How do you define a “successful” rapper? Sure, none of these people have much main-stream appeal. But they do boast their own large following, they’re doing what they love to do, and they can support their lifestyle doing so. It isn’t their fault that you haven’t learned to appreciate them yet. It’s time to open your mind.
5. Lil B a.k.a. Based God a.k.a. Brandon McCartney
You may be tempted to think this guy is a joke, but with over 100,000 subscribers and 83-million Youtube views, who is the joke really on? To understand Lil B, you have to first accept that not every rapper is trying to go platinum or win a Grammy. Some of them are just out there promoting a positive message. He calls it being “based”, and his army of followers refer to him as the “Based God”. So, what does it mean to be “based”?
“Based means being yourself. Not being scared of what people think about you. Not being afraid to do what you wanna do. Being positive. When I was younger, based was a negative term that meant like dopehead, or basehead. People used to make fun of me. They was like, ‘You’re based.’ They’d use it as a negative. And what I did was turn that negative into a positive. I started embracing it like, ‘Yeah, I’m based.’ I made it mine. I embedded it in my head. Based is positive.” — Lil’ B
4. RiFF RaFF a.k.a. Jody Highroller a.k.a. Jody Christian
He is a caricature of a modern day rapper. You’re not too sure if he’s being serious or not, and I suppose that is the beauty of it. As written in the Rolling Stone piece on him, “they like the rapper ‘culturally, not musically’.” Yes, lyrically, he will not floor you with anything too profound, but that is not his appeal. His appeal is his ability to make you realize that, really, main-stream music has become a parody of itself. And you are willing to bob your head to music that doesn’t even make sense. Seriously, watch the video below and then look up the lyrics. Don’t even act like you didn’t enjoy it.
3. Dirt Nasty a.k.a. Simon Rex a.k.a. That Guy from Scary Movie
Here we have an actor crossing over to rap on the list and, with that, I think it’s pretty easy to see what the hell is going on in this world. Entertainers are just that — entertainers. Where in the past it may have been more difficult to discern a rapper from a character, nowadays it’s becoming more and more transparent and, often, intentionally ridiculous. I present to you, whatever the hell this is:
2. Kreayshawn a.k.a. Natassia Gail Zolot
She came to viral internet fame with her music video, “Gucci Gucci”. Kreayshawn, along with her girls V-Nasty, and Lil Debbie have been carving out their own path in the rap game. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this is what rap has evolved into, devolved into, or, if this is something different altogether. It is just impossible to categorize and, again, that is the beauty of it. What the hell is it? I don’t know, but I just listened to it ten times in a row.
1. Soulja Boy a.k.a. DeAndre Cortez Way
Arguably, the pioneer who paved the way for everyone on this list in the world of internet rap stardom, Soulja Boy and “Crank That” was a self-published video which took the internet by storm. You know damn right you once knew all the steps to that dance. It woke up quite a few aspiring artists to the fact that they no longer needed those hard to come by record deals and million dollar distribution contracts to make a name for themselves. A computer, a camera, and a well executed idea could land you on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list.