There is no fence-riding in hip-hop. It is the most competitive genre of music, partly because of the way it formed and partly because it remains the newest major movement. So there is no shortage of hatred going around.
But sometimes, someone does something so heinous they transcend artistic disagreement. Just such a thing recently happened, and in this man's honor, we present the ten most hated people in hip-hop. Some of this list's entrants are merely annoying and some are antagonistic people, but only one allegedly impersonated his dying bandmate in order to steal his royalty checks. This one goes out to you, Solar.
10. Lil' Wayne There's a heavy-weighs-the-crown element to the mass hatred, i.e. if you sell a million copies of your album in a week, the opinions will be loud and fervent on both sides. But there are plenty of other ways Wayne has earned the ire of so many: Braggadocio is part of the deal, but this guy recorded a song called "Best Rapper Alive" before anyone could have possibly believed it. And then there's the rock album, further proof that he just does whatever he wants, logic be damned.
9. 50 Cent Did you know 50 Cent is among the top five richest men in hip-hop? It seems shocking given the downhill slope that is both his rapping and record executive career. And no one except maybe his mentor Eminem picks more fights with his peers (see: above).
8. Eazy-E By and large, this list represents today's most hated hip-hoppers, but some people just transcend. Eazy-E is the poster boy for thug rappers. This guy is a big reason your mom is uncomfortable with rap. You can make a credible case that he broke up N.W.A. by allegedly stealing money from the group. Dr. Dre, as you can see, didn't take it too well.
7. Vanilla Ice We are pretty much of the opinion that Vanilla Ice is harmless, but you cannot Google "most hated rapper" without getting a thousand nominations for this guy. Really, "Ice Ice Baby" represents corporate interests trumping good music, but in hindsight it looks a lot like Robert Van Winkle was as much a victim as anything.
6. Eminem Eminem built his persona around being hated, lashing out at other rappers, society, you, whoever was within earshot. Especially early in his career, the whole idea was to act as a mirror for everything we hate about the world. He's calmed down considerably lately, and you can sense the tension waning. But even today, this dude comes out kicking.
5. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em The ringtone rapper incarnate. Thanks for causing thousands of kids to do a dance centered around a disgusting sex act.
4. Kanye West Rap heads hate him because he's soft, and everyone else hates him because he's annoying. In this case, the editorial "we" won't work because I'm the only Kanye sympathizer writing regularly for this here blog, but all this peripheral stuff seems pretty harmless to me. Would you even know Taylor Swift had won a VMA if it weren't for Kanye? His next album is going to be called Good Ass Job, which is unlikely to change people's opinion.
3. Ja Rule Homophobia is something the rap world is only just now starting to get over, and Ja Rule, fair or not, is pegged as especially intolerant. His rapping career, meanwhile, is much more defined by the people he's pissed off than anything he's actually done.
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2. Suge Knight Did he have anything to do with the shooting of Tupac? Probably not, but don't tell the conspiracy theorists: This is a man who gets knocked out in front of a night club, and YouTube practically throws a national holiday. And even if you don't buy the Tupac thing, Suge's not exactly Santa Clause. Not just anyone can go on a talk show and have the laughs come from being a terrifying disaster-rod.
1. Solar In case you haven't been following the story, Solar is an evil, evil man. You can get the full rap sheet from this handy run-down. But the basic gist is that, while his former partner Guru was dying, Solar was allegedly doing everything from discouraging him from getting treatment to setting up a fake charity in Guru's name and taking the money. When someone hacked Solar's email account (and Twitter and myspace), it became clear that whatever bad things we thought he might be doing, he was doing. And then some. The silver lining (and it is a thin lining indeed) is that Guru is finally getting the credit and adulation he so richly deserves.