Five Rappers Fans Love That Critics Can't Stand

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Mac Miller

By Marcus Arman

Not all rappers need critical adoration to achieve commercial success. Some use negative reviews as motivation, others dismiss them as hate, and a few of them probably don't know what constitutes a review. But it's commendable anytime an artist reaches some level of success. In fact, some of the most popular artists of past and current generations have been critical dwarves. Consider this an ode to the artists who are often the butt of rap-snob jokes. Here's our list of the top five critic-proof rappers.

See also: Action Bronson on Mac Miller, Oxtail, and Why You Won't Ever See Him Wearing A Skirt


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Radio Hits One: Flo Rida's Accidental Posthumous Tribute To Etta James

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The late Etta James remained an active recording artist right up to the end, releasing her final album, The Dreamer, just two months before her death on January 20. But she hadn't been on a Billboard singles chart since the '70s, when a cover of Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" from her 1978 comeback album Deep In The Night grazed the R&B chart at No. 93. So it feels remarkable, if not astronomically coincidental, that the biggest chart hit to feature James's voice peaked on the Hot 100 the week of her death.

Last year, Swedish dance music producer Avicii sampled a few a cappella patches of James's performance on the 1962 single "Something's Got A Hold On Me," which peaked at No. 4 on the R&B charts and No. 37 on the Hot 100 almost a full half century earlier. The resulting track, "Levels," topped the charts in several European countries, including Avicii's homeland. And soon enough, Avicii was in the studio with the King Midas of American pop radio, Dr. Luke, co-producing a single for Miami rapper Flo Rida based largely on "Levels" and its central sample. "Good Feeling" had been lurking in or just outside the U.S. top 10 for the last couple months of 2010, and had reached a peak of No. 3 the week Etta James passed away (it stayed there the week after, and dropped to No. 4 last week). Meanwhile "Levels" has enjoyed its own parallel Stateside success, topping the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and reaching No. 62 on the Hot 100.

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The Ballad of 2010: A Journey Through the Insipid Year That Was

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As previously noted, the pop-house that dominated the charts in 2010 was really fucking insipid. So to see this boneheaded year off, here's an anti-poetic tribute comprised of over 30 hits, misses, and album cuts that came out (or flourished) this year about going to the club, taking shots, dancing, and generally being as mindless as possible. If things continue on like this, you may not have to use your brain whatsoever in 2011. Fingers crossed! (Click on the line for its source track.)

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