Over-rated Musicians

Caveat to this article: it is uncharacteristically soaked in “Hater-ade.”  When I say these people are overrated, I’m not saying that they are worthless.  I just think that their level of fame is inflated relative to their actual contributions.  And again, I’m typing this from a cubicle, so what the heck do I know?  Just opinions, save your letters and retorts.  

Lil’ Wayne – Lil’ Wayne was signed to Cash Money Records in 1991, when he was 9.  I guess having a Third-Grader on the roster raised the label’s street cred.  Since then his lyrics have almost reached a 4th grade reading level:

“I told her back it up like berp berp/ And make that ass jump like schzerp schzerp.”

It’s a shame too.  He was an honor student at McMain Magnet School, but dropped out a 14 after his music career became more demanding.  Just think: he could have been your accountant!

“Well he has so many hits,” you’ll no doubtedly say.  Yes that’s true.  But Lil’ Wayne has hits the same way Nostradamus has correct predictions.  If you can churn out gargantuan amounts of output, something is bound to be good eventually.  He’s put out countless LP’s, mixtapes and remixes, 99% of which are cough syrup-fueled cacophony.   No one is knocking his work ethic though.  The guy is definitely a beast when it comes to that.

Stevie Ray Vaughn – That’s right white people.  I’m getting you too.  If you’ve heard one Stevie Ray Vaughn song, you’ve heard them all.  The man invented the remix.  Listen to “Texas Flood” then listen to any other SRV song and tell me there aren’t some striking similarities.  I understand that other guitarists like Clapton and BB King held him in high esteem but I just don’t get it.  I’m pretty sure you could go down to you’re local Bar Louie on a Tuesday night and see some guy with a cowboy hat and a tassled vest solo on an A major scale for 20 minutes.

Patti Smith – She’s affectionately referred to as the “God Mother of Punk.”  Which is to say she started a movement that was highly publicized but of little actual consequence.  When the Jonas Brothers smash their guitars on stage after a show, you know Punk is really just another marketing tool.

She had hit songs like “Gloria” originally written by Van Morrison and “Because the Night” originally written by Bruce Springsteen.  She’s often lauded as one of the most creative musicians to date despite her best work coming from the minds of other people.

Also, she was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame before Van Halen, Metallica, John Mellencamp, Madonna, Genisis, Alice Cooper, and Neil Diamond.  Rush hasn’t been inducted at all yet.  So I have a grudge.

Twisted Sister –  They sang “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” which are both great Hair Metal songs.  My issue is with Dee Snider.  He injects himself into every debate about censorship like he’s the only one who was in the battle.  I’m starting to believe that Dee Snider lives in a small cubbyhole above VH1’s studio.  Whenever a producer says, “We should do a show about censorship” he opens his hatch and scurries into the interview chair.   “I stood up for the rights of the artist.  I was the only one to take a stand.”  It’s not like the Gestapo were knocking down his door and threatening to burn his house down.  He was interviewed by Tipper Gore and a bunch of other Washington housewives.  It’s not tough to stand up to someone wearing an emerald broach.

Tupac Shakur –  I don’t know that overrated is the right word here.  His songs affected millions of people and that’s why he’s often lauded as an influential powerhouse.  I should say that the character he created influenced millions of people.  He adopted his thug persona after he saw it was economically viable product to sell to people.  Then he became his own fictional personality.

My main problem is the over-inflated importance his lyrics have in both popular and academic culture.  There are several universities that teach about Tupac’s poetry.  Meanwhile, AE Houseman is saying from his grave, “Uh…does anyone even know who I am anymore?”

From wikipedia:

Shakur’s work is known for advocating political, economic, social and racial equality…

Advocate for economic equality?  Am I wrong, or do I remember him saying in an MTV interview (as he fanned out $100 bills) that Death Row Records was going to have to start printing their own money?

Social equality?  OK I can roll with this one.  I remember that song “Keep Ya Head Up” being very socially relevant.  It was a touching song about the treatment of women in the African-American community and how men need to be respectful and responsible.

Keep Ya Head Up

“And when he tells you you ain’t nuttin don’t believe him.

And if he can’t learn to love you you should leave him

Cause sista you don’t need him.

And I ain’t tryin to gas ya up, I just call em how I see em.

You know it makes me unhappy (what’s that)

When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy.”

The message is so poignant; let’s see if his previous hit song had the same tone:

I Get Around

“Back to get wrecked,

All respect to those who break their neck

To keep their hos in check

‘Cuz, oh, they sweat a brother majorly

And I don’t know why your girl keeps paging me.”

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