I'm a sucker for lists, I've said that before. If it makes me a less cerebral person, so be it. I'm not apologizing. For a "list addict" like myself, Forbes magazine is like a big plate of list cocaine. They'll come up with any way they can to categorize wealth -- richest people, sports franchise values and yes, richest hip-hop acts!
The latest list, published today, indicates not surprisingly that Sean "Diddy" Combs tops the list at a total fortune of $475 million.
The rest of the top five goes like this: Jay-Z ($450 million), Dr. Dre ($125 million), 50 Cent ($100 million) and Birdman ($100 million).
My reactions to this list:
First, in the midst of collective bargaining for football and especially basketball (with its maximum salaries and other financial mechanisms), it's refreshing to review a list where capitalism is in play. If hip-hop were run by the NBA, Diddy and Jay-Z would probably be maxed out at $250 million, someone would have overpaid Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Birdman to also give them $250 million and owners all over the league would be falling over themselves to give Soulja Boy the mid-level exception.
(And by the way, does a tie at $100 million feel low for "fourth wealthiest" in a genre of music as popular as hip-hop? Maybe I'm jaded by other Forbes lists that include several billionaires. Don't get me wrong, $100 million is approximately $99,999,998 more than I'm worth, but still...)
Second, I like hip-hop music. I don't love it, but I probably have more hip-hop on my iPod than the average Caucasian 42-year-old male. That said, I'm probably more fascinated by "shitty rap" than "good rap." In fact, I'm somewhat of a shitty-rap aficionado -- like a shitty-rap Casey Kasem.
So to get you to the weekend and improve your mood, here are four rap acts that will never crack Forbes's "Diddy List" (and yet, I'd spend twice as much on iTunes for any of these songs as I would on Jay-Z's next album -- me lovey the train wreck!):
4 and 5. "Envy" and "Eli"
If Envy were a car, they'd say he goes from zero to sixty in four seconds. I love how he starts going faster and faster as the beat goes on. If it went ten more seconds, he might've run into the wall. Eli, on the other hand, opts for the "Undertaker rolling eyes in the back of his head" gimmick which is just distracting enough to make me forget he's butchering the lyrics. (But to be fair, he may have gotten screwed by whoever was pressing "PLAY" on his background music.) Honestly, the real future stars in this video might be the three judges, who would make for a very watchable version of Shitty Free Style Rap American Idol.
3. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
Savage's fixation with Hogan (both real and storyline) goes back literally decades. I've had a chance to eat lunch with Savage back in the late 90's with my friend Ken Hoffman of the Houston Chronicle. Macho Man brought his then-girlfriend (amateur porn star Gorgeous George, who was about one-third Savage's age at the time) and acted like he was about to beat up the entire restaurant at any moment. Put simply, Savage on UStream would have made Charlie Sheen look like George Stephanopoulos. Macho Man's peak of relevant insanity was about ten years too early.
2. Kristin Finan of the Houston Chronicle
I actually want a re-do of this video where Kristin replaces McGrady with Luis Scola.
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1. Super Broker Shuffle
The "Hey Jude" of the "shitty rap" genre.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.