Hip-Hop Anchors

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We all know about the concept of weed carriers. The low man on the totem pole who gets to take the fall for the boss should the coppers arrive on the scene, but also reaps the benefits of the boss’ endeavors. It also refers to someone in the position of a Spliff Starr who is a weed carrier that has his own weed carrier. Spliff is more or less stuck in what you would refer to as hypeman purgatory. A world that is not truly fulfilling and is a constant reminder that you will never be at the top and will constantly stuck with sloppy seconds.

Perhaps the second cousin of the weed carrier is what I like to refer to as the anchor. What happens in sports, hip-hop or on the corner when you have a less talented individual who somehow finds himself on an equal playing field with his superior? I am not referring to someone like The Black Pigpen aka Jim Jones who in the past filled the position of weed carrier but through some sort of modern miracle was able to elevate himself above his former weed owner.

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The anchor should not be confused with a weed carrier because they are getting equal billing despite the fact they are bringing their partner or crew down with their lackluster skills and talent. The anchor contributes little to the success of the group, but gets an equal percentage when it comes to royalties. Sorta like when you did group projects in high school and had to deal with the anchor who couldn’t spell cat, but got the A right along with you. Many crews have multiple members standing on the same rung of the ladder despite the fact only one really deserves to shine. The rest are simply dead weight that needs to be shed. The anchor will be the cause of many mutinies and bloodshed.

One could argue that the anchor does not necessarily have to be untalented. As Ice Cube pointed out on the classic track “No Vaseline,” he was able to drop four anchors and make all the dough. Sometimes less is more. While one would have a hard time stating that Erik Sermon was leaps and bounds above PMD as a lyricist and performer, his career did continue to prosper after he dropped Parrish from the equation. Does this qualify PMD as an anchor? Was he dragging E down? I will say no, but perhaps had they stayed together Parrish would have been considered an anchor. He was quickly forgotten and faded into obscurity after the release of his god awful first solo single with the “Funky Worm” sample. Another prime example of talented anchors, but anchors nonetheless are Leaders of the New School, who were firmly attached to Busta Rhyme’s leg throughout the 90’s.

Stay tuned for more in depth analysis of anchors from the past, present, and future.

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