Five Rappers Fans Love That Critics Can't Stand

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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100 & Single: The R&B/Hip-Hop Factor In The Music Business's Endless Slump

Usher's Looking 4 Myself, Frank Ocean's Channel Orange, and Chris Brown's wingdinged-out Fortune.
Here are a few recent data points from chart bible Billboard and data provider Nielsen Soundscan as we move into the second half of 2012:

• In its midyear music-industry report card, Soundscan reports a return to the dismal album sales climate; year-to-date disc sales are off 3.2% from the same period in 2011. Last year saw the first annual rise in sales in nearly a decade, with albums eking out a 1.4% gain in 2011 over 2010. In the first six months of 2012, only one album sold more than a million copies, and it didn't come out this year: Adele's 21. Among the Top Five best-sellers for the year so far are a pair of stalwart acts from the 1980s: Lionel Richie, who on Tuskegee reupholstered his old hits as country songs and wound up with the year's second-best seller to date (912,000 copies); and Whitney Houston, who passed away in February, fueling sales for her 2000 disc The Greatest Hits which is now the year's fourth-best seller (818,000 copies).

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Live: Rick Ross And His Crew Pack The Backyard At Alife

Mikey Fresh
Alife Backyard Sessions: Maybach Music Group's Self Made 2 with Rick Ross, Stalley, Wale, O
Tuesday, June 26

Better than: Listening to Funkmaster Flex jock Ross in the pre-performance interview.

Rick Ross and Co. might seem too big for the narrow streets of the Lower East Side—and especially too small for the Alife Rivington Club's backyard—but the Maybach Music Group crew was there last night, resulting in so much pandemonium outside that even "cool people" were forced to wait on line.

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Radio Hits One: Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, And The Era Of The Hit Bonus Track

Superstar pals and Young Money labelmates Lil Wayne and Drake released two of the biggest albums of 2011—Tha Carter IV and Take Care—and both are still spinning off hits well into 2012. But a look at the singles charts reveals something odd: the biggest current hits off both albums aren't available on every copy of the album, but are instead bonus tracks from their deluxe editions. Drake's "The Motto," which features Wayne, currently tops the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and is at No. 19 on the Hot 100 after peaking at No. 16. And Wayne's own "Mirror," featuring Bruno Mars, is Weezy's highest current solo entry on the Hot 100, at No. 68 (it also peaked at No. 16). If you go into one of the few stores still selling CDs today, though, odds are that the versions of Tha Carter IV and Take Care in the racks won't include those current hits.

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Live: Wale Brings Lots And Lots Of Friends To The Highline Ballroom

Highline Ballroom
Wednesday, November 2

Better than: watching next week, when the show will air on MySpace.

The line had packed itself six-deep, turning the long sidewalk from the Highline Ballroom to Ninth Avenue into a traffic jam of Wale fans. Or maybe just fans of events. Or maybe sheep. (Free tickets can be persuasive.) Inside, reps from Def Jam, Universal and WMG tangled around one another, laughing; there were so many Atlantic staffers, you'd think the Highline was the destination for a company field trip. In the midst of popping and locking, Hot 97 PD Ebro Darden shook Warner VP Joie Manda's hand. Not so long ago, none of these people were leaning in to kiss Wale's ring. My, how things have changed.

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Is Wale a Homophobe?

Categories: Featured, Wale

Wale and the world's most famous lesbian, together.
D.C. rapper Wale has awkwardly extricated himself from a scheduled appearance at a Memorial Day DC Black Pride event, part of a weekend described by Washington's Metro Weekly as a "gay pride day festival" for gay, lesbian, bi, and trans African-Americans. Though you wouldn't know that from the title alone, which is what organizers are claiming Wale ended up reacting to: ''What happened is that when the first blast went out that Wale was going to be at Black Pride he got cold feet," a DC Black Pride board member told the Weekly, "and his agent first said Wale wasn't available because he had to do family stuff. Then we got another e-mail saying he didn't know what kind of event this was when he agreed to it.'' In short? "They just said he couldn't do it. So it basically is homophobia rearing its ugly head once again.''

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Wale's Attention Deficit Did Not Exactly Tear Up The Charts Last Week

Categories: Featured, Wale

28,000 sold, or 5K less than Blueprint 3 last week, and, as a clearly broken up about it Byron Crawford notes, less than half of what Asher Roth managed his first week. Wale has a few theories about this.

Wale Does Not Listen to "Dischord Bands"

Categories: Featured, Wale


In an otherwise lively interview with Wale ("Just Blaze don't get back to me on the regular... [laughs] Or Kanye West! People might say 'keep doin' what you're doing, let's work some time.' But when it comes down to it, it's like [sounding bored]: 'Oh. Yeah. Keep it moving...'," Flavorwire swings for the fences and asks, quote:

    FW: One more question about DC. As a teenager growing up in the city, I was exposed to a lot of the Dischord bands, a lot of DIY punk. Did you experience that side of DC at all?

    Wale: Not at all -- it was kind of foreign to my experience. I know it exists, but that's about it. It's still foreign to me.

To be fair, the rapper does claim earlier in the interview to be collaborating with TV on the Radio on his new record. But we might have to wait a while for that Lungfish collabo...