N.L.SoM: Why your Top 10 list blows

Hey kiddies, it’s been a while since I dropped a real column on you, one that hasn’t been mailed-in or chalk-full of useless information. We’re a little beat up over here at the Swing, and without a healthy mind and body you cannot have a healthy Web site. (For all of you philosophy buffs out there the answer is yes, that is an exact quote from Descartes. He truly was a visionary.)

See, Danny passed out for no reason a while ago, then he turned blue — like a smurf, or that obnoxious girl from Willy Wonka — and they are trying to figure out what happened. I suggested he watch House, but Danny is prejudice against people with canes. Yours truly suffered a horrific shoulder separation last week after traveling to East St. Louis and, using nothing more than my wits and powerful, sinewy muscles, ended chronic gang-warfare between the Bloods and the Crips. Purple is the new red or blue there.

[Edtior’s note: Andy in fact did not separate his shoulder while helping inner-city youths, but did so playing the weakest of rec sports — co-ed flag football. What a bitch.]

Josh, well, he isn’t injured, yet. But it’s only a matter a time before that ol’ beanpole takes a tumble and brakes several of his wafer-thin bones. Hope you’re BlueCross BlueShield is all paid up, you malnourished son of a bitch.

I don’t know much about anything, but I read a lot of shit people put out on the internet, including our own. When reading, I often come about “Top 10” lists. Sometimes I’ll find a “Top 15” list. And sometimes, some crazy people like Complex come out with “Top 100” lists of the decade. Here’s the thing about these lists — I hate them.

They are bullshit. First of all, nobody cares what you think is the best of all-time, or even some-time. Why? Because you don’t matter, and neither does your opinion. Just because the internet gave you the power to publish whatever drivel you decide to spout off at that very moment, doesn’t make if funny, insightful or interesting in the least. I mean really, look at the Web site if you want proof. Nobody cares what you think was the top indie electro-rock album of the last decade so why don’t you save yourself the 15 minutes you put into mashing your keyboard like an enraged chimpanzee and go back to work in your accounts receivable department or whatever soul-sucking vocation you have.

Second, almost all of the lists come off as ridiculously snobbish and or uppity. People love to throw obscure movies and music onto their lists that nobody else has ever heard of, because it makes them seem so much more knowledgeable. Well I’ve got news for you hipster-kid-from-Kansas City- that-now-lives-in-New York-and-thinks-he’s-the-most-cultured-man/woman-on-the-planet: You’re full of shit.

You know why Kanye wins grammys, produces music for other people that win Grammys and prints discs like Fort Knox prints money? (Does Fort Knox print money? Or do they just hold it?) Because he’s better than everyone else at what he does. Until Wale is recognized for his talent to the point where if he does something stupid at an award show everyone in the world will talk about it incessantly UNTIL I WANT TO GOUGE OUT MY EYES AND EARS WITH KNITTING NEEDLES then kindly shut up and accept that he isn’t as good. Press an album first, dick.

However, I feel as though no only can I improve on these God awful lists, I can perfect them. And after the longest introduction of any column ever, let’s unveil a MidwestSwing list for the ages.

My Top 5 Favorite Rap Voices

I wrote it like that for a reason, for I am a wordsmith and I craft my sentences just so. Each word is chosen for a specific purpose and no other word could adequately express my sentiment better. This is not a list of the best rap voices ever. That would be ridiculous. Nor is list complete or comprehensive, I am sure to have missed a few names. These aren’t the best rappers either. And finally, I’m 23 years old. I don’t listen to Run-DMC, Del the Funky Homosapien or Big Daddy Kane. Sorry. I’m not going to wax poetic about some crusty old farts and how they were better than everyone else because of some reason nobody fully understands. I’m living in the here and now, I suggest you do the same.

These are men (sorry ladies) whose voices are distinct, unique — as though their vocal chords are an instrument in themselves. When their voice is heard, nobody asks “Who is that?” Because everybody already knows.

Just Missed the Cut:

Lil Wayne – His voice is raspy, crackly and it’s only been getting raspier and cracklier since the days of Shine and Tha Block is Hot. But somewhere between Tha Carter II and Tha Carter III Lil Wayne became more schtick than sick. Maybe it was because he put out something like 250 songs in a calendar year, maybe it was because he abused Auto-tune like Appalachian father and his daughter — I don’t know. But I couldn’t justify him over the people that make up the top five, so off he goes.

Eminem – The Eminem of The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP would have easily made it into the top five, because his voice had everything you wanted. He has a virulent edge to his words — he wasn’t rapping, he was attacking the microphone. And then something happened to Em, something horrible happened and his voice turned into some sort of bad Weird Al parody voice. You can hear it creep in on early songs like “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me”, but it doesn’t dominate any album until Encore. No thank you. I don’t want any of that high pitched whine, which is why Mr. Mathers will not be joining the rest of the class on this field trip.

Malice (of Clipse) – Malice is one bad mother fucker. Alas, his voice just isn’t as recognizable as the heavy hitters to make the list. But if Til the Casket Drops is anything like the hype that is surrounding it, this could change quickly.

5. Slim Thug

Anytime you hear that low, low baritone spit out the words, “Slim Thugga,” you know exactly what you’re getting. Smooth, slow — Slim Thug is like  fine wine, or a needle full of Heroin. You can’t help but listen to Slim Thug and not think you’re the flyest, most laid-back gangster in any room you walk in. I don’t care if you’re a white-bread, comic book loving, Dorkimus Prime nerd-boy or Silm Thug himself, that’s the vibe his voice emits. Now nod your head slow and mean-mug like you mean it.
Best examples: Mike Jones – “Still Tippin'”, Gwen Stefani – “Luxurious (Remix)” (If you can sit through Gwen Stefani, and chances are you can’t), “Boyz N Blue”, “3 Kings”

4. DMX

People forget about the Dark Man, but let me crack some knowledge on you kind readers. There was a time (recently too) that DMX was the top selling rap/hip-hop artist ever. Ever. More than Pac. More than Jay. More than B.I.G. More than anyone. Now I’m not sure if that is still the case, but the man was not to be trifled with. The man put bass in his voice like Trump puts shit in his hair. And remember when he would put special emphasis on certain words, or bark insatiably like a fucking rabid rottweiler? Most excellent. He’s sounded like the type of man that would murder you like it was nothing. Murder you twice, just to show that he could do it. Grrrrrr Rowlf! Rowlf!
Best examples: “What’s My Name?”, “One More Road to Cross”, “Ruff Ryders Anthem”, Ruff Ryders – “The Great”, Eve – “Scenario 2000”

3. Young Jeezy

Let’s be honest: Young Jeezy isn’t the most talented rapper out there. He’s the guy that once said “Patty cake, patty cake microwave”, and spells trap star “T-R-A-P S-T-R”. But God damn, his voice is fantastic. He’s the Harry Kalas of rap. When you hear his voice you think the guy has been chain-smoking Meth for 30 years. He sounds like he has a stoma. I dare you to listen to a couple hours to Young Jizzle and not want to go out and commit felonies. Go play Grand Theft Auto, mute the TV and spin up for Jeezy — you can thank me later. The man just makes you feel bulletproof.
Best examples: Kanye West – “Amazing”, Kanye West – “Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Remix)”, Rick Ross – “Hustlin’ (Remix)”, “Bury Me a G”, “Trap Star”, “Sole Survivor”, “3 A.M.”, Lupe Fiasco – “Superstar (Remix)”

2. Nate Dogg

Nate Dogg is the king of hip-hop hooks. People have tried to take his place (I’m looking at you Akon), but you just can’t replace him. His voice is smooth and velvety, you just want to dip his words in chocolate and eat them. Or have sex with them. I know I do. Look at the examples below and tell me he didn’t make each of those songs exponentially better? He’s the Robert Horry of rap — The man could never win a championship on his own, but so many All-Stars owe him for their success.
Best examples: 50 Cent – “21 Questions”, 2Pac – “All About U”, Lloyd Banks – “Warrior, Pt. 2”, Obie Trice – “The Set Up”, Dr. Dre – “The Next Episode”, Eminem – “Till I Collapse”

1. Snoop

Nobody else comes close to S-N-double-O-P D-O-double-G. If he isn’t the most recognizable voice in hip-hop history, then I’m Miles Davis. People come down on all different ends of the Snoop continuum of love: some people thinks he’s a walking one-liner, others think he’s one of the greatest ever, and so on and so forth. But it’s undeniable that his voice is unlike anyone else on the planet, and I will stop to watch him get interviewed any day of the week. You think Nate Dogg’s voice is silky smooth? This man makes Nate Dogg sound like Gilbert Godfrey. Snoop Dogg’s voice is the sound you would hear if they built spas for your ears. If Jesus was from the LBC, he would sound like Snoop. Shit, he probably sounds like him anyway.

You want proof he’s as smooth as shit after a cup of coffee? Say “Izzle” after anything. Did you hear that? You sound like a fool. Snoop made that famous. You couldn’t make shit like that famous even if your last name was Kardashian.
Best examples: Anything. Everything. Play whatever Snoop song you like the best, his voice stands the test of time.

Now, if you’ve got a problem with this list, you can choose one of two options. Post the names of people I have egregiously omitted, or kindly shove it right up your tailpipe. Your move. See you next week, unless I break my femur playing Ultimate Frisbee or something.


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