This year, hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary with a slew of concerts from iconic artists such as LL Cool J, Melle Mel and Public Enemy — however, many question whether the culture can produce artists of that calibre today. Although the modern rap sounds utterly different to how it did in the 1970s, many say it’s merely evolution.
Unfortunately, on the contrary, droves of people have called contemporary rap an example of devolution. Streaming services such as Spotify and platforms such as YouTube have shifted the culture significantly and fractured it in many ways. Through YouTube, fans are looking more than they are listening. As such, aesthetics are becoming paramount.
Furthermore, Spotify’s algorithm incentivises artists to release short singles that fans replay to drive sales artificially. All this and more has led to a decline in the value of the album and rap music as a whole.
Several gimmicky artists have arisen over the years, and many emcees have been pushed through for their personality and entertainment value. However, concerning albums within the last ten years, there have been some incredible and some terrible. Below, you can see our picks for the five worst hip-hop albums.
The 5 worst hip-hop albums of all time:
5. Teenage Emotions – Lil Yachty
Lil Yachty is hugely hit-and-miss with his music. Although he is an endearing character away from his music, Teenage Emotions was a wreck of a debut. The infuriating thing about the project was that the Atlanta artist delivered better mixtapes before its release. As such, the official body of work was inferior to what fans had already heard.
Like many SoundCloud rappers, Lil Yachty is polarising. Many love tracks such as ‘Poland’ while others say it’s not real hip-hop. The musician (real name Miles McCollum) has good and bad songs, but it is safe to say Teenage Emotions was underwhelming.
4. Eternal Atake – Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert is somewhat controversial in hip-hop and is a highly polarising figure. Although Lil Uzi Vert may not be the most lyrical rapper in the world, there is no denying that he has been one of the most popular and relevant rappers for quite a while now.
His music is dividing. People can appreciate that he is experimental, but Lil Uzi Vert (real name Symere Woods) has blurred the lines between experimental and crap. However, Eternal Atake was undeniably poor. The beats were muddy and poorly mixed. The autotune was overkill, and it resulted in a somewhat nasally voice engulfed in bass.
Furthermore, the cryptic artwork posts which eluded to the Heaven’s Gate extraterrestrial cult and the official space-age album cover meant nothing as the album was not conceptual and mainly surrounded sex, cars and money, so delivered nothing it promised.
3. Famous Cryp – Blueface
When Blueface first emerged in 2017, he was more of a local phenomenon in Los Angeles. However, after releasing his 2018 album Famous Cryp, he became ubiquitous. However, he was viral. His track ‘Thotiana’ became extremely popular on TikTok and, as such, was streamed a lot.
Unfortunately for Blueface, nobody to this day can name a song from his debut project because it is disposable and just happened to boast a social media-friendly track. ‘Thotiana’ did the social media rounds for about six months between September 2018 and March 2019.
Following this, we never heard music from Blueface again. Instead, we merely heard online gossip and social media feuds concerning him and his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Chrisean Rock. That is still the case, and there is a reason nobody gravitated towards his other music.
2. 15 – Bhad Babie
Bhad Bhabie’s rise to fame proved what many already knew, which was that the music industry was in a dire state and had no respect in the slightest for hip-hop or people with actual talent, for that matter. Before taking on the stage name Bhad Bhabie, many knew the artist as Danielle Bregoli or the ‘Cash Me Outside Girl.’ The latter was due to a television appearance she made.
Since her appearance on Dr Phil in 2016, when she called the audience “a bunch of h*es” and embodied the potty-mouthed problem child, Bhad Babie has continued to release hip-hop music that is polluting the culture and the stream of music rap-lovers are receiving. Labels are paying for Bregoli to appear on curated playlists, and she is still getting booked for shows.
It is safe to say that her debut album, 15, shows what most already knew. That being that she cannot rap perpetuates the Redneck stereotype and is truly ignorant when it comes to her views and lyrics. The body of work is disgraceful.
1. Total Xanarchy – Lil Xan
Lil Xan is undoubtedly a disgrace to hip-hop and was the worst emcee of all time. His name references the drug Xanax, a benzodiazepine prescription drug used to treat anxiety, which rappers often abuse as a sedative. As such, it is unsurprising that the California rapper was, quite literally, a drug addict who got face tattoos and happened to become famous.
His debut album, Total Xanarchy, was when fans realised they were actually listening to a drug addict. Not only were the beats poorly mixed and muddy, but the lyrics were nonsensical, and he was slurring and mumbling. The album didn’t flow in any sense of the word, and its arrangement was not thought out.
The musician (real name Diego Leanos) appeared on the No Jumper podcast earlier this year and admitted that he looked back on that album as a stain on his name and unveiled, “It was just mismanaged, bad engineers on it, bad communications and mental instability put together and obviously it wasn’t well-received.”
Despite the fact that he has been rehabilitated and is apparently back and sober, this album alone has sealed his fate as a successful rapper, and no self-respecting fan of hip-hop will be listening to his music anytime soon.