No one man can have all this power.
Kool Moe Dee’s 1990 Rap Report Card – an alphabetically graded list of 90s Hip Hop stars – resurfaced on social media earlier this month and goes viral. The report card’s popularity sparked an L.A. version by magazine owner DeJon Paul that graded the region’s modern-day rap stars and goes viral, drawing reactions from fans, tastemakers, DJs, and both new and old Los Angeles rap stars – most notably DJ Mustard and Casey Veggies. See the complete list dissected below.
Mustard – a multi-platinum producer with a resume including Rihanna, YG, 2 Chainz and more – praised Paul’s assessment on the current landscape during a Clubhouse conversation, encouraging artists on the list to improve the sound and take the grades as motivation to uplift the music scene to new heights. Meanwhile, validating Paul’s critique on 27 of the hottest new L.A. rappers, including Airplane James, 1TakeJay, Blxst, Bino Rideaux and Roddy Richh. Hear the complete 11-minute Mustard commentary below.
Since the Mustard’s commentary, the super-producer has been seen in the studio with rising L.A. recording artist Jayson Cash. Paul’s true nature behind recreating the report card was an attempt to draw attention to L.A. hip-hop. In recent months, the region has lost two well-known stars in Slim400 and Drakeo The Ruler.
“Every-time I see something that works for other markets, niches, and circuits I try to modify it then apply it to the underrepresented and often overlooked sub-genre that is LA rap,” Paul told The Source. “I feel as if my city deserves those same vessels, and infrastructure which is why I do an annual LA Freshman cover. When I saw Kool Moe Dee’s report card I knew it was genius. I loved the organization of it, and I had to bring it back home to the city. So I revamped it, and applied a new curriculum and rubric to better analyze what’s wrong with LA rap, what’s great about it, and where we can improve.”
While Mustard praised Paul’s assessment, others like Casey Veggies (“Backflip”) aren’t as accepting of the controversial list. Although not included in the list, Paul posts a conversation between Veggies and himself that shows the rapper enraged by the report card, claims to be responsible for Paul’s outlet, A Day in LA Magazine, and the start of L.A. music. See the complete conversation shared by Paul below.
Now, for Paul, the list’s reaction doesn’t surprise him as he’s used to going viral, saying, “I’ve had many posts go viral before, from my LA Rapper maps, to the lunchroom memes I first got known for years ago on the LA Twitter timeline. And they all start controversy, the truth and Los Angeles don’t mesh well. This is Hollywood after all. But this post is the most effective post I’ve ever made. Not only did it go viral and introduce several new artists featured on the report card that most people don’t know about, allowing them to reply to the thread with links to their music. It was also a way for artists in the city to learn how they could improve. When Mustard hopped in the LA rap workshop Twitter space I do every week, I was already explaining to artists in there like Rucci, and BlueBucksClan how I came up with the grades, and how I had good intentions when making it.”
As the LA extension of rap report card continues to draw attention across social media, DeJon Paul is currently on a press run in support of the moment. Shown below, Paul sat down with No Jumper’s AD and T-Rell to discuss his backstory, being blackballed and more. On Instagram, Paul previewed a conversation with 2x-NBA All-Star Baron Davis. Paul revealed another report card, this time grading Los Angeles golden era of rap stars, was on the way.
More as the story develops.