For better or worse—OK, mostly for the worse—you can never escape your digital footprint. So it didn't come as much of a shock that someone dug up an old Lonzo Ball tweet in an effort to roast him, and it worked. This one happened to be about his top five rappers of all time.
Countless users went at Ball, calling into question his five picks: Lil Wayne, Future, DMX, 50 Cent, and 2Pac.
Top 5 all time in order...— Lonzo Ball (@ZO2_) May 27, 2016
It was low-hanging fruit for an individual who has been criticized for his talent on the court, his potential NBA draft selection, and even his own rap skills. But honestly? Ball's choices here aren't as bad as people are making them out to be.
The first thing to take into account is his age. At 19, you can't expect Ball to have the same picks someone in their 30s may have. He grew up in a different era of rap, and his choices reflect that. The notion that you have to be a hip-hop historian at 19 is absurd. In fact, there was a near-identical (and equally silly) conversation not that long ago over Lil Yachty's comments on the Notorious B.I.G.
There's also not one definitive top five. You have the higher-percentage picks like Jay Z, Nas, Biggie, and Pac, along with more current acts that get thrown in the conversation (Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar). But there's always going to be dissension on who makes the cut.
Snoop Dogg picked his top three rappers on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the four Mt. Rushmore options above were nowhere to be found. His picks: Slick Rick, Ice Cube, and himself. Anyone going at him over it?
Jadakiss also hosted his own debate over the top five rappers dead or alive. His picks—Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Styles P, and DMX—were more in line with general consensus (with, of course, the additional inclusion of his longtime group-mate Styles).
Let's drill down on Ball's five picks.
- 2Pac: A reasonable pick. Given where Ball was raised (the Los Angeles metropolitan area), it makes sense why he didn't include Biggie but instead showed love to a West Coast-affiliated rapper from the same era (albeit one whose original rap name was MC New York).
- Lil Wayne: As far as rap careers post-2000, you can't go wrong with Weezy making the cut. His run from the mid to late aughts is up there when it comes to quality and consistency.
- DMX: X doesn't get the love he deserves. A part of that has to do with his self-destructive personality, which hindered his career arc. But you can't deny he's got classics. Plus, if you've held the crown as the best rapper alive at some point, you've earned at least consideration on this list.
- 50 Cent: Another rapper who built his career on raw street lyricism and also had his reign take place early on.
- Future: The Atlanta rapper's prolific output has rarely dipped in quality, with the last few years proving he's got somewhat of a Midas Touch.
Out of those five picks, Future is the only one that could be viewed as a stretch. But again, his peak years align with Ball's youth. And if we're talking eras, what has Jay Z done in the last five years? He's certainly built an empire alongside Beyoncé, but musically he's been pretty dormant. Maybe his next album will make Ball reconsider.
My only complaint with Ball's list? He needs more Kendrick Lamar.