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The American Idol rumor mill continues to churn at a furious rate, with the likes of Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy throwing their names in the ring as potential judges (Snoop, now going by Snoop Lion told his manager to “get on it” at a recent press conference) and Pharrell Williams already being touted as the presumptive replacement for Steven Tyler.
While at first, the notion of a rapper or hip-hop star judging a singing contest might seem far-fetched, a celebrity from the hip-hop world actually makes a lot of sense. After all, the genre is not only popular as ever, but regularly features some of the best singing talents pop and R&B have to offer, from Mary J. Blige to Alicia Keys to Gwen Stefani.
You could say the same of someone like David Guetta (EDM Idol, anyone?), but for the purposes of this multi-phase experiment (read Idol Worship’s votes for country and rock star judges here and here), we’ll stick to the genre that brought us Biggie, Tupac and D.M.C. Read on for our top rap and hip-hop picks for Idol 12.0.
1. Dr. Dre: Topping our list is Andre Romelle Young, otherwise known as Dr. Dre. A close friend of Idol‘s own Jimmy Iovine, Dre has the most impressive resume and sterling credentials to fill the judge’s seat — not only is he a rapper and producer, but also a record executive and entrepreneur (the Beats by Dre headphones line now carries more than 50 percent of the high-end headphone market). But look no further than the dozens of stars he helped launch, from Snoop Dogg to Eminem to 50 Cent, for his mentoring power. Ever the perfectionist. he had one artist record a single line of vocals 170 times. Can you even imagine what he would say to future hopefuls if they’re off pitch during auditions? Or better yet, Dre doesn’t need to say anything, he can just look away. Talk about dramatic.
2. Lil Wayne: Signed to Cash Money at the age of nine, no one knows what it’s like to fulfill the lifelong dream of music stardom quite like Lil Wayne, who is arguably the most successful rapper of the last seven years. And with word is circulating that he’s bored of rapping and looking at skateboarding as a future career, perhaps Idol would be a more productive use of his time and talent. Revered for remembering rhymes without ever writing them down, can you imagine the comments he could dole out?
3. Drake: The triple threat of the hip-hop world has to be Drake, who can not only rap, but sing and act. As the former star of Degrassi: The Next Generation and, more recently, a character alongside departing Idol judge Jennifer Lopez in Ice Age: Continental Drift, Drake could easily be Idol’s male counterpart to The X Factor’s Demi Lovato — only with many more hits to his name. Nine No. 1 singles on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart, to be exact (tying Jay-Z).
4. Diddy: Speaking of J. Lo, it seems like ages ago when she and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs were an item, but few of her beaus past to present could claim the entertainment industry respect that Diddy commands, as not only an artist and producer, but as a businessman. And when it comes to nurturing talent, even with a shaky record (you may remember Danity Kane, but how about Making the Band‘s Da Band?), few can compete. Among the best traits that Diddy could provide? He wouldn’t sugarcoat a bad performance, but he might offer some sound advice on how that hopeful could improve.
5. Wiz Khalifa: A longshot simply because he may be too new to the American public, Snoop Dogg’s heir apparent would bring youth to the competition, and not just by way of his hit “Young, Wild & Free.” At 24 years old, the Pittsburgh-bred rapper comes not from Hollywood, but from steel country. He’s relatable and successful, the best combination.
6. Snoop Dogg: His music industry pedigree speaks volumes, but among the most amazing things about Snoop is his relevance. At 40 years old, he’s a rap elder that’s still churning out the hits, not only for himself but artists like Katy Perry and Akon. And when it comes to mentoring young talent, be it Bow Wow or a little league team, Snoop is a role model like no other. The newly christened Snoop Lion may need his own trailer with high-powered ventilation system, but that’s a far cry from Simon Cowell‘s 1,100-square-foot X Factor mansion on wheels.
What do you think Worshippers? Should Idol scrap plans for a country or pop star and go the hip-hop route?
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