Truth be told, it really doesn't take a whole lot more than catchy lyrics and good looks for a rapper to be considered charming. Unfortunately, many MCs find it just as easy to exhibit some equally bad habits once they make it big. Nicki Minaj has been caught screaming at one of music's top divas. Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z and others have teased us with talk of their imminent retirements. And even arguably rap's biggest, Kanye West, who's no stranger to less than appropriate behavior, has recently had the gall to seem offended that he might be a "victim" of a leaked sex tape. (That he's bragged about how his girl has risen to fame, however, doesn't seem to have dawned on him.) For those reasons and others, The Root has listed some particularly loathsome qualities that make us look at rappers in a whole new light.
Don't say you're going to retire when you're already plotting your next album and comeback world tour. It's just an insincere marketing move targeted on removing more money from our wallets. We're looking at you, Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z and Too Short.
False Sex-Tape Modesty
Don't feign horror at being caught as the star of a sex tape, especially when said tape has you all cheesing into the camera. And definitely don't copy the moves of one Kanye West, who did just that mere moments after proudly rhyming about Kim Kardashian: Superstar on "Clique": "Eat breakfast at Gucci/My girl a superstar/All from a home movie."
Having No Sense of History
"I'm the first person to successfully rap and sing," Drake modestly said in an interview, eerily evoking Diddy's claim of inventing the remix. Don't make such outrageous claims, which are so obviously ignorant of history. If we were Queen Latifah or Lauryn Hill, we'd be totally pissed off.
Resting on Internet Laurels
Kreayshawn's 2011 viral video "Gucci Gucci" has received almost 40 million views, but her first week's album sales of Somethin' 'Bout Kreay didn't even top 4,000 copies. Don't assume Web fame is going to last more than 15 minutes; that's just making an ass out of you and me.
Disrespecting Your Elders
Nicki Minaj may have gotten a pass from most of those paying attention for going after Lil Kim, but Mariah Carey? When the two new American Idol judges got in a squabble that ended up dragging in Barbara Walters, it was clear that Minaj doesn't have too much respect for her elders in the game. And that's not a nice quality.
Relying on Reality TV
Benzino prepared to once again "Rock the Party," and Jim Jones hoped he'd be "Ballin'" again, all by signing up for rap's most outrageous soap opera franchise, Love and Hip Hop. With the notable exception of the positive and together family unity portrayed in T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, most rapper-led reality shows are not clear pathways to reviving musical success.
Kissing and Telling
Rappers shouldn't use their fame-slash-social media networks to broadcast all of their personal relationship dramas. The king of this is New York rapper Joe Budden, who has used the information superhighway more than once to get out his side of girlfriend troubles with urban models Tahiry Jose and Esther Baxter, both of whom have claimed physical abuse. Televised revenge might be coming, though; at least one of his exes is rumored to be on the next season of Love and Hip Hop.
Being a rap star does not excuse you from being a human being, particularly when it comes to roughing up women. Gucci Mane went to jail for pushing a woman out of a moving car, while Webbie (best known for the de facto rape anthem "Gimme That") allegedly pushed a woman down a flight of stairs for taking $300 from him. Not a good look for anyone trying to have female fans.