Since the dawn of the 1990's, there have been hip hop artists who shine brightly at one thing and one thing only, then slowly fade into oblivion. They're the one-trick ponies of the r&b community, usually known for one phrase or attribute which is run into the ground by mainstream radio and then goes to no-man's land to die. I don't know exactly where, but it's the same place the Spin Doctors and the people who sang the Macarena went. [Related note: I've been listening to my 90's pop Pandora station a lot lately.]
I thought I'd take some time to salute a few of these connoisseurs of catchphrases and bring them back into the spotlight once again, if only for a moment.
Back in 2004, when "crunk" was still a thing and it was acceptable for rappers to carry around goblets dubbed "pimp cups," there was a show called Chapelle's Show. In one of the episodes, Chapelle played Lil Jon talking to himself on the phone in what I'd say was a pretty accurate portrayal , as the only words he said were "WHAT?" and "YEAH!" and "OH-KAY!" [The guys in my 10th grade class thought this was hilarious and took it upon themselves to carry on the joke--loudly-- for the remainder of the semester.]
With that, Lil Jon's fate was sealed.
According to Wikipedia, Lil Jon still does things, but no one will ever remember him for anything other than those three words he interjected in every song ever, yelled like someone on a manic rampage after just having escaped from an asylum. I can never tell whether Lil Jon is angry or ecstatic. Though he had notable hits including the moderately successful "Snap Yo Fingers" and "Bia Bia," Lil Jon is forever immortalized by his outbursts of those three iconic words behind more-famous people like Usher and Ludacris.
Oh, sweet T-Pain and your top hats. I actually kind of like this guy. But will he ever be known for anything other than That Guy Who Used A Lot Of Autotune? Probably not. Maybe The Guy From I'm On A Boat. Maybe. But mostly the autotune thing.
T-Pain brought autotune back into the spotlight after Cher tried 7 years earlier with "Believe" and totally failed (in my opinion). But don't worry Cher, the world just wasn't ready for it yet. You were just ahead of your time. Or you're just kind of old for autotuned dance music. You can choose.
T-Pain has also had some hit songs, including the touching ballad "I'm In Luv (Wit A Stripper)," but once again his reputation precedes him and he will be forever That Autotune Guy PARENTHESES No, The One With The Top Hat. But hey, at least you have a top hat collection instead of a pimp cup collection. Because you're classy like that, T-Pain. Don't ever change.
Fun Fact: I just found out his real name is Faheem Rasheed Najm. No wonder he goes by T-Pain.
Quick. What are the words to that Missy Elliott song? Y'know…that one that goes…"nick flur flippa flippa flum yet!" That one. At least that's how I sing it. (I dare you to sing it better.)
That's what Missy Elliott will be remembered for. That and being the token girl rapper. Whenever you needed a girl rapper (and Eve was busy), Missy Elliot was what you got. Am I right? It's taken about 10 years for anyone to come remotely close to being the new official Girl Rapper, but Nicki Minaj has officially filled that void, so i'd say Missy's time is over. So hang up your track suit, Missy. It's time to pass the torch.
Who's your favorite one-trick pony artist?