There are several different facets that go into making a hit record in the rap industry. Sometimes it all comes down to the beat, other times, it's the lyrics - or it could even be a dance associated with a song that completely catches fire. Because it's so hard to predict, there have been a slew of rappers that have popped up over the years that have had instant success from the beginning. A lot of these rappers have shown lots of promise, but ultimately, they haven't been able to match the high expectations put on them. In the following article, we list 13 rappers from all over the US who started their careers with lots of excitement and instant fame, but for some reason or another, they never lived up to their potential. See below:
In the rap game, one catchy single can propel you from anonymity to instant notoriety. In 2011, San Francisco rapper Kreayshawn dropped her popular single “Gucci Gucci” which instantly blew up on YouTube. Columbia Records immediately caught wind of her buzz and signed her for a close to million dollar deal. The record label also spent a hefty budget on nationwide promotions for their new star. But even with all this legwork, when her album dropped in September of 2012, it was a complete failure. Since then, the rapper has been completely quiet – the last bit of news about her dropped in 2013 when she revealed on Twitter that she’d just had a baby boy. So many people expected her to be the next female rap star, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
12 Trinidad James:
In the rap game, rappers can get hot really quickly, and then in a just a matter of months, it’s almost like that rapper never existed. This is what happened in 2012 with Atlanta rapper Trinidad James. He exploded on the scene with a hit single “All Gold Everything” that became an instant club smash. It even featured a remix with Atlanta legends T.I. and Young Jeezy. He was signed to a $2 million deal by Def Jam records. But that was all the buzz he’s enjoyed to date. He was never really able to put out a string of follow-up hits, and a beef he foolishly started by dissing all NYC rappers didn’t help him either. Earlier this year, Def Jam dropped him from his deal, and it’s back to the drawing board now for him. It’s a shame, because he had such a unique style and image, but maybe he can reemerge and still salvage his career.
11 J. Kwon
St. Louis rapper J.Kwon popped up on the scene in 2004 with a nation-wide hit called “Tipsy.” It immediately became a night club anthem and a hot track on college campuses everywhere. He was signed to So So Def, the popular record label owned by rap mogul Jermaine Dupri. The following year, he also had another notable track with a song he did for the soundtrack of the film XXX: State of the Union, starring Ice Cube. But since then, it’s been pretty much crickets from J.Kwon in the last ten years. He had a really catchy rapping style and a great record label behind him. But somehow all that potential he showed never materialized into much.
The rapper Buddy comes from Compton, and in 2011, everyone expected him to be the next rap hero from the West Coast. One of the main reasons for all the high expectations is that he was signed to a record label called I AM OTHER which is owned by the one and only Pharrell Williams. His first single and video titled “Awesome Awesome” came out to some decent buzz, but nothing else seemed to really advance in his fledgling career. Even earlier this year, he released a Pharrell-produced single called “Smoke Signals” featuring Miley Cyrus. But even that didn’t get his career on track. All is not lost though – he is still young and he’s talented, so there is a lot of time for him to fulfil his potential.
9 Lil Twist:
The rapper Lil’ Twist is originally from Dallas, and he was signed to his first record deal with Lil Wayne’s YMCMB record label at a very young age. He has appeared on several Cash Money albums and has developed a huge following with young teenage girls all over the country. However, his career seems to constantly be halted by getting into trouble and partying too much. He used to be part of Justin Bieber’s inner-circle crew, and together with his brother Lil Za, they were known for partying hard (with pills and weed) and raising hell in Bieber’s California mansion. Just recently, he caught robbery and assault charges for attacking a Nickelodeon star named Chris Massey. Understandably, youth comes with lots of bad judgment, but hopefully Twist can get his career together before his young career spirals completely out of control.
8 Chief Keef:
There was a bidding war by several record labels in the summer of 2012 for a certain Chicago rapper named Chief Keef. He was on the heels of releasing a catchy single named “I Don’t Like.” The song went from being a local hit to a viral sensation in no time – Kanye West even did an official remix featuring Jadakiss, Big Sean and Pusha T. He ended up signing a major deal with Interscope Records that was reportedly for $6 million for 3 albums. However since then, Keef has been in and out of jail, and the music he’s been putting out has been unfocused and pretty crappy. The silver lining is that he’s only still 19-yrs-old. He might just be able to straighten himself out and still make something positive from his career.
7 Rockie Fresh:
6 Young Chris:
Young Chris is from Philadelphia and in the early 2000’s, he was signed to Jay-Z and Dame Dash’s Roc A Fella records label. Back then he was part of a duo called the Young Gunz, and they had a couple of hit singles. But their label deal fizzled out after the Jay-Z and Dame Dash split. He then started pursuing a solo career around 2007. He was always one of the most skilled rappers on the Roc A Fella roster, so most people thought he would be a successful solo artist. But to date, he really hasn’t had any major hits to boast of, and at the age of 31, the window is quickly closing on him having a resurgence in his career.
5 Azealia Banks:
Harlem rapper Azealia Banks first debuted on the scene in 2011 with her breakthrough hit single “212” paying homage to the area code of where she resides. The song caught on rather quickly and became a certified indie smash. She followed that up with her EP 1991 and another mixtape titled Fantasea, all in the same year. She was a huge draw within the fashion crowd and she developed a strong international following too. Everything was gearing up for a blockbuster release of her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste. However in the last two years, she’s gotten into distracting and pointless beefs with rappers like T.I., Jim Jones and Iggy Azalia. This has led to somewhat of a backlash amongst her fans and when she eventually released album in late 2014, it didn’t make any noise at all. This might just be a case of petulant youth – she is just 23-yrs-old and might be able to still right the ship and be the rap star most people tipped her to be.
Philadelphia rapper Cassidy first got his start in the rap game with the rap crew called Ruff Ryders which was also home to other rap stars like The LOX, Eve and DMX. In 2002, he signed to Full Surface records owned by super producer Swizz Beatz. He released two hit singles “Hotel” featuring R. Kelly and “Get No Better.” He also had another hit single “I’m a Hustla” in 2005 from his sophomore album. However in the last ten years, his career has been sidetracked by a serious murder trial he was involved in and a near fatal car accident in 2006. In the last two or three years, he has been steadily putting out new music to try and resuscitate his once promising career. He is a gifted lyricist, so there is still a chance that with the right single, he might still get back to the success of his early years.
3 Rich Boy:
Alabama is not a place in the United States that’s known for producing the most successful rappers. But all that seemed to have changed in 2007 with the entrance of a rapper named Rich Boy onto the scene. He was discovered by a successful producer named Polow Da Don who had produced hit tracks for Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Nelly , Usher, Ciara and more. His debut album had the catchy single “Throw some D’s” which reached #6 on the Billboard charts. That was the major shining achievement in his career, but in the last several years, he hasn’t been able to make a similar breakthrough. It really looked like he would be one of the big rap stars for the south, but all that potential never really panned out.
2 Asher Roth:
The Pennsylvania rapper Asher Roth emerged on the scene in 2009 with a popular mixtape titled The Greenhouse Effect Vol 1 that quickly caught fire. His manager was Scooter Braun, the same genius promotional mind behind the careers of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen. He followed the mixtape with a catchy single named “I Love College” which became an MTV favorite. He released his debut album “Asleep in the Bread Aisle” that same year, and it really didn’t make too much noise. Since then, he left Braun’s label, and has assumed a more eclectic and hippie vibe to his music. His latest album RetroHash was released last year to some critical acclaim, but overall, his career has been nothing close to what many music experts predicted.
1 CyHi The Prynce:
One of the most talented and cerebral lyricists in the Hip-Hop game right now is Atlanta Rapper, CyHi The Prynce. He signed to Kanye West’s Good Music Label in 2010, and he appeared on the Kanye album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the compilation album Cruel Summer. This past February, he released a critically acclaimed mixtape titled Black Hystori Project that was executive-produced by Kanye himself. On the album, he proved again that he belonged in the elite echelon of Hip-Hop lyricists. However, if he doesn’t make some substantial moves to get himself from under the shadow of his mentor, he might never be able to fulfil his lofty potential.