up. Needless to say, seeing RC go through that same realization is kind of depressing… but in a good way, if that makes any sense, in that there is legitimate emotion behind said depression.

#4: Every Girl
While everyone else was mesmerized at the hardcore mangling of similes Gudda Gudda pulled off in Bedrock, RC chose this single from the same album to start off his look at the Young Money camp. His riffs on the ever-reliable ramblings of Lil Wayne and Drake are in top form, but his reaction to a particularly questionable punchline from Drake might be the strongest reason why this video is so high on the list. Just the way he channels “Son, I am disappoint” and amplifies it exponentially only seems to get funnier the more times I see it.

#3: We Dem Boyz
This song was nominated for a Grammy award. No, I am not kidding; I only wish I was. That little tidbit makes his honest questioning of the lyrics, the inanely repetitive chorus and just the general appeal of the song itself hit that much harder because, quite frankly, these are questions that need to be asked if this is what can make to the awards circuit nowadays. Yeah, I still maintain that the Grammys, much like the Oscars, don’t ultimately matter but that doesn’t change how brain-numbing that decision was to nominate it.

#2: Top 6 Most Gut Wrenching Eminem Songs

This is a difficult video to talk about when it comes to why it’s so damn good, because a lot of it involves a running joke that I genuinely don’t want to spoil. It’s one of RC’s Halloween specials where he discusses songs in the character of Black Thunder, the ghost of Isaac Hayes. That on its own is kind of awesome, but it’s the context in which he explains why the songs in question are as effective as they are. I’ll just leave it at what Eminem originally set out to be, and what Black Thunder himself is trying to representing, and how that thing may be scarier than the world may think.

#1: Picasso Baby

Yeah, another Oancitizen collaboration ranks high up on my list; big whoop. Actually, for a change, it isn’t strictly Kyle’s contribution to the video that makes it work so well. Sure, his information about performance art and the history of Marina Abramovic gives some decent context to the video for the song in question, but it’s the Rap Critic who makes this thing good at the end of the day. This is a moment where his cutting down of bad lyrics crystalizes into something better when he actively does a freestyle on the beat for Picasso Baby and does a fantastic job, spitting a verse full of high art references and some damn good punchlines. I mentioned earlier how Jay-Z is frequently brought up on wack lyrical charges, and this is the high point of that thread where he ends up besting him on his own song. Hell, one of the big things that probably held me back when re-listening to Starving Artist, Hungry Emcee is that, remembering this, I knew that he was capable of so much more.

And speaking of so much more, next time we’ll be looking at the work of a reviewer who will indeed bring us so much more. So much more gore, tits, Atheism and questioning of one’s own sanity. It says a lot of things about me when this is the reviewer that I have had the most personal contact with.

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