"In 1991, great rappers were a dime a dozen, good ones weren’t good enough to compete, and sucky ones made hits. But what about rappers who weren’t skilled, but immensely entertaining? Twenty years later, 'personality rap' pays the bills and that term usually applies to the majority of likable rappers that can’t really rap worth a shit (insert just about any current acclaimed rapper here). Tim Dog got points for being both bold and the poster child for Mayor David Dinkins-era NYC – an NYC overrun with robberies, racially-charged fights, and hair-trigger violence – but most people back then said the same thing with regard to his skill level: [...]
In a victory for subjectivism, the rap music magazine The Source and mostly-rock music website Pitchfork have both awarded Texas rap legend Bun B's new album Trill O.G. a quantitative rating of 5 in their record review sections. But the two ratings mean very different things, as a 5 is The Source's highest rating, while Pitchfork's scale goes up to 10.
"I rarely interacted with Mr. Scott at The Source until November 2004, when I wrote a cover story on his friend, the rapper Ja Rule. I thought I’d written a fair piece, despite the fact that Ja Rule, like The Source, was feuding with 50 Cent. I was wrong. On the Monday morning after publication, Ms. Osorio told me that Mr. Scott was furious about the story and I was going be fired. Mr. Mays and Mr. Scott met with the editorial staff that afternoon in Mr. Mays’s office. The meeting quickly turned into an inquisition on the cover story, and Mr. Scott asked if I was a fan [...]
"A few weeks after the issue was on the stands the phone woke me up at home on a Sunday morning with news that Biggie had been killed. I guess everyone remembers where they were when they found out. I turned on MTV, and watched the news coverage as his words—the ones about wanting to move past controversies, live a slower life, and show the world how he’d grown as a person—were repeatedly quoted from the story. It was all so surreal and senseless. I’ll never profess to have known Christopher Wallace, I just interviewed him for a magazine. But I think what I wrote captures things he felt [...]