Rappers are weird. You have to be to talk about yourself all day for a living. What sets them apart from other professional talkers like politicians and pundits is the lack of a vested interested in saying the right thing. In hip-hop, a penchant for saying exactly what’s on your mind on the fly is an admirable trait, not the liability it can be for people in stuffier job settings. It helps that rappers historically cultivate a very colorful collection of views on the world and its inner workings. Get the right mind speaking on the right subject, and you strike crude oil. This week Atlanta rapper/singer B.o.B. kicked off a firestorm on Twitter as he delivered a tweet storm full of what he believes to be evidence challenging ages-old, agreed-upon astronomical fact, calling bullshit on the bend of the Earth and suggesting the planet is flat, not round. This isn’t the first time a rapper has taken a hard stance on outre science or elaborate alternative history, and it certainly won't be the last, so we figured we’d compare notes to see who the wokest rapper is.
Kendrick Lamar is just a regular guy who believes that a shadow of 2pac came to him in a dream to beg him to keep the legacy alive and closed out his last album with a six-minute interview of the deceased rapper from twenty years in the future. No biggie.
Woke level: 3 mortal men out of 5
Last August Alabama rapper Yelawolf posted a long, since-deleted Facebook screed blaming the summer’s drive to get Confederate flags removed from state property, a movement galvanized by a racist mass murder in a historical South Carolina church, on deliberate media misinformation and “fuck boys.” He’s since reconsidered. Yela is also a self-proscribed “alien nerd” and “space nerd” who may or not be "Looking for Alien Love."
Woke Level: 3.5 Box Chevys out of 5
A while back we had our good friend Bauce Sauce explore the lyrical, spiritual miracle that is Midwest rapper Chingy’s Instagram account. In between updates on his career and family life, Chingaling also uses the account to shower us in blessings and lessons about the secret realities of the physical and spiritual worlds, like this one from last fall where he teaches us that uh, the biblical serpent in Genesis’ Garden of Eden is a euphemism for sperm, and um.. the apple is the orgasm, and… yeah. He also endorsed Donald Trump for president for a while, whatever that might've been worth...
Woke level: 4 away calls out of 5
Where to begin? Lupe Fiasco has always been a political firebrand, like the time some genius hired him to perform at an Obama inauguration event the year after he called the president a terrorist and baby killer (and washed Bill O’Reilly for questioning it), and he proceeded to deliver a half-hour anti-Obama performance piece until event organizers got him the hell outta there. He’s not just woke about earthly matters, though: Check his story about being visited by aliens as a child for proof Fiasco’s got the whole universe covered.
Woke Level: 4 Lasers out of 5
B.o.B's Twitter meltdown today about the flatness of the Earth is turning heads (including famed astrophysicist and well-actually specialist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who gave a series of withering, fact-filled responses) but it's actually not the strangest stance he's taken there. Bobby's also got fairly detailed theories about secret government celebrity cloning programs and an overarching alien abduction plot if you listen close enough.
Woke Level: 4.5 Strange Clouds out of 5
As a member of Native Tongues affiliated New York rap group Brand Nubian, Lord Jamar helped usher Five Percenter knowledge into the hip-hop mainstream, changing the face of the culture in the process. Since, though, he mostly only gets called on to gripe about gays in hip-hop and a clandestine American plot to emasculate the black man through incremental advances in street fashion.
Woke Level: 4.5 Oz nude scenes out of 5
If you listen to a full Papoose mixtape you magically sprout a fitted to match the color and print of your shirt, a copy of The Art of War, and a network of conspiracy theories about secret societies orchestrating all of the world’s biggest catastrophies.
Woke Level: 4.5 Nacirema Dreams out of 5
The Mobb Deep legend warned us that the Illuminati wanted his mind, soul, and body twenty years ago on LL’s “I Shot Ya” remix, and he’s been waging war on em ever since, from prison letters accusing Jay Z of using nefarious means to advance in the business world and the FBI of suppressing the teachings of enigmatic, jailed black supremacist musician and theorist Dr. York to conspiracy theory talk with InfoWars head oddball Alex Jones.
Woke Level: 5 secret societies trying to keep their eye on me out of 5
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