In light of many personalities labeling several artists as “Underrated”, renowned hip-hop producer 9th Wonder recently spoke to SOHH about why the category deserves more scrutiny and dissection.
When asked what slept-on MC deserves more shine, 9th explained why the question is more complex than meets the eye.
“You have to define what shine is, and did [that MC] want that shine? I might think an artist is underrated and that person may say, ‘Well I don’t think I’m underrated! I got exactly what I wanted out the game!” (SOHH)
9th also went on to clearly distinguish the characteristics of an “Underrated” artist, after being asked of his opinion of Canibus and his often-debated status as an underrated emcee.
“When you talk about “Underrated” I guess you mean somebody who put out a great amount of work, that is critically acclaimed, with an incredible album that nobody really got a chance to absorb. The thing about Canibus – and this is no diss to Canibus – his first album, to a lot of hip-hop scholars, was not the best piece of work. And that goes for anyone … I don’t want it to turn into, “Oh. 9th talkin’ about Canibus.” No. I’m talking about a situation with anyone’s album. You’re judged by your work. Period.(SOHH)
The North Carolinian beatsmith also shed light on the contrasting idea that not every artist wants the glitz and glamour associated with life in the public eye.
Let’s be real, shine is always [determined by] if n*ggas see you on TV or not. Let’s be one-hundred percent real, and that’s what shine is all about. Its based on how much n*ggas see you on TV, and can sit at home and say, “Aw man! There go my man! I told you he was the man!” You know what I’m sayin’? But all of that is based on television. I don’t want that, to tell you the truth. Because if that happens, then to me my life is not mine anymore … it belongs to the world. I want my music to belong to the world, not necessarily my life or my family or where my kids go to school. I don’t want that sh*t. That’s what comes with shine.(SOHH)
In a previous interview, ex-Little Brother spitter Big Pooh explained that sometimes, the most successful artists are not necessarily the ones seen on television.
“For those that’s not on the inside [of the music industry], the perception is that those that appear to have [money and cars] are doin’ it. But that’s not necessarily the case. A major artist that the world knows about may not really have anything, but then there’s an artist like Tech N9ne. Of course his fan base knows him, but a lot of people don’t. [Tech’s] company cleared over 15 million last year or the year before last.”(SOHH)
Check out the 9th Wonder-produced track “Life of Kings” by Phonte featuring Evidence and Big K.R.I.T.