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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Swimming in the Mainstream
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I can’t tell you how many times someone asks me which rap artists I like that are well known and I respond by drawing a complete blank. Yes, I prefer a lot of lesser known emcees, but it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re lesser known, it’s just that I think they’re making better music than what I hear on the radio. Of course, before I can explain this my initial reaction of “I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head” quickly gets me labeled a “hater.” Well, I’m not a hater and today I’m going to prove it. That’s right, today I’m going to list, to the best of my ability, the mainstream artists I will actually turn the radio up for.

The Lox – The trio of Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch have always been enjoyable to listen to. They don’t say anything new, but they find new and interesting ways to say what’s been said before. Their use of language is fantastic and they’re not afraid to throw in a little bit of humor in even their roughest of rhymes. Most of all, I appreciate the fact that each member of the group has a distinct personality. You always know who is rhyming when, not just based on their vocals, but based on their rhyme style. The Lox is also a top choice of mine for music to get hyped to.

The Game – The combination of The Game’s gruff voice and his classic Cali production make him a winner in my book. I’ll admit it, I get psyched when I hear The Game is coming out with something new because more often than not it’s going to be something of high quality. The Game also puts a lot of himself into his rhymes and I enjoy his honesty.

Cam'ron – Many people will question on me on this selection, but I can’t deny when a Cam song comes on I feel an unbelievable urge to reach to my volume control and crank it up. Never has a man made saying the ridiculous so enjoyable. Yes, this may be a case of charisma over content, but I’m not listing my top mainstream emcees, I’m listing the mainstream artists I enjoy listening to most, and when it comes to this list Cam is certainly deserving of a high ranking. He keeps computers ‘putin. Nuff said.

The Clipse – The Clipse, when paired with The Neptunes, are one of the best duos in rap music today. We’ll give them a bye on the whole Justin Timberlake “Like I Love You” mess because when they get down to business on songs like “Grindin” and “Mr. Me Too” it’s a thing of beauty. Much like The Lox, The Clipse are masters at finding new ways to say old things, which makes them interesting lyrically and straight up fun to listen to.

Snoop Dogg – He’s had a few missteps but it’s really hard to go wrong with Snoop Dogg. A true legend who has no problems switching up his game, Snoop always brings something fun to the table and when I hear the phrase “new Snoop Dogg” I’m always intrigued and eager to hear what he has for us this time around. The list of artists from my high school days (’92-’96) that are still relevant today can be counted on one hand. Snoop leads that list, which is yet another reason he’s on this one.

Cee-Lo – Whether it’s been as a part of Goodie Mob, as a solo artist, or as one half of Gnarls Barkley, Cee-Lo Green has consistently created great music. I’ve always dug his work and continue to look forward to what he’ll do next. That being said, it’s getting harder and harder to call him an emcee with all the singing he’s been doing. I’ll always check for his work, and enjoy what he’s doing right now, but it would be nice to hear him spit a real 16 again sometime soon.

Obie Trice – I’m not sure if Obie is still considered mainstream, but I’ve always enjoyed both his lyrical ability and unique flow. The fact that he has some killer production is also a major plus (“Wanna Know” anyone?). The verse that first drew me to his work came from the song “Love Me” off of the 8 Mile soundtrack when he spit “I’m still getting chased by those lights / only the light’s lime…” It baffles me that he hasn’t seen more fame.

T.I. – T.I. just barely makes this list as I feel that ever since Trap Muzik he’s been on a bit of a downward spiral. That being said his charismatic southern drawl is still enough to get me to leave a radio station on.

So there you have it. Is this a complete list? Probably not, I’m sure I’m leaving a name or two out, but I just wanted to step up and show everyone that I’m not a complete hater when it comes to the mainstream. So now that you’ve read my list let me know who you’re diggin that gets commercial radio airplay. Is there anyone I’m forgetting about?


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:50 AM  
  • At 4:45 PM, Blogger Fretgirl said…

    Hmmmm, i possibly can see y u posted some o those dudes. But nevertheless they still talk a lot of shit and i don't believe u shud feel guilty cos u don't like the mainstream so much, u have every fuckin rite not 2 like the mainstream yo!

    Peeps use the word hater wen they don't like the truth bein told, 4 me u only a hater wen u hatin cos u jealous or vindictive.

    And since u ain't non o those, u ain't a hater u jus expressin urself!

    I think the mainstream is a steamin pile of horse n dog shit combined!

    keep writin yo, cos i like ur style n wat u say!


  • At 6:12 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Thanks for the props. And great point about the "hater" label! The next time someone calls me a hater I'm going to remind them that speaking the truth isn't hating.

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