It may surprise you two to discover that I've received more than a few requests to bring back this infrequent series, in which I toss hip hop aside in favor of looking at Billboard's pop charts, which, conveniently enough, hold a ton of rap songs anyway, thus making my brief conversion even easier. I figured that now is a good time to revisit the chart, as enough time has passed since the last installment for all of the songs to change (because God forbid anybody like a song that is more than two months old on this side of the pond). If you just flat-out cannot understand why something that calls itself a hip hop blog would run an article such as this, then I invite you to click away from the site and get back to your Amazon wishlists and your deviant porn, and we'll see you in a couple of days.
I'm an outspoken advocate of listening to all types of music and not just limiting yourself to a specific genre, but even I have a huge problem with the Billboard Top 100, which attempts to be a thoroughly accurate listing of the most popular songs in the United States. (By the time this post runs, Billboard will have moved on to an updated listing, so this information is already a week old, but most of the songs will be the same, as will most of these thoughts, I'm sure.) The criteria used to calculate these measurements are ever-changing and consistently questionable (Billboard says that they look at sales figures, number of downloads, how many radio spins each track receives, and the list goes on), which makes it impossible for me to believe that there is any person out there that actually listens to every single genre presented on a regular basis: in theory, if this is supposed to be a representation of how pop radio sounds today, then pop radio should be playing a hell of a lot more country music, which they most certainly do not. Also, by the standards provided, Glee should be the most popular television program in the country (it isn't), Jennifer Lopez has apparently completed the final phase in the most impressive comeback in history (she hasn't), Chris Brown has finally convinced everybody in the universe that he didn't actually beat up (and bite) his then-girlfriend Rihanna like the cowardly little bitch he truly is (he hasn't, as his recent appearance-slash-mental breakdown on Good Morning America has proven), and Lil' Wayne should be referred to as the best rapper alive (if his sheer number of appearances on this chart are any indicator). Alas, none of this shit is even remotely true, so why does Billboard even bother trying to assign popularity points to different songs?
Oh yeah, because if they didn't, then you wouldn't know what it is you're supposed to like right now.
95. “ROPE” - FOO FIGHTERS
The last time I wrote one of these posts, the Foo Fighters had an entry that could have doubled as the theme music to a deodorant commercial. “Rope” finds Dave Grohl and company back in fine form: apparently, recording their new album in Grohl's basement, right next to his dusty boxes filled with discarded Beanie Babies and vintage Playboys, was a good idea. This isn't “Everlong”-great (hell, it isn't even “My Hero”-good or “Learn To Fly”-decent), but it's still rather enjoyable, and it's engaging in a way that songs such as “Wheels” and “Best Of You” can never even pretend to live up to.
93. “GROVE ST. PARTY” - WAKA FLOCKA FLAME FEAT. KEBO GOTTI
This is usually the song that plays on the Sirius XM hip hop channel before I switch to Alt Nation and hear the track listed at number eighty-eight. This Waka Flocka motherfucker has become popular by completely eschewing rap music standards (such as catchy music and actual lyrics), although I doubt the cocksucker is smart enough to use the word “eschewing”. Mr. Flame has actually said in interviews that he doesn't care about lyrics: um, great career choice, asshole. Nice work being a part of the problem. And yet, people actually encourage this type of behavior. No fucking wonder people still believe that hip hop is dead. Fuck this guy.
88. “PUMPED UP KICKS” - FOSTER THE PEOPLE
Calm and entertaining. Some music critics seem to believe that “Pumped Up Kicks” could be this year's response to MGMT's “Kids”, which it sounds abso-fucking-lutely nothing like. But that shouldn't stop you from giving this a spin.
84. “HUSTLE HARD” - ACE HOOD
I rightfully ragged on Ace Hood a few times on some other blog posts: the guy isn't memorable in the least bit, and he has a ton more work to do if he wants to survive not being eaten alive in a music industry that shits out replacement artists with each subsequent bowel movement. But goddammit, it's so much fun to sing along to the brainless chorus on here. Too bad the rest of this shit doesn't live up to that faux-golden standard.
65. “RUN THE WORLD (GIRLS)” - BEYONCE
Mrs. Shawn Carter is obviously bored with pop music: with some of the choices she's made in the past few years, it would appear that she's taking her cues from a hooded figure that is an amalgamation of Kanye West and her Magic 8-Ball. This ode to girl power will probably be huge in the summer, especially since the video just dropped yesterday, but in no way will it ever compare to the clip from the song that is sampled on here, Major Lazer's “Pon De Floor”. Have you guys seen that shit? Girl power? More like “power of the pussy”. Which can mean the same thing when presented in the proper context.
50. “RACKS” - YC FEAT. FUTURE
Nope, I refuse to believe that a song called “Racks” actually cracked the top fifty on this week's chart. Impossible. Why would any rapper write a song about the back-room inventory at The Container Store?
49. “WHAT THE HELL” - AVRIL LAVIGNE
Thanks, phony Canadian “punk” Avril Lavigne! Your poor choice in song title saved me a lot of virtual ink.
48. “SUPER BASS” - NICKI MINAJ
Although it isn't unheard of, it's still pretty strange to see a track from the deluxe edition of Pink Friday, one that was not made available to all retail outlets, charting on the Billboard Hot 100. What's unsurprising is how truly fucking horrible it sounds today. Which you saw coming, I know. I just think that a song entitled “Super Bass” should either (a) contain an incredibly obnoxious amount of bass, or (b) be a storytelling rap about how Nicki Minaj caught the biggest goddamn fish you ever did see.
46. “6 FOOT 7 FOOT” - LIL' WAYNE FEAT. CORY GUNZ
Aside from giving me a break from listening to an album straight-through, these Billboard posts also provide an opportunity for HHID's two readers to read my thoughts on songs and artists that I wouldn't give two fucks about otherwise, such as Lil' Weezy and his “A Milli”-esque return to the spotlight after waiting out his prison sentence. The Bangladesh beat (which, just like what happened with his instrumental for “A Milli”, I understand he hasn't yet been paid for – dude, you have nobody to blame but yourself) is fucking ridiculous, and that is not a compliment: sampling Harry Belafonte's “Banana Boat Song” should never ever ever come up as a viable option. And Cory Gunz, the son of Peter Gunz (who used to jack Steely Dan song samples alongside his old rhyme partner Lord Tariq), fails to bring much to the table aside from a flashy, substance-light verse, thereby helping me understand why his career has been a non-starter since day one. (Somehow his line, “I visit urinals abroad”, is supposed to indicate that he's a world traveler, but that's not the interpretation I got from it.) However, and here's the funny thing, I didn't hate Wayne on here. It's obvious that he's trying to be clever with his lyrics, and although he only really succeeds about twenty percent of the time, his effort with his pen and his pad is appreciated, as he proves that (a) even the shittiest rappers in the industry believe that the lyrics actually matter, and (b) maybe Lil' Wayne shouldn't be grouped with the “shittiest” rappers in the industry. I've officially upgraded him to the “crappiest” designation. (I'm pretty hard to win over.)
39. “TONIGHT (I'M LOVIN' YOU)” - ENRIQUE IGLESIAS FEAT. LUDACRIS & DJ FRANK E
Of course, I prefer the original version, in which Enrique Iglesias looks irrelevancy straight into its eyes and decided, “Screw it, I'm singing a song about fucking where I actually use the word 'fucking'”, instantly turning him into the novelty Vegas act he's always wanted to be, apparently. Can't say the chorus isn't catchy, though.
32. “FAST LANE” - BAD MEETS EVIL
Easily the most surprising entry I found on this specific week's Billboard chart. I wonder if Royce da 5'9” is happy that he may have finally broken through to the mainstream by riding on the back of a Marshall Mathers who is well past his prime. Still, I'll be checking for their EP, and you know you will be, too. Makes me want to listen to “Scary Movies” again, though.
26. “BACKSEAT” - NEW BOYZ FEAT. THE CATARACTS & DEV
The New Boyz are a rap duo who are better known for wearing skinny jeans than they are for any actual rhymes, so they're entirely useless to both me and our chosen genre in general. But the reason I chose this track to write about is because of guest singer Dev, who oddly fascinates me, although not in the actual video for “Backseat”. This chick, who seems to be joined at the respective hips to production duo The Cataracts (no, that's not what I meant: fuck, you two have some dirty minds), scored a number one hit song late last year when Asian “rap” group Far East Movement sampled her lyrics from her“Booty Bounce” for their “Like A G6” (I'm sure you've heard it at some point), which the artists claimed was an ode to an airplane that didn't yet exist, but since Dev actually wrote the lyrics first, it's clear to me that those guys had no fucking clue what they were talking about (hence their almost instantaneous disappearance from the game). She alternately looks like Kristen Wiig (in the video for “Booty Bounce”) and a much more attractive Paris Hilton (in the clip for the Cataracts-produced “Bass Down Low”, which is actually a catchy-ass club song, even though she rips off The Notorious B.I.G. for a bar), which are two extremes that shouldn't work, but whatever. She's marketing herself as a grittier version of Ke$ha, which is a terrible way to do anything, but if she sticks with the club audience, she could do fairly well for herself. Much better than these New Boyz jackasses, anyway.
24. “PARTY ROCK ANTHEM” - LMFAO FEAT. LAUREN BENNETT & GOONROCK
LMFAO's Lil' Jon-produced “Shots” remains a sentimental favorite, mainly because I like drinking in groups. But that shit was catchy because of Jon's insistence during the hook, not because of either one of the LMFAO assholes, who look like douchebag frat boys who took up rapping as a joke while folding shirts at American Eagle. Lil' Jon has fuck-all to do with this song: as a result, it sounds like a wack-ass club song that is interchangeable with nearly everything else out there. Meh.
21. “I NEED A DOCTOR” - DR. DRE FEAT. EMINEM & SKYLAR GREY
I'm choosing to reserve judgment on “I Need A Doctor” for whenever the fuck Detox actually comes out, as I want to hear what this song sounds like within the context of however the project sounds in the good Doctor's head. I will say this, though: why would Dre visit Eazy-E's grave in the video instead of his own son's? I would think that tugging at the audience's heartstrings by celebrating his familial bond would have much more of an impact than attempting to remind people of the feud between Dr. Dre and Ruthless Records (or of the battle between Dre and former labelmate 2Pac, which you can't help but think about when director Allen Hughes (of Menace II Society fame) slides footage from “California Love” into the overlong video). Maybe that's just me. I'd like to read your thoughts on “I Need A Doctor”, though.
20. “ALL OF THE LIGHTS” - KANYE WEST FEAT. EVERYBODY & YOUR GRANDMOTHER
Regardless of its seemingly high placement on this chart, Kanye's “All Of The Lights” isn't really that well-liked. To be honest, I'm kind of surprised that this song isn't more popular, since every critic (myself included) believed that it would be the breakout track from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Oh well, what do critics know, right? Perhaps the mainstream audience didn't buy into the marching band-esque beat that sounded custom-built to be played during football and basketball telecasts. Maybe the overlong guest list scared everyone away (because a lot of rap fans are tired of Drake and are afraid of Elton John for some fucking reason). My theory is that “All Of The Lights” (which is supposed to have had its star-studded remix, featuring Jay-Z and a new 'Ye verse, hit the Interweb already: where the fuck is it, man?) failed to generate a ton of crossover buzz because the Hype Williams-directed, opening-credit-sequence-to-Enter The Void-aping video is really fucking shitty. Like all straight men, I appreciate Rihanna sideboob any day of the week, and Gaspar Noe's Enter The Void was a visually stunning (and polarizing) flick, but that clip has absolutely nothing to do with the song's bombastic feel, as watching Kanye rap while standing on a cop car lip-syncing to his own nonsensical lyrics doesn't elicit any sort of cathartic release. Oh well.
18. “BORN THIS WAY” - LADY GAGA
“Born This Way”, “Judas” (which resides at number nineteen on this particular chart), and “The Edge Of Glory” (whose title just screams "Montage!") all sound as though Stefanie is trying way too hard to be the next Madonna instead of just simply writing good pop songs like she has in the past. Yeah, I just said that Lady Gaga has written some good pop songs in the past. What of it? I think the pressure has finally gotten to her, and she's lost her goddamn mind: I halfway expect to see her suddenly start dressing like a normal human being and getting a day job in the Human Resources department of one of those big chain stores that anchor those large retail shopping centers that pop up along the highway.
15. "WRITTEN IN THE STARS" - TINIE TEMPAH FEAT. ERIC TURNER
15. "WRITTEN IN THE STARS" - TINIE TEMPAH FEAT. ERIC TURNER
This sounds like yet another beat that Lupe Fiasco turned down (see: "Airplanes", "Nothin' On You"), thanks to the mammoth disconnect between British rapper Tinie Tempah's verses and singer Eric Turner's generic chorus. Prove me wrong.
11. “BLOW” - KE$HA
The “artist” previously known as Kesha Sebert tends to sounds like a coked-out computer being raped by a bear wearing a minotaur costume, but, sadly, for the love of butter, I actually don't hate this track. It's entirely stupid, and without the aid of its goofy video, it sounds fairly empty and more soulless than usual, but it's clear to me that this chick, who must have inhaled a lot of glitter in her lifetime, is in on the joke and is determined to ride this wave until the general public stops giving a fuck about her. (Which should have happened three singles ago, but whatever.) Besides, this song will almost certainly get your girl and all of her friends to the dance floor, which makes it pretty hard for me to outright dislike, although I tried so goddamn hard to. Not the greatest pop song around or anything, and it definitely won't stand up to the test of time, but I'd rather listen to “Blow” on a loop than hear most of the tracks on this chart just the once.
10. “LOOK AT ME NOW” - CHRIS BROWN FEAT. BUSTA RHYMES & LIL' WAYNE
Regardless of how interesting the Diplo and Afrojack co-production sounds, I'm still of the opinion that every artist that chooses to work alongside Chris Brown is a woman-hating asshat. Apparently, I'm also including motherfucking Justin Bieber on that list, as he loves this song so much that he performed Busta's verse nearly verbatim while live on stage with the host recently. I am impressed at how a fifty-year old Trevor Smith can still manage to rhyme so goddamn fast, but not enough to learn his breath control secrets or carry his bag of Werther's Originals or anything.
9. “S&M” - RIHANNA
It isn't lost on me that Rihanna has ranked above Chris Brown on this week's list. Unfortunately, Chris Brown's song has generated much more buzz, thanks to the short attention span of America's collective youngsters, who have forgotten that they're supposed to hate him. Ike Turner would have never received this much love from an adoring public: everybody wanted to fuck his shit up because of his mistreatment of Tina Turner. To this end, Rihanna, of course, has recorded a song on which she admits that she loves whips, chains, and being beaten during sex, which she also loves the smell of. Somewhere, Chris Breezy is salivating.
6. "TILL THE WORLD ENDS" - BRITNEY SPEARS
6. "TILL THE WORLD ENDS" - BRITNEY SPEARS
At one point, the former Mouseketeer (man, that seems like a long-ass time ago, right?) claims that this version of "Till The World Ends" is "sicker than the remix". But at that point, the remix (featuring her tour mate Nicki Minaj and the song's author Ke$ha) hadn't even yet been commissioned. Fuck Tyler: Britney Spears is the true walking paradox.
5. “THE LAZY SONG” - BRUNO MARS
Kids, if someone offers to sell you weed laced with the tears of a dead clown, you probably shouldn't watch this clip after taking a hit, as the guys in the ape masks will cause you to freak the fuck out.
4. “JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH” - THE BLACK EYED PEAS
I'd love to say that the Black Eyed Sellouts became, well, sellouts so gradually that I didn't even notice until it was too late, but that's a goddamn lie: they've always sucked. Even without the girl. Yeah, I said it. For their latest foray into the pop charts, will.i.am, Fergie, and the other two interchangeable guys steal the title from one of Depeche Mode's biggest pop hits, thereby automatically earning an unfavorable comparison to that song in every single critique written about this song. This shit is so weak that it makes me wish that Dave Gahan and Martin Gore would tie up all four of these and trap them in a car that is speeding down the street in reverse, just like in their video for “Wrong”. I realize that I left Andy Fletcher out of that previous sentence, but I don't need everyone in Depeche Mode to go to jail for vehicular manslaughter: someone has to carry on the name.
3. “ON THE FLOOR” - JENNIFER LOPEZ FEAT. PITBULL
I know, I find it strange that I'm not writing this sentence about the Black Eyed Sellouts song, but here goes: “On The Floor” is easily the most retarded song on the Billboard Hot 100 right now. The Back-Up Plan's Jennifer Lopez sounds like fucking Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, with her near-constant use of the titular phrase in lieu of any actual lyrics or, at the very least, commands to dance. All she seems to be doing is describing the location where all of the action just so happens to be occurring: where are all of the women? On the floor! Where did my brain matter land after I put that gun to my head? On the floor! I hate the fact that I live in a country where bullshittery like this is allowed to be classified as music. America, what the fuck is wrong with you?
2. “E.T. (REMIX)” - KATY PERRY FEAT. KANYE WEST
Everything that I hate about Kanye West's repulsive sex rhymes comes to a head on Katy Perry's remix to her own “E.T.”: why, the man even utters the phrase, “What's next? Alien sex!”. I promise, 'Ye, I will purchase ten copies of your next album (whether it's the long-promised Watch The Throne or whatever his next solo project is supposed to be) if you promise to leave the intercourse rhymes to the professionals. This beat is much different than anything you would expect Mrs. Russell Brand to sing over: hilariously enough, it was apparently crafted for use by Three 6 Mafia before Katy decided she liked it. (I'm not joking.) This is pop music at its strangest, but at least it's much better than “California Gurls” (the song is, anyway: nothing can beat the whipped cream shooting out of her tits in her Snoop Dogg-assisted video).