Logic suggests that being surrounded by artistic brilliance would give the less endowed a natural boost. But if talent were contagious, failure wouldn't exist, and neither would this list. Every rap group, big or small has one member who simply can't hold a candle to the others. Here are seven weakest links in seven great rap crews.
1. Wu-Tang Clan: U-God
If you ever wanted to impress your friends with your knowledge of the Wu-Tang Clan, simply ask them to name all the members. See how many members they're able to name before getting to U-God. Chances are, no one will even remember that U-God is a founding member of the greatest group in hip-hop history. We rest our case.
2. D-Block: J-Hood
Aside from the fact that he can't decide if he wants to spell his name with or without a hyphen, nothing makes J-Hood remotely unique as a rapper. Unable to get his foot in the industry's door, J-Hood (aka J Hood, aka Jae Hood) resorted to shameless publicity stunts. A 2007 YouTube video once showed him dragging the D-Block chain down the pavement while hurling insults at Jadakiss, Sheek Louch and Styles P.
Hood was later sent packing from the group. We assume it was for his lyrical ineptitude.
3. The Firm: Nature
The Firm's talent hierarchy, in order of superiority: 1. Nas; 2. AZ; 3.Cormega; 4.Foxy Brown; 5. Nature.
To be fair, it would take truckload of talent and a face tattoo to stand out in a group that includes Nas, AZ and Foxy. While Nature was a solid MC, he lacked Brown's personality or AZ's crisp flow. And Nas? Well, he's only one of the greatest MCs to breathe on a microphone. How do you keep up with that?
4. Leaders of the New School: Charlie Brown
Leaders of the New School was a New York-based hip-hop crew composed of Charlie Brown, Dinco D, Busta Rhymes and Cut Monitor Milo. They dropped two albums and a slew of street anthems in the early '90s. As time went on, Busta Rhymes gradually became LOTNS's center of attention.
Charlie Brown, the group's least impressive member, couldn't stand hide his disgust when Busta famously hogged the spotlight during an interview on Yo! MTV Raps. That public blowout eventually became a catalyst for the group's breakup.
5. Roc-A-Fella: Memphis Bleek
Everyone on Dame & Jay's squad was cold on the mike. From Beanie Sigel and Freeway to newer members Cam'ron and Kanye, everyone had a strong hit album or smash single to his name. Not Bleek. Though Bleek had been rapping alongside Jay since 96, he just never found that magical spark to get going on his own.
On the "Diamonds Remix," Jay-Z finally threw his hands in the air and entertained the possibility that "Bleek could be one hit away his whole career." Ouch.
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6. G-Unit: Tony Yayo
You could make a reasonable case against G-Unit's greatness, but you can't argue with Tony Yayo's status as its weakest link. Lloyd Banks supplied the sick punchlines; 50 Cent delivered the catchy hooks; Young Buck brought some southern soul; Yayo was, well, just another G-Unit member with a large appetite for Patron.
7. The Fugees: Pras
Before he had delusions of grandeur and decided to throw his hat in Haiti's political ring, Wyclef was known as the musical mastermind behind the Fugees. Lauryn Hill was the group's voice box, with the ability to vacillate between heart-melting tunes and stone-cold rhymes. But no one has been able to figure out exactly what purpose Pras served in the group. He's essentially the human version of a filler track.