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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Will the South rise again? Not with OJ leading the way

Atlanta rapper OJ Da Juiceman finds himself in the spotlight (and crosshairs) since being included in XXL magazine's 2010 list of Top 10 Freshmen. This list is comprised of 10 artists that are supposedly leaps and bounds ahead of their competition in the rap game. In other words, artists expected to become household names.

If the above video is a freestyle from an artist predicted to blow, I might need to pick up the mic myself. How tough can it be to come up with better rhymes than, "Six rings on like a basketball player/Freshman of the year like a basketball, pla-yaa." What does that even mean?!

OJ delivers a 14-second freestyle (and that includes his "Aye!" ad-lib) that sounds more like a patient in the mental ward mumbling to himself. For years, southern rappers have fought to gain the respect that comes too easily to their East and West coast peers. Artists like OutKast, UGK and Devin the Dude were long overlooked by other regions because it was thought that since they were from the South, they wouldn't be able to complete full syllables. Written off as "bamas," MCs below the Mason-Dixon line often had to come harder than anyone else just to earn an honorable mention in national hip-hop mags.

Now that the spotlight is on the South, it seems that instead of focusing on mind-blowing lyricists, the artists who fit the southern stereotype are being championed by MTV, BET and the like. OJ's 1017 Brick Squad labelmate Waka Flocka recently told MTV that he's "not into being lyrical," he's "just trying to get crunk."

Rap fans everywhere have responded to OJ's stamp of approval by XXL. On 2Dopeboyz, readers took Da Juiceman to task, while others praised him for his "lyrical prowess" (I couldn't type that without laughing):

Was he supposed to be rappin in this video cause if so I couldn’t tell… -DynamicShots

I LOVE U BOY AND YOUR MUSIC -Tyeasha

Honestly I would he taken Wack Flacka Flame over OJ. At least he doesnt do that scortum[sic] piercing “AY!” There’s no way a man his age should be able to make a piercing yelp that high. -Spaceman

at least he actually went off the top of the dome, Man Oj a beast. going over yall simple n*ggas head, yall will never understand trap music. he said basketball player twice to symbolize how schools are more woried[sic] about getting rings (6 rings) and trophies by giving hoopers full rides not caring about Acidemics[sic]. Open your eyes to a true words smith[and again sic]. -Real Tik Aye!!!

real tik aye, you just gave a completely irrelevant connotation to that freestyle. i understood the 6 rings as his stupid amount of jewelry, the basketball player line(s) has no underlying message of school, and i find it very insulting to call him a true wordsmith. -Bonez

Either way, congrats to OJ for being on the list alongside J. Cole, Freddie Gibbs, Fashawn, Nipsey Hussle, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Jay Rock and fellow Atlanta fire spitters Pill and Donnis.

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