Rappers That Fell Off
Sometimes being in the limelight isn’t meant for everyone.
Despite growing to become the most popular music genre in America, being a Hip-Hop/Rap artist is by no means a guarantee for lifelong fame. Sure, some are able to break through and achieve superstar status (such as the likes of Drake and Eminem to name a few) but for every step an artist takes to becoming famous, there are many rappers that fell off the proverbial staircase along their climb to the top.
Here I’ll be discussing five names you may have known at one time but, for one reason or another, just couldn’t quite keep the spotlight and ultimately faded into irrelevancy (whether intentionally or not).
*DISCLAIMER: Determining whether or not an artist “fell off” can be subjective depending on the parameters of what you as an individual value (sales, number of projects, follower count, etc.), so this list is my opinion on the careers and positions of the artists mentioned below using a variety of metrics.*
A name that I can confidently say most people and their mothers know of (or have at least heard), B.o.B, also known as Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., once dominated the radio airwaves during the late 2000’s and early 2010’s with tracks like “Nothin’ on You (feat. Bruno Mars)”, “Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo”), and “Airplanes (I & II)” featuring the likes of Eminem and Haley Williams from Paramore.
Once a multi-platinum selling artist, B.o.B’s latest “claim to fame” was back in 2016 when he stirred up controversy after making public statements about the Earth being flat and calling science a “cult” (statements he has gone on to back-peddle). You have to wonder, how can such an accomplished artist fall so far in such a short time?
According to B.o.B, a majority of the blame falls with his previous label, Atlantic Records. Simmons claims Atlantic was “afraid [he’d] get too much exposure” and was actively suppressing his artistry and social media presence, although we aren’t quite sure what the motivation behind this would be. As for his past controversial statements, B.o.B actively jokes about them to this day and claims that he was “depressed and anxious” at the time he made them and is trying to move past them.
Now, B.o.B has been making efforts to regain his former glory—After signing under fellow rap artist T.I.’s Grand Hustle Label in 2016, B.o.B has steadily been releasing music in the form of mixtapes for fans to enjoy. While he hasn’t made as much of a splash as he once did in his heyday, there is still an opportunity for a B.o.B comeback in the near future.
2. Lil Pump
A name most of us love to hate, Lil Pump (full name Gazzy Garcia) is a bit of a controversial choice for this list, as one could argue that he never had much of a career to begin with. However, you can’t deny that at one point in time Lil Pump dominated social media, seemingly showing up everywhere and coming up in various conversations around the culture (despite usually being over how much people hate him/his music).
Essentially a one-hit wonder, Pump found acclaim on the release of his simplistic yet infectious track “Gucci Gang”; a track that has achieved a 5x platinum certification. While this number is fairly impressive, Pump never quite managed to capitalize off his newfound exposure despite numerous attempts and releases. His last two projects, “Harvard Dropout” (2019) and “Lil Pump 2” (2023) both released to resounding thuds, with the former having only received 45,000 equivalent sales first week and the latter failing to chart at all.
Now, Gazzy is predominately a social media clout chaser, releasing various videos of himself doing different moronic acts like peeing on what I can assume is the last of his money and shilling NFTs to his less-than-intelligent fan-base. Unlike B.o.B, Lil Pump is, at this point, likely too far down the road of irrelevancy to reclaim his former success.
3. Mos Def (Yasiin Bey)
Dante Terrell Smith, formally known as Mos Def before changing his stage name to Yasiin Bey, is a unique inclusion on this list. Unlike the previous names, Mos Def’s fall off was self-engineered after feeling that “Mos Def” had become more of a product than a person (among other factors).
Mos Def, prior to his retirement, was known for iconic tracks like “Ms. Fat Booty”, “Oh No (feat. Nate Dogg and Pharoahe Monch)”, and “The Close Edge” to name a few. His role in rap was undeniable as he was widely recognized as one of the most versatile and passionate MCs of his era, almost to a fault. This passion is what would ultimately lead to his “downfall” as Smith became concerned over his perception and acclaim and how it would affect his art. To Mos, rap was never about the paycheck but about propelling the craft further and testing his limits and skills on a major level.
Throughout his career, Mos had jumped around to various record labels before ultimately landing his final deal with GOOD Music, a label created by Kanye West. The two would collaborate on various tracks and projects together, with Mos creating some truly masterful tracks during his time at GOOD Music. However, previously mentioned concerns over the effect of his status mixed with a possibly political entanglement with South African customs led to Mos departing from GOOD Music and hanging up his microphone for good.
Now, Yasiin Bey has risen from the ashes of Mos Def and is creating music again—even going as far as reuniting the iconic former rap duo Black Star, featuring Talib Kweli, in 2022. However, their album “No Fear of Time” failed to make many head waves, likely due to the release being limited to podcasting network Luminary for assumed creative reasons; although it’s not a stretch to say that hype for the release wasn’t insignificant. However, fans will likely never see the return of Mos Def as Yasiin Bey seems to have taken over Dante’s attention (at least for now).
4. Fetty Wap
New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap (Willie Maxwell II) once had an undeniably successful career prior to his decline. Fetty can be attributed to the rise in popularity of trap music with his tracks like “Trap Queen”, “679 (feat. Remy Boyz)”, and “Again” receiving some of musics most prestigious accolades—with “Trap Queen” having gone diamond, “679” reaching 6x platinum, and “Again” going 3x platinum; all in the U.S. With numbers like these, it’s almost baffling to see where he’s ended up just a few years later.
When it comes to his decline, Fetty has gone on record blaming a lack of proper management as his main issue: "Bad business managers… greed and selfishness… but it’s almost over," says Wap in response to an Instagram comment. Wap also had a run-in with law enforcement over possession of 100 kilograms of narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine, ultimately being charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Despite these setbacks, Wap has made a statement saying he’s far from done with music. “I got rid of all that goofy shit around me. Now I can focus on the music...and I’m goin tf up just watch,” says Wap. Only time will tell if Fetty is able to follow through and reclaim his former fame.
Alright, this one’s personal.
I know it seems like I talk about Logic (real name Sir Robert Bryson Hall II) in every other article on this website, but there’s so much discussion to be had around him, his career, and the potential that I believe he ultimately failed to live up to that I can’t help myself. So where to begin?
Originally, Logic started off as an underground cult sensation, garnering reception and acclaim from his Young Sinatra mixtapes prior to signing his deal with Def Jam. During this time, Logic exemplified potential in his music and spent much of his time building and improving his relationship with his fanbase, the RattPack, through social media and intimate concert venues and performances. This success culminated in the commercial release of “1-800-273-8255 (feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid)”, Logic’s most successful track by a large margin, having achieved 8x platinum status and rapidly approaching Diamond.
However, as Logic grew more mainstream, his attention notably (and understandably) shifted towards branching out into various mediums (books, video gaming, YouTube, etc.), leaving his music to arguably take a hit as a result. This, coupled with a rising fanbase and internet presence, led to a sort of “breakdown” in his fandom where a pseudo civil war unfolded between the older, more established Logic fans and the newer wave of Logic fans who came around post-Def Jam signing. The constant negativity he was receiving on the internet drove Logic to make various decisions in an effort to distance himself online while also disconnecting himself from his fans—a core principle of his success that he decided to almost abandon entirely.
Now, after dissolving his deal with Def Jam, Logic has gone independent and is free to make his own creative and business decisions. While originally sounding like a great development, this turn of events has, in my opinion, been what ultimately led to his definitive “falling off point”. His newest endeavor has been to rekindle his fan-first mentality by establishing a free public Discord server. Sounds good so far.
However, the Discord comes with paid incentives/subscriptions for further access to exclusive channels including some giveaways, unreleased music, and the most coveted experience for die-hard fans: exclusive chat rooms and calls with Bobby Boy himself. This Discord has unintentionally torn his already segmented fanbase into a fraction of its former self, as the Logic “yes-men” are all that remain while the more sensical and casual fans who don’t participate (or just don’t care to use/pay for Discord, like me) are mostly left out to dry.
Ultimately, the main fault for Logic’s downfall stems from a lack of integrity and creative direction as he consistently jumps from one project to the next, in what has become increasingly more apparent as obvious cash grabs. At this point, the only way for there to be a return to the highs of his “1-800” peak is for Logic to focus on creating music and stop churning out releases for the sake of putting things out. That and to stop dabbling in temporary side adventures designed to milk fans for more money.
Obviously, there are many more artists I didn’t cover but these were the five I felt had interesting stories and would be fun to discuss. Did I leave out anyone you were hoping to see? Let me know in the comments. If you like what you read, consider signing up for my email list and following Miz Media on Instagram, Twitter (X), and Facebook to stay up to date on my content as it comes out. I hope you enjoyed my list—Thanks for reading!
Written By: Michael Miserendino