Blogger's Circle: The Internets React To VIBE's Greatest Rapper Alive (Under 30!) Rankings

Lists are innately designed for debate. Especially hip-hop lists. Last week VIBE said eff it and debuted one we knew from jump would get opinions flickering—The Greatest Rapper Alive (Under 30!). So far our top fiver, J. Cole has A'Ok'd the inclusions, but not everyone's dapping the final cut. Peep what some of the web's most important hip-hop bloggers had to say. Don't worry our skin's Nigerian tough!

"If this is the 'Best Rapper Alive, Under 30' crop, then hip-hop is in trouble. While some on the list are straight spitters and I co-sign, a bulk on here are just what's 'hot now' and not people I can put my faith in right now, much less the future. They hardly have the catalog to be considered a good rapper. The OG's need to step it up and coach these youngn's because this is who they're passing the torch to. Someone send an S.O.S. for the next generation of hip-hop. Code red. Big L, Biggie and 2pac are probably rolling in their graves as we speak."

"About 3 of these artists can be mentioned in the same sentence as GREAT. That's not a knock against anyone's skill set because they're always room to grow. But other than the 3 I'm eyeing, great is a bit of a stretch for these names right now. Top 30 Under 30 suits this list a bit better [because] what's the basis of the list? Albums? Media coverage? Grassroots campaign? Why the fuck is Lil B even on this list? 

Its pretty unfair to even put Wayne in this group because of the machine that's already behind him. Mixtapes are cool, but unless you got albums and yes i used in the plural context, this list will always be fucked. Wayne has HOW many albums? Plus mixtapes? Plus features? Plus unreleased material? But that's what im saying, Wayne has the jump. Its no contest. Which is why I think he should be excluded.

And I don't know, some of these rappers are inconsistent: Cassidy, Juelz, Young Chris, Soulja Boy. Another handful isn't experienced enough: Meek Mill, Freddie Gibbs, Vado, Diggy, Tyler and others are there because of that name they have backing them, which isn't a bad thing either. I have too many side eyes a this list. Im going to remove myself from the discussion because I know I'm going to offend someone and everyone is just TOOOOOOOOO damn sensitive nowadays."  

"I don't really got beef with the selections execpt for Lil B and Soulja Boy. The only lists these two should to be on are Schindler's. They should be excluded. Although their names are more recognizable, Its almost insulting for them to be listed higher than rappers like Freddie Gibbs or Nipsey Hussle. As far as Lil Wayne over Lupe, I'm all for it. Weezys still spitting hard these days."

"Alright, before I begin, I want to make it clear that I'm presuming this to be an Under 30 list for the "The Greatest Rapper Alive" and not "The Hottest Rapper In The Game." Moving on, I have some major issues with this list.

1. I understand that Bow Wow hasn't really caught the attention of Hip-Hop lovers since past couple of years but how are you placing a rapper with 3 Platinum and 2 Gold albums on the same position as someone like Diggy Simmons? Plain wrong! And while I'm defending Bow Wow, I also strongly object to placing someone like Lil B 11 positions better than him.

2. Did you just put Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T. & Naledge over Juelz Santana? I always believe that the whole process of releasing a studio album(s) & being successful with it translates to a huge feather in the cap and none of the above named rappers have accomplished that more than Juelz.

3. Although I have great praise for J. Cole, I would not put him as high as No.5 for the above mentioned similar reasons. Let us please not get over hyped and at least wait for his debut LP. There's a huge difference of fan following and sales between Nicki and J. Cole so the two being placed at only 1 position apart (4 & 5) doesn't make sense to me one bit.

4. No offence, I have equal love for both but Cory at 13 and Asher Roth at 22? On what basis? Cash Money Records is a better label than Schoolboy/SRC?

5. Where the hell is Black Milk? Last time I checked, he was 27."

"Part of me disagrees with furthering the idea of a generational gap in rap, even though I understand the purpose here. Other than that, most of these guys should earn stripes before any accolades, especially considering most haven't dropped an album or "street album" (aka mixtape) whose buzz lasted over a month. Hell, people forgot the release before the file expired on the filesharing site it originated from. I'll act like I didn't even see the has-been's (Banks, Bow Wow, Cassidy) who got listed. The top 4 can't be argued against, even though I'd have to swap B.o.B (#6) for Cole (#5).  Dom and Gibbs should've cracked that top 10 too, but that could be bias peeking through my pen." 

"Bow Wow being tied with Diggy Simmons is crazy. Bow Wow practically invented kiddie bop thug life and even though he hasn't managed to stay as relevant now, don't think he should be in the same sentence as a new artist with no hits.

Waka Flaka Flame should be higher, he doesn't have stand out lyrics, but lyrics don't pay the bills.  And how's he going to go hard in the paint from way out there?

Soulja Boy being tied with Lil B is very appropriate, thought Lil B was Soulja Boy's new moniker when I first heard him.

If we're just talking about putting together words that rhyme and incredible metaphors and wordplay, Cassidy has to be higher on this list.  Now if we're talking about making hit songs consistently that's another thing.

Wiz Khalifa is so overrated, surprised he's not #1 on this list.  But he has the best looking girlfriend!

J. Cole above Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana, no way J.ose!

Even though they share love for a similar style of punchline rap, Nicki Minaj may actually be more relevant than Drake right now. Before seeing who the #1 pick was would have definitely have given them the top two spots.

Lil Wayne has put in so much work I wouldn't consider him in the same league as 80% of these guys. Weezy First Baby."

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Signage is seen at the 2020 Billboard Power List Event at NeueHouse Hollywood on January 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Billboard’s 2020 Power List Event Pins Leadership As The Music Industry’s Most Lucrative Tool

The start of a new decade inspired a change of plans for Billboard’s annual Power List. In previous years, the publication ranked 100 music industry professionals for their strides in the business by creating strategies that have propelled artists to the top of the charts and proved that the senior practices of the business can sometimes benefit from a fresh makeover. For 2020’s edition, the brand opted to not rank those chosen professionals but instead gathered and produced a list of honorees including Lyor Cohen (YouTube’s Global Head of Music), Roc Nation’s Jay-Z (Chairman), Desiree Perez (CEO), and Jay Brown (Vice Chairman) to Quality Control’s CEO Pierre “P” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee.

To a resounding applause inside the event’s NeueHouse location on a balmy Thursday evening (Jan. 23) in Los Angeles, Hannah Karp, Editorial Director of Billboard Media Group, explained the reason for the change and the company’s hope that next year will produce another list of futuristic innovators. “For one thing it’s always been hard to compare the power of executives in different sectors,” Karp said. “We also wanted to inspire a new generation of music business executives that honor leadership instead of just leverage.”

The first award of the night, which was named in honor of Jay Frank, a beloved music industry veteran who worked as senior vice president at Universal Music Group (UMG) before he passed away from cancer in 2019, was given to Mitchell Shymanskly, vice president of data and analytics at UMG, for his strides in digital music leadership.

“Jay was a visionary in our field, he saw things differently which is the true definition of an innovator,” he said. “He was looking constantly for an edge and it was a great privilege of mine to have the opportunity to work alongside him.” Shymanskly learned the mantra, “We don’t succeed alone.” That quote was echoed by Columbia Records chairman/CEO Ron Perry, who received the Breakthrough Award. He gave praise to his team for their work and success, especially after a year of witnessing Lil Nas X’s breakneck speed to pop stardom.

While future pioneers both in front and behind the mic filled the room, a living legend who helped shape some of music’s most fortified models also made a special guest appearance. The Clive Davis Visionary Award was presented to Atlantic Records’ Craig Kallman (CEO) and Julie Greenwald (COO) by the man himself, Clive Davis.

Greenwald shared the duo’s singular vision that allows Atlantic Records the ability to remain one of the music industry's pillars of success. “Build and maintain a music company that we love, we surrounded ourselves with an extraordinary team of people and then we signed artists that both Ahmet and Lyor would truly be proud of,” Greenwald said. For women in the music industry, being able to take that stage and receive these awards was a major feat for Jody Gerson, UMG’s CEO, who received the Executive of the Year award. The Executive of the Decade award was given to UMG's chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. “To me, what is most meaningful is that this is a recognition without qualifications,” she said. “I am being honored not as a female executive, but as an executive. It is my hope that this award will help pave the road for more exceptional and diverse leaders to come. We all deserve to be judged for our merits regardless of who you are or how you identify.”

Gerson also sits on the board of directors for She Is The Music (SITM), a program that promotes inclusivity in the music industry. Gerson revealed that UMG will donate $50,000 to the organization, which aims to provide resources for gender diversity in songwriting, producing, executive positions and more. In 2018, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative conducted a study on the lack of women representation in the music sector. The research, which was published in 2018, concluded that for the year of 2017 out of 651 producers only two percent were women while men dominated at 98 percent. In the songwriting world, out of 2,767 credited songwriters, 12.3 percent were women while 87.7 percent were men.

Now, with new sights and plans set to change the makeup of the industry, Gerson reiterated that there's no better time than the present to implement new practices. “The moment of change is here.”

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Allen Berezovsky

Lauren London Debuts The Marathon Clothing x Puma Collection

The Marathon Clothing and PUMA are teaming up once again. The brands will be collaborating in honor of the late Nipsey Hussle. His wife, Lauren London, debuted the Marathon Clothing x Puma’s “Hussle and Motivate” collection on social media on Thursday (Jan. 23).

London is featured in the line's campaign shoot with Hussle's close friends, YG, J. Stone, and Pacman Da Gunman. Per a press release: "After first releasing in September 2019, PUMA will re-issue key pieces from the collection for fans and supporters including co-branded tracksuits and t-shirts featuring checkered patterns and TMC motifs, as well as PUMA’s signature California sneakers in black and white iterations."


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A post shared by Lauren London (@laurenlondon) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:56pm PST

Another image from the clothing collaboration shows London wearing a white sweatshirt with a message that reads, “We (The Marathon Clothing) honor the unwavering faith of those that never quit. Our products represent their testimony. Life is a marathon.”

A portion of the net proceeds from PUMA’s sales of the PUMA x TMC Collection will go directly to the Neighborhood “Nip” Foundation. Beginning February 1st, the collection will be available again in select retailers and on PUMA's official website.


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A post shared by Lauren London (@laurenlondon) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:58pm PST

London previously linked with Puma for a viral video campaign paying tribute to her longtime love. Hustle, whose Victory Lap recently went platinum, will be celebrated at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards with a tribute featuring YG, Roddy Ricch, Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, and John Legend.

The 2020 Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Lil Wayne performs at the 2019 Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park on August 09, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
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Lil Wayne Reveals Release Date For ‘Funeral’ Album

Four years after initially announcing the project, Lil Wayne took to Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 23) to reveal that his  Funeral album will drop next week.

“Welcome to the funeral, closed casket as usual,” Tunechi says in the album teaser. The Grammy winner also tweeted a link for fans to pre-order physical and digital copies of the album as a CD, vinyl or “digital cassette.” The online shop features album merchandise, including long-sleeved shirts, hoodies and beanies.

In a recent interview with VIBE, Lil Wayne said that even though his recording process has drastically changed since his prolific mixtape days, he still finds enjoyment in going to the studio to create.

“I love the difficulty of trying to fit in with what’s going on today, making sure I sound likable to the ears today and having to remind myself that it’s not about what it was back then. Going to the studio now, for me, is awesome. I used to go to that muf***a and do 12 songs a night. Cut a beat on, I’m going to go and you let me know when to stop,” Wayne said.

“...I can’t wait to get in the studio now every night, just to see what I can come up with. [Before] it was just me going to the studio and saying, let me kill ten more songs and then I’m going to go home or do whatever I was doing. Now, it’s let me see what I come up with. Self-discovery, rebirth – call it whatever you want to call it but it feels awesome, I swear to God.”

The New Orleans native’s last studio LP, Tha Carter V, dropped in 2018 after years of delays. In 2019, the 37-year-old rapper embarked on a joint summer tour with Blink-182, but the jaunt was marred by difficulty as Wayne walked off stage during one show and threatened to quit. He changed his mind hours later.

Even with all the tour trouble, Blink-182 had nothing but good things to say about Weezy. “The one day where he walked off stage, he had said, ‘I just felt like they didn’t like me,’ so he walked off stage,” drummer Travis Barker explained in an interview last year.

Funeral drops on Jan. 31. Check out the album teaser below.

1/31 https://t.co/7VtPC39vT6 pic.twitter.com/FQrLNA8ptn

— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) January 23, 2020

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