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Remember When Hip Hop Looked Like This?

VIBE_February_1998.jpgThe late-'90s weren't considered the best time to be a fan of Hip Hop, says many of us during the late-'90s. This point in semi-recent Hip Hop history marked a time of change, where Hip Hop was thriving and growing in the business sense, but foretold a grim future where creativity and commercialism would forever be mutually-exclusive. This was just ten years ago; the VIBE cover above is a depiction of days gone by. The choice of subjects is slightly questionable, however. Jay-Z belongs on this cover. LL and Method Man, much as well still love them, did not because their output at the time left something to be desired. But, Foxy, Kim, Lauryn and Missy (for what it was worth) represented a fair cross-section of female MCs. You won't get that today.

Design this VIBE cover for 2008. Who do you think should make the cover, versus who would?


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9 Responses

  1. I put my own twist on it and threw in a producer too along with a female R&B singer that is hip-hop friendly. Since female MC's are few in number and talent.
    The boys with swagger: TI, Jay, Kanye, and Wayne along with Jeezy, Soldier Boy, Polow Da Don, Keisha Cole and maybe Rick Ross would make the cover today. Who should IMO would be Jay and Kanye still along with Lupe, Andre 3000, Jay Electronica, David Banner(sorry I really like him), Jazmine Sullivan or Kerri Hilson and he's not my fave but I can't deny his impact......Lil Wayne. Sorry Nas it pains me but you just didn't cut it this year.

  2. Ooooh I LOVED this cover! This was the Feb '98 cover that was supposed to have been the best of '97. Most of them on the cover had just come off of like a year and a half of monster success or recent critical success for them in hip hop.
    Both Kim and Foxy had been killing it w/ their debuts from mid '96- mid '97 and then that '97 summer they both had huge guest spots or soundtracks (for Kim Ladies Night off the Nothing To Loose soundtrack and I Can Love You w/ Mary; for Foxy The Firm colab album came out in mid '97 and she had Big Bad Momma from the How to Be a Player Soundtrack that summer).
    Missy came out w/ Supa Dupa Fly in '97 which was huge.
    P really hit mainstream that year with his Ghetto D album and Make Umm Say Ungh (sp?) single.
    Busta had had two big years in a row in '96 and '97 w/ his debut album and follow-up cd.
    Although maybe not as obvious looking back, LL was receiving a lot of praise in hip hop right around the end of '97 for "rapping hard" again this was right after the 4,3,2,1 song and the "beef" w/ Cannibus so people were feeling his swagger right then.
    Lauryn was included more as anticipation of things to come based off of the success of The Score and If I Ruled the World w/ Nas and mainly The Sweetest Thing from the Love Jones soundtrack bc this was before The Miseducation dropped later in '98.
    I actually disagree that Jay-Z should have been included bc he was just coming off of Vol 1 at that time which was when he went through his "shiny suit" phase and people were like hmm let's thing about who's the best a little bit more, it was in '98 after dropping Vol 2 (Hard Knock Life) that he and DMX basically had the game on lock for the next few years but at that time I don't thin Jay-Z had as big a year as some of the others.
    What I do agree on is the inclusion of Meth. Maybe it was bc Wu had released an album in '97 and people were anticipating the 2nd Tical album that was coming out in '98...or maybe he had started acting - although Belly didn't come out until '98...so I agree that at least now I can't remember why he would have been included in the Best of the Year feature.

  3. MJB, Ne-Yo, Lil' Wayne, T.I, Kanye, Keyshia Cole, Common, should make the list.
    I hate to think about those who WOULD make the list.

  4. Artists that should make the cover today:
    established artists: jay z, nas, common, kanye, alicia keys, keyshia cole, mariah carey
    up&coming artists/underground: amanda diva, mystic, lupe, murs, deemi, ayah, elzhi

  5. Ok if Vibe did this cover in late 2008 they couldn’t have any females MC’s on it; because they are nonexistent and arguably the best female rapper in the game (Remy Ma) in currently incarcerated. In my opinion the cover should look like this; On one side you’d the “REAL RAPPERS” people that are versatile, people that can change up their flow, rappers that can do more than just sell ring tones and make you want to party. And on the other side you’d have all the TRASH that make rap almost unbearable these days. People whose rhyming skills are limited or people who can’t help but let ignorance fly out their mouth 90% of the time they speak. On the RAPPER’S SIDE you’d have: Jay- Z, Kanye West, 50 Cent (mostly because of his net worth), and T.I./Nas
    And on the trash side there would be: Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, T-Pain/Soulja Boy, and the worst of them all Plies.
    Now here is the tricky part, right now you’re probably asking yourself; ‘Where is Lil’ Wayne?’ Well he is smack-dab in the middle, because he is in a class all by himself. He is a “REAL RAPPER”, but because of the effects of the drugs (weed, syrup, cocaine, etc.) or because he’s just too damn lazy; he chooses to have to no point, destination, rhyme, reason, definition or meaning in anything that he says.

  6. @Shawn.Blaze: So basically Weezy would be on the gutter of the fold-out? LMAO!!! But you have a point; he really straddles the line between inspired and insipid.

  7. Now: Kanye, Jay-Z, Andre 3000, Nas, Common
    Next: JANELLE MONAE, Ne-Yo, WALE, the COOL KIDS, Kid Cudi, Jazmine Sullivan

  8. I cannot believe no one said Ludacris should be on the cover

  9. MC's only?
    Females: Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Jean Grae, Missy Elliot.
    Males: Common, Kanye West, MURS, and Lupe Fiasco. Maybe even Blu.



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