Hip-hop began as a purist underground movement of social critique, but somewhere along the way, it gained such prominence it couldn’t help but inspire an entire wave of lousy rappers using the genre’s typical trappings to churn out soulless hit singles. Such is the path to success for any genre. Let’s take a look at some of the genre’s sad low points by counting down the worst rap songs of the past decade — there’s certainly no shortage of them.
1. “Miracles” by Insane Clown Posse
“Miracles” became the most famous song from everyone’s favorite face-painting rapper bullies simply because it’s so laughably bad. ICP sets aside their usual tough guy-posturing to focus on awkwardly name-checking the “miracles” of the world — a nice sentiment that’s weighed down by a spare, boring backbeat, a total lack of flow and hilarious lyrics like, “The birth of my kids/I’ve seen things that’ll shock your eyelids,” “fuckin’ rainbows after it rains,” and “fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?”
2. “Spoons” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Macklemore doesn’t seem like a bad guy, but his music is often so easy to make fun of. There’s no room for subtlety in Macklemore’s self-consciously clever, annoying self-aware raps, and most of his songs come out sounding like awkward confessionals or equally awkward stabs at humor. None more awkward than the bonus track released earlier this year for Valentine’s Day, “Spoons,” a song which takes on the most intensely personal pieces of a modern relationship by having Macklemore whisper-giggle creepily in your ear about his “boo boo thang,” pressing “my D against your left cheek,” and crushing “the coochie like a tall can.”
3. “Chain Hang Low” by Jibbs
Sampling an aggressively annoying children’s song for an omnipresent rap chorus ranks among the laziest ploys in rap music, a move that should have stripped away Jibbs’ street cred right away. The relentlessly annoying song is a low-point in a desperate era of popular hip-hop when empty gangster materialism and bling obsession was enough to spawn a hit single.
4. “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO
A song outmatched only by the band’s name in obnoxiousness, the inescapable “Sexy and I Know It” managed to pack about a half dozen irritating hooks into an agonizing three minutes. The white boy rappers have a sense of humor about their boasting that one might find amusing on first listen, but the next 100 are sure to wear you down with its rotten synth-soaked hybrid of rap and EDM that doesn’t capture any of what’s good about either genre.
5. “Prom Queen” by Lil Wayne
A product of that unfortunate era where every rap song had to include an ugly autotuned attempt at singing, Lil Wayne checks another box of horribleness by adorning this lousy single with all the hallmarks of rap-rock or nu-metal. The whole song is nothing but an off-putting blend of musical trends most people despise in the first place, like an unfinished mashup that never really comes together. It doesn’t help that it sounds like Lil Wayne and his backup band never shared the same room.
6. “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” by Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em feat. Sammie
Feel free to substitute any Soulja Boy song into this spot. “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” managed some semblance of chart success despite some of the laziest verses of all-time, a characteristic of many Soulja Boy songs. The chorus is passable trash, but the slow-paced awkward verses feel like killing time without offering anything remotely substantive — just airtime for the music video to cram Dre’s Beats headphones down your throat.
7. “CoCo” by O.T. Genasis
“Baking soda, I got baking soda!” “CoCo” really hangs its hat on those lyrics, one of the song’s rare deviations from a hopelessly formulaic rhyme scheme. Genesis yells the first half of every line before dropping an octave and saying something that rhymes with “CoCo,” a gimmick that functions as both verse and chorus in a song so uniquely deprived of ideas it’s a wonder how anyone could sit through the whole four minutes, let alone enough people to push it to number 20 on the Billboard charts in 2015.
8. “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas made a game of tricking the American people into tacitly accepting their soulless brand of club anthem, seeing just how lazy they could be before radio stations stopped peddling their singles non-stop. “Boom Boom Pow” is one of many testaments to the band’s inexplicable popularity, combining Will.i.am’s auto-tuned nonsense with one of the most aggressively bad raps ever wherein Fergie sneers through her nose about being “so 2000-and-late.” Hey, it’s hard to write lyrics when your song is literally about nothing but its own monotonous beat.
9. “Ay Bay Bay” by Hurricane Chris
The song has absolutely no point besides telling the public about a saying and how to use it. It’s not at all a cool catchphrase and didn’t catch on. However the repetitive song still became an ear worm that got a lot play. Thankfully, most of us forgot this song and “ay bay bay” ever existed.
10. “Lip Gloss” by Lil Mama
The lyrics to this hit song are so simple and cheesy. The fact that it was also focused on lip gloss is probably why it was so popular with young kids. It’s terrible, but it has a great beat so it had more success than it deserved. It also made Lil Mama a recognizable personality.
Additional reporting by Nicole Weaver.
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