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1520 Sedgwick Avenue: The BRA Tournament, Pimp C Bracket, First Round Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Posted by Andy Hutchins in 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Rockabye, The BRA Tournament.
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It’s a time-honored tradition in hip-hop to spend more time squawking about who the “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All Time, for the uninitiated) is, or squabbling over who the “Best Rapper Alive” is, than actually listening to their music and reacting to it at a personal, critical level.

Still, the idea of settling it all still fires passions and drives page views, so VIBE is doing a month-long, pale imitation of what could be a great idea. Here’s your bracket. Let’s hop in.

So I’m picking who I want to advance, who I’m voting for, and, counting the Internet’s and humanity’s proclivitites for stupidity, picking who I think will advance. (And some cases, one person will fit both.)

We continue with the Pimp C Bracket. one of the better ones, by theme. (Thematically, I know what I would do to populate this, but I’ll get to that later.)

1) Lil Wayne vs. 16) Trina

I like this one Trina song.

It’s too bad Lil Wayne is on it, and better, and on some kind of incredible run right now, in that he’s turned nonstop non sequiturs, rapping about his lean addiction, and an extended metaphor about him being a Martian into a long stint atop the game.

8) Lil Boosie vs. 9) Webbie

A meteor could fall on each of them and I wouldn’t know the difference. Or care.

Here’s their posse cut. I’ll take Lil Boosie, because, well, I don’t care.

5) Bun B vs. 12) Devin the Dude

I’ll be honest: Devin the Dude is one of the few people in this entire tournament who I hadn’t heard an entire verse from.

So I listened to this. He’s a decent guy, certainly not on his co-stars’ level, and certainly the dude who smokes up for about three hours before going on stage, but he’s refreshingly honest about how nice making music is as jobs go.

Bun B, though, is on another level, and he’s both legend and sentimental favorite in this bracket.

4) Scarface vs. 13) 8 Ball

It’s odd to think that Scarface was once one of the most-respected MCs out. The Geto Boys aren’t really recording anymore, despite a recent abortive attempt, and Bushwick Bill’s doing gospel-hop. So we have things like this as his evidence; not too many others in this tournament will have videos of that vintage.

8 Ball’s not even the best guy on this song, even though Three Six are still the best Oscar-winners currently rhyming, so that should tell you where this match-up is: Somewhere between Obscure and Forgotten.

Still, Scarface ‘s name alone holds some cachet, right?

6) Young Jeezy vs. 11) Rick Ross

This is probably the juiciest lower half of a bracket in the tournament, and it starts with two of the biggest “hustlers” working in the game.

Jeezy’s got one really good album to his credit, and one of my favorite hood anthems is his, but he’s been the sideshow to Kanye lately, actually going into the studio to record the ad-libs for “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and getting totally overshadowed on the massive “Put On” by Mr. West’s vulnerable verse.

Still, he’s nothing like Ross, who’s embroiled in a hysterical spat with the blogs over his past as a corrections officer (Nah Right has an excellent recap), and, at the same time, just like him: Neither one of these guys was ever selling anything on the level they’ve claimed to, and they’re only above-average rappers at best.

They’re really in the hustler lane of a Jay-Z, but nowhere near his gear. Ross got shown up by Jay on “Maybach Music“; Jigga did the same to Jeezy on “Go Crazy.” But in a battle of pretenders to the throne, Young Jeezy is the better and more popular one.

3) Ludacris vs. 14) Young Dro

Luda’s fallen far from his prime and his title as hip-hop’s best guest artist got snatched by Weezy about three years ago, but he still gets great beats, and his versatility is pretty impressive.

Dro is probably better known as a T.I. affiliate, but that “Shoulder Lean” song, man, that…well, it pretty much means he’s always going to be better known as a T.I. affiliate.

So that was easy: Ludacris.

7) Chamillionaire vs. 10) Paul Wall

It’s like the clash for Houston’s screwed-up soul. Somehow, that comes down to a rapper who’s forsaken the n-word and most profanity and the only white rapper in this tournament (besides Eminem), who’s probably best known for his grill and his talk about his grill.

Cham’s earned the great nickname of “Mixtape Messiah” (Vol. 4 drops in August; this is from it) by dropping fire in the streets and on the ‘Webs, but he’s better known for “Ridin’” (Universal has to love that this version of that video, maybe one of the worst-plotted in the history of music videos, has six million more views than theirs). The forgotten thing about Koopa, though, is that his switch to a more thoughtful posture brought about songs like this, which is just great from all angles, except any one that shows his unfortunately-shaped face. (It’s good that he’s got money and can rap.)

Paul Wall, similarly unpretty, came to the scene with a cameo in “Grillz,” has failed to best a better rapper than Mike Jones, and appeared on a Brooke Hogan song. And I’m not sure he even knows how to rhyme about things other than Texas and gleaming orthodontics.

Chamillionaire in a walk.

2) T.I. vs. 15) Shawty Lo

It’s the Bankhead Battle.

Tip’s said he was from Bankhead forever; Shawty Lo did some investigating and found Clifford’s yearbook picture from another school. It got a little Internet buzz for a guy only known for being the original artist on this monstrous beat before the Re-Up Gang, Crooked I, and half of hip-hop demolished it…

…but it also got Shawty annihilated here by a vastly superior rapper who basically brushed off an ant with “Whether I still live in the hood or just visit/Whatever you can do in the hood, I done did it.” He might be overrated as a #2 seed, but T.I. couldn’t possible lose to a nobody, right?

I’m back tomorrow with the 2Pac bracket. It starts with a bang.

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