2012 Rap Draft
The NFL Draft just flew by. After a countless number of mock drafts, everything went as expected. Andrew Luck went number 1, RG3 went number 2, and Trent Richardson followed at #3. But I was thinking, why should sports bloggers have all the fun with mock drafts? Why can’t hip-hop have a mock draft? Let’s just imagine that every label released every rapper. Then the “national rap league” organized a draft in which labels would re-acquire new talent. Who would be the first pick? Find out what I think after the jump. Before that, take note that this is not a best rapper alive list. Basically, since they’re labels, who are they going to win with the most? Whether they win lyrically, or with record sales. Who’s going to be the best rapper for their label? That’s what this draft is about.
When you think about it, Eminem is a no-brainer. He can sell records, he has a loyal fanbase, and he’s a lyrical……God. To some, he’s the best rapper of all-time. Additionally, everytime he drops an album, or just a mere song, it’s
gold platinum, and the world shakes, just a bit. Hands down, Eminem would be the first pick.
Coming in at #2 would be Jay-Z. Like Em’, Jay is very versatile, lyrical, and he’s very mainstream friendly. He’s a household name with a long trajectory. Excitement surrounds his every release making him very profitable. But, the only reason he’s behind Em’, is because Eminem is a monster when it comes to record sales. Jay-Z is good, but Eminem is on another level.
What? You’re surprised? Look, take your opinion out of the equation, and ask yourself, will a label make money off Drake? Of course. Aubrey has the youth in a trance. Drake has become a household name at the young age of 25. He’s a trendsetter. Whether he’s promoting the YOLO lifestyle or throwing a bar mitzvah, people love to talk about him. Whether he’s wearing batting gloves or dissing Common, people keep talking about him. Buzz has also translated into record sales for Drake. His sophomore album, Take Care, sold about 600,000 in its first week. And because he’s 25, he has a long career ahead of him.
4. Kanye West
Picking Drake over Kanye was a tough decision. Ultimately, I put Drake over Kanye because Drake is younger, and has more potential. Kanye West might be the better rapper, but he’s not always the most popular. Outside of hip-hop, Kanye is a PR mess. Him dating one of the most hated faces in America doesn’t help. Yes, ‘Ye does provide great music, but he’s a ticking time bomb sometimes. His arrogance isn’t very popular with the rest of the culture, and since it’s 2012, labels might need them to buy records. Remember, they’re not fans, they’re label execs. So don’t get your tie up in a bunch. Kanye would be the 4th pick.
5. Nicki Minaj
The fifth pick would be Nicki Minaj. Like it or not, Nicki is the most successful female rapper in history. Who wouldn’t want her? Like Eminem and Jay-Z, Onika is a household name. She’s performed in the Super Bowl, and she’s becoming an influential piece in pop culture. Y.U. Mad?
6. Lil Wayne
A few years back, Wayne might’ve been a top 3 pick, or even the 1st pick, but Rikers Island really changed Wayne. He’s not the same anymore. His punchlines don’t pack the same punch, his sense of fashion is horrible, and he’s starting to become a trend follower instead of a trendsetter. Wayne dressing up like an Odd Future member serves as proof. When Wayne is unique, he wears jeggings, and that hasn’t caught on like he would’ve hoped. A rappers image matters, and Wayne’s image is on a downfall. I hope I’m wrong, but Wayne’s prime has come and gone.
7. Rick Ross
Although Wayne has fallen off a bit, he’s still a lot more popular than a lot of other rappers. Rick Ross is one of those other rappers. When comparing Wayne and Ross, Wayne can still outsell, out-tour, and out-rap Rick Ross. Rozay is a solid 7th pick. Rick Ross’ internet grind is currently unmatched. He can drop a mixtape today, and tomorrow it’ll be all over the streets. His BAWSE image is similarly untouched. Labels would love that. UGH.
8. J. Cole
J. Cole’s Sideline Story didn’t include any chart topping singles. It wasn’t all over MTV, BET, or the radio, yet Cole World: The Sideline Story debuted at #1 with an impressive 218,000 copies sold in its 1st week. Cole also produced the entire album, and received little help from guest features or Jay-Z. Cole did it himself with no help, and that is very impressive of a young artist. Before Cole, many thought that lyricism didn’t have a place in mainstream America. However, in the Fall of 2011, Mr. Cole had the #1 album in America. Cole is good for 8.
9. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is at #9 because of J. Cole. Cole’s Sideline Story proved that lyricists are marketable in mainstream America. But for a lyricist to be profitable, people have to love the man behind the mic. Kendrick’s fans absolutely die for him. Much like Cole’s debut album, Lamar’s album will send shock waves through the industry. Expect big numbers in its first week, and expect labels to take Kendrick Lamar at number 9.
Bobby Ray can do anything. He can craft a top 40 hit, and he can rap, and people will love both. B.o.B is the most versatile artist in hip-hop. Most importantly, he can adapt to any environment and succeed. Every team needs a guy that can play every position.
Who would be your first pick?