What Stans and Haters Say About Your Favorite Rapper...(And the Reality)


It's hard to know who to trust.

Everyone has their own opinions, especially about something like music. And when these opinions are expressed, especially on the internet, they are often rebuffed. With GREAT VITRIOL!!! Amazingly enough, not everybody agrees with everything everybody else says. The surprising result: contradictory opinions!

If you like a certain artist's music more than the person you're talking to, chances are you are a "Stan." Named for the famous fanatic in Eminem's classic, Stans love their favorite stars so much that they are blind to any possible faults these stars might have. They love everything and anything their idols do, unconditionally, totally irrationally. They would literally buy a piece of poop that has come from the bottom of those they worship.

If you dislike a certain artist's music more than the person you're talking to, you are probably a "hater." Named for "player hater," someone who's hatred of someone else is based more on jealousy than anything else, haters hate their least favorite stars so much that they are blind to any possible redeeming qualities the stars might have. They hate everything and anything the targets of their bile do, unconditionally, totally irrationally. They would literally find fault with the Mona Lisa if it was painted by one of the artists they hate.

As you can see arguing either side of these matters can be very frustrating. What's the "truth?" Well, the quality of music made by an individual is a subjective judgment. So there really is not any "truth."

Except for what we, the staff at Complex magazine, believe. That is the truth. That is the objective reality. Don't be a Stan, don't be a hater. Learn the truth. Read What Stans and Haters Say About Your Favorite Rapper...(And the Reality.)


Kanye West
Stans: "He is a god."
Haters: "I liked him until the god complex."

The Reality: As soon as you liked him (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), he made you unlike him (Yeezus). He said himself that he didn’t want Yeezus to be "easy listening." He wanted it to be three-dimensional. He wanted it to jump out and affect you. For some, screaming in the middle of a song is just too jarring. Others like it because it kept them on their toes. Others still will come around to it years from now.

MBDTF was met with universal acclaim because it was everything that everyone wanted from Kanye. But now he wants to push, like he did with 808’s and Heartbreak. A lot of people are only now starting to appreciate the worth of that 2008 album. Whether you liked Yeezus or not, you probably didn’t have a "meh" feeling about it. It affected you, either positively or negatively—and that’s exactly what he wanted.

Jay Z
Stans: "He's the greatest of all time."
Haters: "Dude is pushing half a century. He should have stopped before his success was the only thing he could rap about. So like, over a decade ago."

The Reality: What Jay continues to prove is that he is still very good at the act of rapping. Questions have been raised, however, at the businessman, for focusing too much on the business, man—and a little less on the music itself. His "new rules" had little to do with his songs and a lot to do with the way they were distributed. A back catalog of classics doesn't invalidate criticism against one's current repertoire, or current way of doing things, but there's something to be said for a guy who has kept our attention for this long. Most likely, he will continue to.

Nas
Stans: "He's the lyrical G.O.A.T. Even if Illmatic was his only good album, which it isn't, it's still better than your favorite rapper's entire catalog."
Haters: "That's a one-hot album every....let's see, 20-year average."

Reality: History aside, Nas is making music that makes sense for a 40 year-old. With Life Is Good, he showed his rap coevals that you can rap your age, even if you're aging. He wrote his thoughts about being a divorced dad deep into a rap career—and it came out genuine. For what has always been considered a young person's game, it will be interesting to see how other aging rappers follow in his footsteps, just like they did in the 90s.

Kendrick Lamar
Stans: "GKMC is this generation's Illmatic."
Haters: "GKMC is overrated. People are too quick to call things 'classic.' If Big and Pac were still alive, no one would care about him."

The Reality: He put out an incredible album—let's see, just a year ago now (op: ok lets ignore section.80 then). He became the hottest rapper in the game, and most people found that difficult to argue with. The only thing working against him is that he's only been on top a short time. The truth is, his relevance, his career, the belt, everything, all depend on his next move. He reached for the belt, and no one stopped him, but lack of competition (or boring non-fights with Drake) won't determine the history. His next album will. If he's able to push it all forward somehow, he'll truly be in control.

Drake
Stans: "He brought a new emotional honesty to hip-hop, he's a great rapper, and he speaks for my generation."
Haters: "He's soft, he sings too much, and he's a cornball."

The Reality: A lot of former Drake haters (myself included) have flip-flopped since this last album. Is it because his music is better, or is it because people are finally coming around to the idea that his persona is acceptable in rap? Probably both. Emotional honesty existed in hip-hop well before Drake. His innovation isn't a new openness (in some ways, he's very closed off and guarded) but a focus on the tics of language of relationship turmoil. There are occasionally cringe-worthy lyrics. But he can rap. Drake, the sing-rapper, #emotionalboys pioneer, and all-around good guy, does have a refreshing take on hip-hop.
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