2007, or as I’d like to call it, HELL. How I feel about 2007 is exactly how I felt about 2006. Even though 2006 was much worse, that’s not to say that 2007 was any good because it wasn’t. All of the same trends from the previous year remained, the ringtone rap, the brain-killing club music, the bland R&B and pop, etc. With the exception of the good stuff, I would love to forget about this year altogether. It was torture getting through that year’s chart. Nonetheless, I managed to put together the list of the worst that 2007 had to offer. It wasn’t easy. Let’s do this.
We start things off with T-Pain. At his best, T-Pain is an exuberant character who adds personality to a track. At his worst, you get bland rice material like Buy U A Drank. Everything in this song is just dull, especially the beat. The melody is weaksauce and is drowned out by the bass and snaps. It tries to set a relaxing mood and it ends up being background music that no one pays any attention to at all. The Auto-Tune used in this song doesn’t sound good at all, it doesn’t mesh with the beat that well and it sucks away any personality that could be found. T-Pain wasn’t even trying here as while he’s chatting with some unnamed dame, he references a ton of other hip-hop songs for no good reason. Oh, and there’s an obligatory rap verse courtesy of Yung Joc, who sucked as usual. My goodness, this is a pile of bland nothingness.
You all remember Sean Kingston, right? The reggae-pop sensation from ten years ago who has made a lot of generic crap. And it’s appropriate that we talk about his breakout single Beautiful Girls. The song is produced by J.R. Rotem, a guy who was responsible for a handful of hits in the late 2000s AND one of the laziest producers of all time. His gimmick revolves around obvious and lazy sampling. I’ve said this when I talked about Anaconda: there’s a difference between taking something old and create something new out of it AND a blatant rip-off. J.R. Rotem does a lot of the latter. In Beautiful Girls, he samples the Ben. E King classic Stand By Me and the only thing he did to the sample was add drum machines, that’s it. No effort whatsoever. Then we have Sean Kingston singing about feeling suicidal because he couldn’t make things work with a beautiful girl. Hey, Sean. A word of advice.
You know what’s funny? When this song was playing on Radio Disney and other stations, the word “suicidal” was replaced with “in denial,” which I think is much better since it’s not hyperbolic. Anyways, crap song with a lazy sample. Not much else needs to be said.
Kelly Clarkson isn’t the only artist who made a successful career out of American Idol. Enter Carrie Underwood, who after her AI victory, has quickly rose into one of the biggest names in country music with countless hits under her belt, including Before He Cheats. This song is a tale of Carrie at home while her boyfriend is out with the boys for drinks when she starts worrying that he might be out cheating, so in order to send a message to him, she keys his truck, carves her name in the seats, smashes the headlights with a baseball bat, and slashes out the tires. Now what’s wrong here? What could be the problem that puts this song on the list? Well, it’s simple: Carrie Underwood is a goddamn psychopath. Setting aside the fact that vandalism is a crime, this could have been justified if she actually caught her boyfriend cheating, but going by the lyrics, that’s not what happened. She destroyed his property based on the THOUGHT of him cheating, not because he DID cheat. This is not how rational human beings act. These are the actions of an overly-attached girlfriend who would pounce on any woman who even dares look at her boyfriend. This is why details are important when writing a story within a song: if you want the audience to sympathize with you, you need to give them a reason to do so. What if you found a hickey on his neck? What if while you were washing his clothes, you find another girl’s number in his pants or jacket? Hell, what if you come home from work and catch the two in bed? Details like that gives your plight gravitas and we get none of that from Before He Cheats, and as a result, you make Harley Quinn look like a sane person. Fellas, if you find out your girlfriend trashed your car because she thought you were cheating when you weren’t or she wanted to send you a message, get the hell out of there ASAP.
Dear Jesus. Gwen, is there ever a time when you’re not embarrassing yourself with these train wrecks you call songs? If Hollaback Girl and Rich Girl weren’t bad enough, we have Wind It Up, which might be one of the worst things that Gwen Stefani has ever made, which is saying something. First off, the beat. I don’t know what it is about female pop singers, but they seem to bring out the worst in Pharrell and Chad Hugo (The Neptunes) because this production is horrendous. The messy percussion, warbling bass, and off-key strings clash with each other to create a mish mash of noise. It’s a fricking clusterfuck and not helping is Gwen at her worst vocally. She’s using the same “na na, na na” voice from Hollaback Girl like she’s teasing the listener. And that’s not even the worst part. No, THAT goes to the yodeling. Fucking Christ, that yodeling. If I made a list of the worst moments in a song, this would easily be top 10. There is no way I can take this song seriously with that yodeling and even for a party song, it sucks because of how shitty it sounds. Overall, *in Donald Trump’s voice* it’s a disaster.
Oh, boy. The flashbacks that this song is generating. This, right here, is something. Aside from the obvious Earth, Wind & Fire sample and somewhat decent T-Pain hook, the main reason why Shawty by Plies is bad is because of one simple element: Plies. Fucking Plies. Now I normally don’t have a problem with Southern accents: I have family and friends from the South and some of my favorite rappers are from that region of the country. But Plies? Dear Odin, this guy’s voice is the worst I have ever heard in rap. He has one of those accents that are so thick and incoherent that you’d thought he was taught English from Boomhauer. And it affects how he raps. Every word is slurred and stretched to the point of incomprehension, which makes figuring out what the hell he’s saying a hair-pulling task, adding to instances where’s he rhyming words that don’t rhyme at all. Oh, and this is another “thugs need love, too” song. Oh, joy. And it’s as romantic as you’d expect it to be.
First Time I Caught Her Shit, She Aint Even Know How To Throw It Back
Now She An Animal, I Got Her Sex Game Right
I Taught Her How To Talk To Me While She Take Pipe
& Opened Her Up & Showed Her What A Real Nigga Like
I Told Her I Don’t Usually Do This, I Don’t Fuck On The First Night
Cause After I Beat Ya Baby I’m Liable To Fuck Up Ya Whole Life
I Gotta Train Her, Now She Suck Me With Ice
Know Why They Wanna Beat Badly, Look At All That Ass On Her
Look How That Pussy Sit Up In Them Shorts, You Gotta Want Her
Love When She Act Like She Bo-Legged & Bend The Corner
She Proud To Be Fuckin Me, Cause I’m Stuntin On ’em
It Feel Good To Be Fuckin A Real Nigga Don’t’uh
If You Done Ripped Her Before, You Know How To Cuff Lil Mama
You Know She Gotta Be Somethin, Cause I Done Beat Her Under
Im Baby Snatchin, I’m Tellin Ya, I Promise
I Exposed Her To Real, & Now She Hate Lame
Member She Used To Run From Me, Now She Like Pain
I think this says enough. Oh, one last thing. Plies is always talking about being a real nigga with all of his non-radio friendly songs about engaging in criminal behavior, yet he’s been exposed as a fraud thanks to sources like Jamie Foxx and HipHopDX. No wonder he and Rick Ross get along so well.
Oh, look. Our good friends from up north, Nickelback, are on a Worst Songs list. Again. This time, it’s a tie between Rockstar and If Everyone Cared, two of their worst songs to date. I don’t want to repeat the same criticisms that I had for their previous songs because they’re obvious. Fortunately, these songs give me more to work with. Rockstar is about wanting to be a rock star and having all of the nice things that comes with it: fame, money, booze, women, shiny things, expensive material items, things that you already have and can afford, you FUCKING ASSHATS!! You know, these wish fulfillment songs only work when you’re a first-time artist trying to catch a break in the industry, not when you’ve been famous for nearly a decade and have sold millions of records. This song is a joke and not even a funny one. It’s less of a satire and more of a peak inside Chad Kroeger’s mind. I’ll give him this, at least he was honest about what he wants. I did a Target Practice on If Everyone Cared last year and I think I might’ve been too kind to it. It’s a pretentious pile of crap that says absolutely nothing but a bunch of vague quotes that you see on memes online. This is what happens when Nickelback tries to write a deep song, they have no idea what the hell they’re doing. At least with Rockstar, they’re in their comfort zone of who they are. That song is shit, but it’s still who they are at their core. Canada, you owe us more than an apology for this crap. Speaking of Canada…
You know? When I was making these lists for the 2000s, some people noticed a lack of Avril Lavigne in both my Best AND Worst lists, especially since Avril was a big deal at the time. To tell you the truth, I’m indifferent towards Avril Lavigne. She walks the line between pop-punk and straight-up pop music and her songs have been… okay. I never liked her music nor did I disliked it, it was just okay. That was until she released Girlfriend. *sighs* Avril, why’d you have to go and make things so complicated? The best description I can give this song is noise. The instrumentation is clunky and loud to the point of being unlistenable. Add in constant shouting to this 3 and a half minute long nonstop assault to your eardrums and you’ll get torture that even Guantanamo Bay would object to. Even worse is the lyrics where Avril is trying to take another woman’s boyfriend with the maturity of a YouTube video’s comments section and she’s doing a piss-poor job at trying to convince this guy to leave his girlfriend for her (Avril). This is the point where Avril’s bad girl attitude became less endearing and more annoying. Oh, and for some buttfucking reason, there’s a rap breakdown. I now see where Taylor Swift got inspiration for Shake It Off. Wait. Childish arrogance, weak percussion, rap breakdown, bitchy cheerleader vibe? They’re the same fucking song. How did I not see that before? Shake It Off is now even worse in my eyes now that I know that it ripped off Girlfriend. Fuck both of these songs.
There’s been a lot of songs that gives people the creeps and this is one of them. Now, I generally don’t mind Akon, even if his voice can be grating at times and he has appeared in some really bad songs. So who thought that this song was a good idea? This is I Wanna Love You or I Wanna Fuck You if you’re going by the explicit version. This entire song is just creepy as all hell, starting with the production. Okay, we need to make a rule: unless you’re intentionally making a horror song, music boxes should be banned from production because they never sound good in club music. That, combined with the warbling synths and booming bass, just creates a feeling of dread and unsettlement like you’re in a Stephen King novel. Akon himself (singing at his nasally worst) only adds to the dread while chatting with a stripper he wants to bang, but the way he presents himself is like a predator hiding their true selves underneath a cloth of gentleman-like posture. What’s worse is the line, “you already know,” like he can read minds. That is predator talk right there. I don’t know what woman would be cool with this. I guarantee you those who are will be the ones who’ll wake up in a strange hotel room in Mexico with either a sore anus or vagina (or both). Snoop Dogg shows up and he was pretty bad here, too, adding more creepiness to this rapist anthem. If this song had a face, this is what it would look like.
EVERY GODDAMN RINGTONE RAP SONG!!
Now, you’re gonna have to pardon me on this one because there’s gonna be less analysis and more of me ranting because I feel some type of way about these particular songs and it’s best for me to get it all out of my system unfiltered. Now that you’ve been warned, time to unleash the dragon.
Let me make something clear to you: I love hip-hop. I have loved hip-hop ever since I was 13 years old. Even through its peaks and valleys, old or new, my love for the music has not changed ever. Now what I’m going to say next might paint me as an elitist backpacker in the eyes of some, but it all comes from the heart and I’m not gonna apologize for it. Here we go. *deep breath* I FUCKING HATE RINGTONE RAP!! I really do. I hate this pitiful fusion of rap and pop music. This is music that’s catered to the lowest common denominator, cheaply made and sold for the purpose of ringtone sales and quick money. All of these fucking songs have the same formula: shitty preset FL Studio beats, repetitive hooks/choruses, rapping so elementary and so devoid of creativity, wit, and effort that even my own nephew could come up with something more intellectually complex, no interesting or new topics, and in some cases, a stupid trendy dance to appeal to easily-impressed middle-schoolers. There. I just summed up all 6 of the songs above and many more like them. It’s further evidence of the music industry’s commercialization and bastardization of what hip-hop used to be. Great hip-hop is supposed to have dope rhymes, flow, personality, and strong beatwork. Ringtone rap has none of these things. It’s all a stupid gimmick concocted and pushed by a bunch of middle-aged white label executives who know very little of hip-hop outside of radio and television and don’t care as long as there’s a monetary gain for them. That’s why they have no problem promoting destructive coon behavior while anything that has a resemblance of a brain is either pushed aside or isn’t as successful. And it’s not just the labels, it’s also the audience of this music as well. There are people out there who don’t give a shit about the art or the culture or what these artists are saying in their lyrics as long as the song is catchy and/or the beats makes their speakers rumble. They are the ones who are making these shitty songs successful. Look, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a good time and party, there’s always a time and place for that and there’s great music catered towards that mood. But when this stupid shit takes up most of the charts and people think this is what hip-hop is all about while legitimately talented artists gain no traction or are forced to sacrifice artistic integrity for success, then it becomes a problem. The sad part about all of this? Ten years later, ringtone rap didn’t die, it has evolved. Thanks to social media, YouTube, and apps like Vine and Musical.ly, these songs now have a new place to thrive and infest the charts like a virus. If acts like Silento, IHeartMemphis, the guys who made JuJu On That Beat, etc., are any indication, the spirit of ringtone rap will continue to live on and turn into something much, much worse. The best thing I can do as a music fan is to keep supporting good hip-hop and share it with others so they can do the same thing.
Before we get to number one, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Jim Jones-We Fly High
- Baby Boy Da Prince-The Way I Live
- Bow Wow-Shortie Like Mine
- Ciara-Like A Boy
- Rich Boy-Throw Some Ds
- Hellogoodbye-Here (In Your Arms)
- 50 Cent ft Justin Timberlake & Timbaland-Ayo Technology
- Crime Mob ft Lil Scrappy-Rock Yo Hips
- Hinder-Better Than Me
And finally, the worst song of 2007…
It’s Crank That.
If you’re disappointed that I once again went with an obvious choice, sorry, not sorry. Many months ago, I said that this song was gonna top this list and going through every song on 2007’s Year-End chart hasn’t changed that decision. Crank That by Soulja Boy (I refuse to use the Tell Em because fuck that nonsense) is a tremendously atrocious piece of audio trash. Not one iota of good qualities are present in this piece of shit. It’s very rare when you come across a song where the more you listen to it, the more problems you discover and with Crank That, Soulja Boy’s lack of talent as both a rapper and producer shine way too bright. Let’s start with the beat: it’s shit. It’s nothing but FL Studio preset samples that anyone can recreate in five or ten minutes, the fake, repetitive steel drum melody, the overdramatic, out of place stabs, and weak snap percussion. I’ve heard rookie producers make better beats on their first try. Soulja Boy himself is one of the most self-absorbed, arrogant, unlikable dickholes that rap has ever shitted out. A guy only motivated by money and attention who has no sense of self-awareness in thinking he’s the shit. And now we get to the rapping. Soulja Boy is easily Top 5 worst rapper of all time. His incoherent slurring, just like Plies, makes it hard to understand what he’s saying. More than half of this song is the hook and it is repetitive as shit. There’s no flow and there’s constant yelling. Drinking game not to play: take a shot anytime someone shouts “OH” or “YOUUUUUUU.” Trust me. Your liver will thank you and you’ll live to see another day. As for lyrics?
Oh, you silly fools. Lyrics are an afterthought. On a serious note, considering how terrible Soulja Boy is as a rapper, do you honestly expect these lyrics to be good? He makes all of the mistakes that bad rappers make: rhyme words with themselves, rhyming words that don’t rhyme, repeat the same phrase more than once, etc. All of these lines have different levels of stupidity to them like it was all recorded on first take. Being that it is a ringtone rap song, there’s also a dance attached to it, the “Superman that hoe” (no, I refuse to acknowledge the Urban Dictionary definition which paints the act, along with supersoak that hoe, in a sexual manner) along with the Robocop and the Roosevelt, whatever the hell those mean. Crank That is one of those historically bad songs that my hatred has no limit to. I hate this song for being as bad as it is, I hate that it became as successful as it did, and I hate the repercussions that came out after its wake and how influential it low-key was on today’s shitty hip-hop. Giving congratulations to Crank That for being the worst song of 2007 feels gross, so here’s what it gets instead.
So those were the worst songs of 2007. Next month, BACK TO THE 2000s continue with the Worst Songs of 2008.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
Ante Up Remix-M.O.P. ft Busta Rhymes, Teflon, & Remy Martin
Move Your Feet-Junior Senior