A Brief History Of The Cash Grab Verse
If you asked most people, they’d probably turn down the opportunity to have a raw sewage pipe running directly into their living room, tipping raw faeces on their head as they try and concentrate on The Football League Show. Despite this, Kanye West already has 760,000 followers on Twitter, making him nearly 40% as popular as that guy who makes up things his dad says for a living.
And while Kanye has never been one to recognise, say, appropriate attire or how to treat country starlets without appearing to have Aspergers, he has always been able to spot an opportunity to manufacture that all important “buzz” at 300 yards. Hence his recent tweet declaring that he was going to get Raekwon in the studio with him to do a Justin Bieber remix. And, being as 2010 is officially the year where every single thing Bieber does has to be blown up into some Tumblr-friendly meme, blows went ham at this.
There wasn’t much in the way of outrage, though: we’ve basically been conditioned, via years of rappers turning up on mediocre R&B and rock records, to consider verse-whoring to be the fifth element of hip-hop. But what about those occasions when rappers turn up on a pop track, clearly taking the money and running? Here’s 10 fine examples of guest verses on pop tracks by rappers who have absolutely no dignity whatsoever.
LFO ft MOP – Life Is Good
Could anything else really have kicked this countdown off? I’d have been happy for LFO’s sole contribution to rap to be that bit on the third Eminem album where he goes “New Kids On The Block sucked a lot of dick/ You faggots make me sick”, but apparently Steve Rifkind had other ideas, and as such the Dr Doolittle soundtrack was blessed with this. LFO get their Hanson or latter-period Let Loose on for a bit, before Danze and Fame turn up and start dropping Fried Chicken Soup for The Soul gems like “Life is real… live your life” and “Don’t talk down on your man unless you’re helping him up”. Makes you think, huh? Niggaz be thinking LFO stands for “luffo” and shit”.
Stacie Orrico ft Jin – More To Life (Ruff Ryder Remix)
Stacie Orrico was a Christian Contempoary Music artiste who, in 2003, got a brief push towards an outside shot at being a crossover pop star via some old tracks Dallas Austin never got the chance to foist off on Anastacia. She also cashed-in on her Mariah/Chris Houghton-esque unidentifiable ethnicity by recording a totally non-awkward pop video where, when she’s “black”, she’s robbing Mini Marts and being a teenage mother, and when she’s “white” she’s up in the boardroom sealing deals. Jin was a battle rapper who was a major success for a while before dudes like Serius Jones realized you could get the crowd on your side against him merely by going “a ching chong, a ching chong ching. Bwwwwwonnnggggg” for your 60 second verse-time. He was later signed to Ruff Ryders for reasons beyond anyone’s understanding. Put them together and you’ve got enough broken dreams to fill up a history of Arsenal for the past five seasons. Bonus points for the bit where Jin goes “this is not pop music”. I mean, in the sense that it’s not and was never going to be “popular” he’s right, but….
Victoria Beckham ft MOP – It’s That Simple
Billy Danze had a major gambling problem in the early 00s, right? I mean, between this, “Life Is Good”, and that time they advertised toothpaste, I can only assume he was rocking up to Betfred every lunchtime and hitting on 16 for an hour, before taking a short break to shove that month’s rent on the virtual racing. Research time for this article was filled with the hope that Damon Dash’s mercifully brief mentorship of Posh would have thrown up more examples of this kinda stuff, Peedi Crakk and Victoria trading bars on some cokey ish, or Uncle Murda and Dane Bowers in the studio together. Sadly this appears to be all that’s left of her hilariously shit attempt at cracking the US urban pop market. Funny that.
Shaggy ft Grand Puba – Why You Treat Me So Bad
Not gonna front, I miss those days when Shaggy would turn up every couple of years, dominate the charts for a minute, and then fuck off again. Now the only place to catch him is in the interview section of Wetherspoons Magazine, in the months that they’re not speaking to Phil Tufnell, appearing “on behalf of Baccardi”. This is probably the only track on this list that isn’t a goddamn embarrassment to all concerned. Video’s nice as well for the revelation that Puba gets turned on by having his ho’s dress up as 4 Non Blondes.
Eamon ft Milk Dee – Get Off My Dick
Ghostface is on this album as well, but being as he’s previously laced cuts by such irrelevancies as The 411, Another Level, MSTRKRFT and Trife Diesel, it’s pretty much impossible to pinpoint just one cashgrab from him. Milk Dee actually discovered Eamon as a 15-year-old (no Kogan), and presumably rather than putting money into a pension fund, it’s more appealing to rappers to prepare for their retirement by hoping they stumble into a one-hit wonder who can record a radio dominating novelty track for them. Pretty sure if you stripped the vocals off this and claimed it was recorded by a 19-year-old kid from Dudley who calls himself “Proffessa-X” or “Katakoom” you could get this joint to blow up on the dubstep blogs.
Mica Paris ft Rakim – Contribution
I didn’t even know Mica Paris had a music career, I just thought she was the woman they got to host shit TV shows when the fat Brummie from Big Brother 2 is otherwise engaged. Seriously, I’m far too young for this shit…. I think this is what all British music that wasn’t, like, The Wonder Stuff sounded like in 1990? Rakim may as well be Turbo B for all he adds to this track.
Texas ft Method Man and RZA – Say What You Want (Remix)
Apparently the equation works out as Texas + Meth and RZA = Garbage. Insofar in as it sounds like the Scottish alternative rock band of the late 90s, and also that it’s straight-up hot garbage. Bobby Digital must have been fucked stoked to realized he could claim a remix fee for just looping some half-assed faux-John Barry ish over the chorus. Just goes to show you should never mess with Texas.
Mark Morrison ft DMX – An Innocent Man
On one level, it’d be nice to talk about how the release of this song was delayed due to a court injunction from former Nottingham Forest and Everton striker Kevin Campbell. On another, let us just read some legitimate quotes from Mark: “I showed Leicester the love and that city never showed me the love back. That place has shown me nothing but contempt. I’m The Beatles of Leicester. I don’t see a Gary Lineker soccer school in Leicester. I don’t see an Engelbert Humperdinck or a Showaddywaddy singing school in Leicester. I came back.”
Of all the things that have been written by handwringing rap scholars about Kris over the years, one thing is proven 100% true by this: he’s no Supercat. Just to give you a clue of what KRS-One brings to the table: last.fm plays for “Fly” by Sugar Ray – 442,126. Last.fm plays for “Live and Direct” by Sugar Ray ft KRS-One – 192. Not really helping, huh? KRS-One actually drags this song down, and being as it sounds kinda like Ocean Colour Scene before he turns up, that’s quite impressive.
All Saints – Black Coffee remix ft Pusha T
From the post-“Audio Exclusive Footage”, pre-“Anyone giving a shit” era of Clipse, this would technically be the first time the Neptunes were on a UK #1 single, even if it was as the eleventh remix behind, sharing CD space with that UK garage act that did the “Sambucca” song. Still, the chance to hear a Pusha T verse with literally no puns based around the words “ki” or “gram” is an opportunity not to be passed up on, and All Saints vocals have a really weird echo-y quality like the first time you ever put a remix together in Audacity, so there’s something for everyone here.
This is the part of the article where, to hide the fact that we’ve clearly missed some really obvious stuff, and also to increase comments and thus page views, we “ask you” to name “your favourite” crap cashgrab verses.
Verbal Milk by Dom P