Not everyone can have a glittering career like Eminem and become a global superstar. Everyone’s destiny is different, and some people, unfortunately, don’t get the credit their talent deserves.
The music industry isn’t a meritocracy, and being extraordinary at your craft doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be adequately rewarded. A lot of those who rise to the top don’t deserve to be there, and a series of fortunate events is why they are where they are.
Many rappers get their moment in the sun and briefly stay at the top of the mountain, but it takes a true generational talent like Eminem to be parked there for decades. He’s seen many artists get hyped up, disappear into obscurity and recieve undeserving praise. Meanwhile, his friend KXNG Crooked has largely slipped under the radar.
Eminem named him the most underrated rapper in a Q&A back in 2020, and while Crooked is respected in the rap game, he hasn’t become a mainstream star like his peers have.
The Long Beach rapper was famously a member of Slaughterhouse with the likes of Joe Budden and Royce da 5’9, but his solo career never reached the same heights as his bandmates.
For Eminem, Crooked could have gone right to the top, and while he’s still carved out an impressive career which has spanned decades — he easily could have gone even further.
Crooked’s Hip Hop Weekly series was pioneering, and by releasing a new track every week, he showed there was a different way to navigate the industry. Now, it’s become common for artists to share music this way, and Crooked was the one who showed it was possible.
In recent years, he’s worked closely with Eminem and also defended him against criticism. He said: “I think there was a narrative that flew around a couple of years ago, saying Eminem was not part of the culture and he being a fan of the culture because of white privilege. Basically all these type of things and it became a trend to downplay his status in hip-hop.”
Crooked added: “But he’s a student of the game. He got more hip-hop knowledge than average motherfker walking around the streets. He’s a motherfking lyrical genius. He put the words together in the robotic form. He knows how to do this st because he studied the fk out of this s**t.”
Listen to the pair’s collaboration ‘I Will’ below.