9 Artists I Cannot Be Objective About Because All They Make Is Beautiful Music (and Things)

Illustration for article titled 9 Artists I Cannot Be Objective About Because All They Make Is Beautiful Music (and Things)
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On December 17, 2020, Scott Mescudi, professionally known to the world as Kid Cudi, dropped a sneaker collabo with shoe and apparel brand Adidas called the Vadawam 326, so named after his daughter, Vada—the 326 is a reference to her birthday, March 26. Cudi’s shoe looked like it could have EASILY been a Yeezy shoe (Kanye West’s brand housed at Adidas) with its meshing of various materials, bulky silhouette, velcro straps and just, weird collection of pieces to make a shoe. When I first saw the shoe in pictures I honestly had no idea what I was even looking at. It’s purely lifestyle; I can’t imagine doing anything else in this shoe other than taking pictures with it. The online chatter about it was polarizing.


Well, to everybody but me. I knew as soon as I saw the shoes I was going to at least try to get a pair of one of the two options (there are two colorways). Despite the exceedingly bulky look, the hefty $180 price tag and the fact that I legitimately couldn’t tell if they looked cool or not, I knew that I’d be waiting on Dec. 17 to get my cop on. Whether everybody wanted them or nobody wanted them, I wanted them for one reason and one reason only: Kid Cudi.

(I managed to get a pair.)

You see, as it turns out, I cannot be objective about Kid Cudi. I want him to win. If it’s associated with Cudi, I tend to automatically give it the benefit of the doubt and start from a place of, “Wow, this is fucking amazing.” If it’s not very good, it is simply not as good as other projects that are wonderful. But I mean, even then, we’re so much better off for Cudi making music than we are if he quit. Kid Cudi released the third installment of his Man On The Moon album series on Dec. 11, a week before the shoes dropped. It is called Man on The Moon III: The Chosen. And you know what? I love it. You should check it out. I saw some album reviews that called it underwhelming. How? Where? Cannot compute. I mean, have you heard Kid Cudi hum? This dude’s hum game is top-notch. Nobody hums like him. Ain’t a church lady alive who can see Cudi when it comes to humming. Is he the best lyricist ever? OK, no. But I mean, he sounds good dropping sometimes mediocre bars. Point is, I cannot be objective about Kid Cudi, who had me sitting up at 6 a.m. one Thursday in December trying to buy shoes I don’t even know if I like (I love them, because Cudi).

As it turns out, Kid Cudi (1) isn’t the only artist that I can’t be objective about. There are at least 8 others. Wrote a song about it! Like to hear it? Here it go. (I did not write a song about it.)

2. SWV

Sisters With Voices...from heaven. Don’t start none about SWV won’t be none about SWV.

3. Jagged Edge

I mean this with all seriousness: I have no idea how everybody doesn’t love them and view them as one of the best R&B groups ever. Have you listened to their last album, A Jagged Love Story? Whole album bangs. Deadass. I’ve listened to that album more than any other over the past five months than ANY. Everything they do is good and will always be good.


4. Amel Larrieux

In the mid-’90s she said to tell her if I wanted to give her all my time. I do. Musically. Thank you. If you think anything she does isn’t good, I don’t know what to tell you. So I won’t tell you nathan.


5. Donny Hathaway

This doesn’t even need an explanation. I own almost every single recording of anything he did because it’s all good. Not like MC Hammer said, “it’s all good.” Like, actually, all good.


6. Phyllis Hyman

I wrote a whole article about how much I love her. That hasn’t changed. And it won’t. Everything she’s ever done is perfect. All classics, b. All classics.


7. Fela Kuti

Have you ever experienced an artist where before you even knew who you were listening to you liked everything that you heard? That’s Fela for me. If you give him a chance, it could be him for you, too. Super facts. What? Exactly.


8. Jidenna

I think I’ve reached the point where I’m enthusiastically in the “fan” camp for Jidenna. I was critical early on and for no good reason. His first album was dope AF. But his second album, 85 to Africa, is easily one of my favorite albums of the past 10 years. Even his loosies are all good. If you ask me about music I’m more than likely to mention Jidenna at this point. You’re welcome.


9. Ray J

Oh come on, you knew he was going to be here. Hate him or love him, his music is high-level entertainment of the highest mid-ground order. I even like his RayCon earpods and bought some BunnyRayz breakable glasses. Don’t you be talkin’ bad ‘bout Ray J! Plus, he gave us “One Wish.” He’s good forever.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



It’s depressing as fuck when one of your favorites exits this list, though. I was this way with Smashing Pumpkins for decades, but I’ve been so underwhelmed by everything they’ve done for years. I downloaded their newest album a month ago and still haven’t even listened to it.

Talib Kweli also departed the “I’ll fuck with them forever” list within the last few months, for very different reasons.