Not just the name of one of my favorite band’s that is a band and sometimes a man, the 80s were a time of feast or famine. The decade birthed quite a few members of the hip-hop community. I decided to review MCs born and their contributions to the culture. Let’s begin at the beginning.
80-1980 gave birth to a range of talent from Joe Budden, T.I., Gucci Mane, Remy Ma, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, and Gorilla Zoe. Honorable mention to Chingy who was listed as a musician in the list I used for reference. Not a bad sample. More than half of that list is for certain live their lives as artist. A couple may be working straight jobs or remixing their hit(s) for local furniture store jingles. No judgment. As long as it pays. Gucci will be out around September. Remy just came home a year or so ago. Not bad 1980!
81-this year graced us with Yo Gotti, Young Buck, Lil’ Flip, Mike Jones, and Pitbull. See what a difference a year makes? Now I found it interesting that Pitbull was listed as a rapper but Chingy a musician. I know where Pitbull started but he definitely makes World Music. Again no judgment because he is the “most successful” by “normal” standards. Gotti’s reaping the years of hard work he’s put into his music career. It’s nice to see. If you’re living a life as an artist and it sustains you. You’re ahead of the game.
82-we get a rebound from last year to this year. 82 brings us Lloyd Banks, Lupe Fiasco, Juelz Santana, and Lil Wayne. Based on Wayne alone 82 might get the top spot thus far. Everyone in this group is admittedly talented. Yes, some stars shine brighter than others but take that up with management.
83-it’s like a roller coaster! Rich Boy, Cassidy, Yung Joc, and Little Boosie. Now clearly Lil Boosie is carrying the load but Cassidy is working the battle rap market and I think he’s moderately successful. Possibly very successful. I didn’t feel like using my googles. Sorry guys. And listen, Rich Boy could be ghostwriting and be cashing checks everyday. So no one should feel any kinda way. I just don’t know what’s he’s doing. That does not mean he’s not doing anything. And if I’m not mistaken Joc is starring in a telenovela.
84-small class here. Kid Cudi, Lil Scrappy, French Montana, and Nicki Minaj (listed as a musician) much like every best female rap category she’s nominated in its always a gimmie. Cudi is cool I like Cudi. I appreciate his desire to go off the beaten path. French is cool with me I appreciate what he brings to a song. And Scrappy…another novela star.
85-Yung Berg, J.Cole, T-Pain, Webbie, and a few other people who I didn’t feel like googling or typing. Clearly Jermaine Cole becomes the first real “star” since Wayne in 82. Yes yes Nicki is a star but she is decidedly and intentionally Pop. And that’s ok. But back to Jermaine, he’s head and shoulders above what came before him.
86-Drake, J-Keon, and Waka Flocka Flame, 1986 crept in and brought us another star Aubrey, the little boy who could.
87-Bow Wow, Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar. Not for nothing, this isn’t a bad submission by 1987. Despite many an accusation that Bow Wow is broke we do not know that, he could be very comfortable. Wiz is surely still cashing black and yellow checks, Meek is, Meek. Lest we forget, K.Dot is the culture’s darling. Thanks 1987!
88-B.O.B. and Big Sean. I’m sure there are more but they haven’t made it to the level of fame to be aggregated in a list. I dug Bob, he’s a great musician, but that “the world is flat” bit is not my taste level. Big Sean seemed like he wouldn’t be able to maintain but here he is semi-thriving.
89-Lil mama, Lil Romeo, Tyga, Hurricane Chris, Rich Homie Quan. Listen, I’m going with the dude that made “Halle Berry.” To each his own.
The 80s brought us a hodgepodge of MCs some we’ve forgotten. Some that will be with us forever. You can see trends formed. The use of “lil” interesting seemed to take hold around 81 and it overstayed. I think if you gloss over the list you can see right when crack became a thing. No judgment guys everyone is valuable!