Saturday, May 23, 2009


A tweet I read struck me today: "New GQ didnt catch my eye til I read "The Greatest New Rapper Since Jay-Z" on the cover, flip thru to find its @wale". Now, no shots to Wale at all; I had my issue with his people at one point but that does not take away from the fact that dude is talented, and hilariously funny. What I don't agree with is dubbing people (ANYONE) "THE NEXT ANYTHING" if they have not already established themselves. Look at all that Jay-Z has accomplished. Once again, NO SHOTS to Wale, but how can we say a member of the freshman class just a few months ago is "THE GREATEST NEW RAPPER SINCE JAY-Z". Now, I have said this before and I will say it again. Drake, in my opinion, has the most potential to have the Jay-Z career. I'm not saying "DRAKE IS THE NEXT JAY-Z" or "DRAKE IS THE GREATEST RAPPER OF ALL TIME", but the kid has THE POTENTIAL to be. Wale has THE POTENTIAL to be "THE GREATEST NEW RAPPER SINCE JAY-Z", but so do a lot of other rappers. Look at Kanye, many people used to say that Kanye is going to be the next Jay-Z, but now Kanye is the first Kanye. Everyone is comparing Drake to Kanye saying that Drake is "THE NEXT KANYE" yet Drake has been singing/rapping and having that (don't kill me for using this word) "swag" years before Kanye even decided to experiment with auto-tune. I know that it has to be an honor for someone like Wale to be crowned "THE GREATEST NEW RAPPER SINCE JAY-Z", but that is such a loaded statement from a well respected publication. I think artists need to strive to be the first them instead of the next anybody. I feel bad for Asher Roth. Just because dude is white and can rap, does not mean that he wants to be "THE NEXT EMINEM", he wants to be "THE FIRST ASHER ROTH". Every single solitary interview he does, at least 3 or 4 minutes is spent on the Eminem comparison instead of something else that could be a lot more interesting. We don't even have to talk about rap for these "THE NEXT ANYBODY" statements. Everyone is calling Lebron James "THE NEXT MICHAEL JORDAN", but he is NOT "THE NEXT MICHAEL JORDAN" he is the FIRST Lebron James. 

When a rapper becomes popular and is dubbed "THE NEXT _______" everyone starts to pay attention to only the similarities instead of the differences. Lets take the Drake/Kanye example. I have known Drake for many years, way before his (well deserved) new found music industry takeover began. Drake funded his music career using the money he made from his various acting gigs. Drake does not make beats. Drake does not have his own clothing line. But Drake sings/raps and has a blog that features fashion styles he likes so he is automatically "THE NEXT KANYE" instead of "THE FIRST DRAKE". Did Kanye take over the #1 music market in the United States a little bit more than a month after his FIRST BIG mixtape (I know this is Drake's 3rd mixtape that he has released but this is the first mixtape that the general music population has really been drawn too so thats why i dub it his first BIG one)? NO. Did Kanye sell out shows all over the country just off of a mixtape? NO. But once again, these differences get lost in the few comparisons and now everyone automatically classifies Drake as "THE NEXT KANYE WEST" so anything Drake does that deviates from fitting under that classification will now be seen as out of place or awkward. Fun Fact ladies and gentlemen, Drakes first album will sound nothing like his mixtape that dubbed him "THE NEXT KANYE WEST". The reason why I picked Drake was because I know more about him than I know about the other "NEXT GREATEST ARTISTS", but you get my point? I hate how we classify people. Classifying people puts them in a category and each category has both good and bad connotations and stigmas to go with it. Don't get me wrong, I am sure Drake and Asher Roth are elated that people are saying they are "THE NEXT KANYE AND EMINEM" and Lebron James is just as happy being called "THE NEXT MICHAEL JORDAN" (because of all the amazing things Jay, Em, and Mike Jordan have done in their careers), but lets not give new talent unrealistic expectations so early in their career. Everybody is different and that is what makes them great, so lets stop comparing everybody and start embracing ones individuality. 

I know that I shifted away from the topic that I started out with, so lets get back to Wale. What gives GQ the power to dub Wale as "THE GREATEST NEW RAPPER SINCE JAY-Z". Wale has not dropped an album, and has only one official single (Nike Boots was a buzz record). What gives people the right to say Drake is "THE NEXT KANYE WEST" when Drake has yet to even release an album? It just does not make sense to classify these young guns so early in their career before they prove themselves as lasting contributers of hiphop and hiphop culture. Both of these artists and many other artists (like Lady Gaga who people swear will be the next Madonna, even though Britney and Christina were both called that in their beginnings) have the POTENTIAL to be phenomenal superstars and extremely successful, but we have to let everyone prove themselves before we go ahead and give them these titles, if we must give titles. 

You do not have to agree with anything that I am saying but this is The Maguire blog, my outlet to express my thoughts and opinions. I understand the Wale comment was GQ's thought and opinion, but I only wish they would stay away from such LOADED statements as "THE GREATEST NEW RAPPER SINCE JAY-Z", because there are many ways to compliment Wale and Wale's music than to dub him the next greatest rapper. 


True story. I think first and foremost, we need to recognize that GQ has no right to crown anyone in hip-hop the next anything. No disrespect to GQ but making such a classification of any hip-hop artist is outside of their scope of expertise (and this is me saying that without reading exactly the source of the comment in GQ...) I hear your point of dubbing anyone the next this or that, and I agree ... The case with Asher Roth and Drake ... I honestly think they are much different artists than those they are being compared to. I think saying "the next (insert name)" sells magazines and creates buzz.