My 2 Cents: Why So Much Hate on Canibus?
Haters will hate...
During the 90's we got a whole slew of heavyweight spitters with their own styles. Many of those styles have been copied and mimicked to the point of cliche, but one rapper who remains unique is Canibus. Granted, the guy's mean voice helps, but find a rapper who can come up with as complex rhymes as he has and can then furiously enunciate every word, no matter the length, like it was nothing. I have never been the kind of person who reads liner notes or looks up lyrics, but for some Canibus songs I pretty much have to look up half the shit he spits.
It's easy to blame Canibus himself for much of his unpopularity. He had that infamous feud with LL Cool J, which LL pretty much started (he mistakenly thought Canibus dissed him with a line on a song they were both on). Even though it appears obvious that Canibus "won," a lot of people say LL's retort took the trophy when all he really did was say what Canibus had said in "2nd Round KO" but weaker, not to mention all of the diss tracks LL made just made him look desperate... but I digress. Canibus blamed Wyclef for the shit production on his debut album, "Can-I-Bus" (and to be honest, Wyclef did do a shit job), but Canibus ended up looking like an overreacting asshole.
Wyclef and Canibus made peace way back in '04, the same year LL stopped making good music, so why still the animosity? Canibus and Eminem eventually feuded over some stupid shit from both sides. I've listened to some of the disses from both and, to be honest, they're all fairly weak. I side with Eminem only because I feel Canibus was the instigator, and maybe was just doing the whole thing to milk some fame. Eminem is obviously a big mainstream rapper, Canibus is clawing from the almighty underground. Eminem's fanbase consists largely of suburban white girls who don't know who Canibus is, they just want to hear that cool/hip/whatever-they-call-it music. Canibus's fanbase want to see their man fight since he's known for battle rapping. If it's not yet clear to you, I'll sum it up: Eminem has no incentive to beef, Canbus does. But the unbased beef was so useless it eventually dissolved, more or less.
The Eminem feud wasn't very public, mostly because not too many people find Canibus relevant, which is exactly the problem. Canibus was supposed to be the next big thing since Nas, and he busted pretty hard (CanIBust). To say Canibus was a big mainstream disappoint is truth, the industry had high hopes and his first three albums were inconsistent to say the least, largely due to production (though I personally liked "2000 BC"). To say Canibus is a general disappointment is bullshit, though. The guy's lyrics are untouchable, and alone can be considered his saving grace without looking at his voice or flow. I challenge you to go listen to some popular Hip-Hop for a week, getting yourself nice and accustomed to it, and then go listen to any verses from Canibus' first couple "shit" albums. Not so disappointing now, are they? Beats are big, but not everything, and in these days where mixtapes get studio-sized releases, an album without focus (a criticism of "Can-I-Bus") can barely be a criticism anymore.
The quality of a rapper shouldn't be based on beefs/popularity but on skill, which Canibus definitely has. He's released fairly consistent albums since flopping, two of which may be considered classics in the future ("Rip the Jacker" and "For Whom the Beat Tolls"). I personally would say that "Melatonin Magik" is destined to be a classic, as well. That's three superb albums, and the rest of his discography is brilliant in moments, so it’s a myth that Canibus can't make studio albums. Not only can he record rap, but he can battle and freestyle like no studio rapper can. And regarding his feuds (the latest being one with members from Slaughterhouse), if anything it makes the guy more interesting to follow.
While this post scream dick-rider, I'm just telling the truth. Canibus doesn't need me to talk for him, his lyrics can do that. Also, I'm a big old-school LL Cool J fan and Slaughterhouse fan. The real dick-riders are the idiots who say "Yo Eminem/LL/Royce is so much better than Canibus" or "Canibus is wack!" The fact is, neither Canibus nor any of the rappers he beefed with are bad, which is what makes the beefs so interesting. As a fan, I embrace all the beefs, the anger makes great lines and great tracks from both sides.
Anyways, Canibus is preparing for a big PPV rap battle on June 9 vs. Dizaster. Promo video below. He's also releasing "Rip the Jacker 2" directly to fans if you didn't know, not sure if you can still pre-order. It's going to be a 2xDVD set with 10k bars worth of lyrics. Everything is being done through his site.
For your listening pleasure...
UPDATE: Well, maybe he can't battle anymore.