The Rappers I Have A Strange And Undying Love For.

30 Dec

I’m not exactly a connoisseur of rap music, but there are certain rappers who can do no wrong by me.

Mos Def.
Have you listened to 24 Hour Karate School yet? The chorus incorporates wooshing sounds! It’s amazing! But I’d expect no less from Mos Def. There’s something about his voice that I’m very, very into. Here is a link to a crappy YouTube video that will allow you to partake of the awesome. Go ahead and cue it up. I can wait.

Will Smith.
What can I say, I grew up with the Fresh Prince! I love how wholesome he is. I love how the rudest song he ever recorded was the one about an old lady who caused a car accident. My favourite song, though, is definitely Switch, and here’s why: 1, I like songs that tell me what to do (“It’s a hop and a clap, flip it round…”); and 2, I like a good call-and-response chorus. Plus the video is sort of unintentionally hilarious, which makes it all the more enjoyable. It was clearly recorded at a time when Will Smith thought he had to be “tough” or “street” or some such nonsense, and he’s just… not. I don’t understand why he’s yelling in the first verse, but I like it! I also don’t understand why, during the bridge, he asks her if she’s too cute to dance, or scared. Is the dancing she’s already doing not enough for him? What more do you want, Will Smith??

LL Cool J.
There’s just something deeply charming about LL Cool J, isn’t there? I think it’s the baby face. If you haven’t read I Make My Own Rules, you really ought to. Be sure to get the uncensored version. After you finish, you’ll think it would be enough to make you hate him just a little bit, but you’ll find you just can’t. He’s just too lovable. Sometimes when I’m grumpy, I sing along to this next song while I’m driving. Instant mood lifter.

Jay Z.
Musically speaking, I’m not actually into everything Jay Z does. Perhaps that’s due to the sheer volume of work the man releases in any given year. Regardless, while his music might not always blow me away, I’m absolutely fascinated by him as a person. He’s married to Beyonce. He’s rumoured to be a member of the Illuminati. He has such a deeply commanding presence that honestly, he could be rapping about local gas prices and I’d be rapt with attention. He comes up with lyrics like “bullet wounds will stop your buffoonery.” I’m sure you’re sick of Run This Town, but when’s the last time you sat down to listen to Change Clothes? Yeah, I thought so… you’re welcome!

Snoop Dogg.
I feel like Snoop Dogg’s whole gangsta thing is, in part, an act. I can totally picture him sitting down and having a tea party with his kids. You can tell he has a real sense of humour… remember that bizarre, disco-style video he put out a couple of years ago? You loved it, your 11 year old cousin loved it, and your mom loved it. Your 11 year old cousin probably wasn’t allowed to listen to Drop It Like It’s Hot, but I bet your mom liked that one, too, just like everyone else who ever heard it.

The Neptunes/Pharell/N.E.R.D.
I don’t know the other dude’s name. I can’t even picture what he looks like. Is there a third guy, too? I really don’t know. That’s how into rap/hip hop I am. But I do loves me some Pharell. He seems cheeky, and I appreciate that quality in a person. Remember that Lindsay Lohan cameo in the Everyone Nose video? Come on. That’s awesome. Also awesome is the riff in this old song:

So, even though rap/hip hop/hippety hoppety (as my father calls it) isn’t my preferred genre, I still have immense room in my heart for these particular individuals. Do you have a list of musicians like this, who in your opinion can do no wrong even if their style isn’t your usual “thing”? Do tell.


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