I'm throwing this out for discussion and I'll adjust the system before I start actually evaluating artists, but here's what I came up with. I've got 10 categories, where each artist can be rated on a scale of 1-10 in terms of how good an artist is, giving them a score of 10-100. These can be done for an individual song, for an album, or for a career. In terms of a career, however, quantity should also be a factor, so I would add a category for that as well (also on a 1-10 scale), but that factor isn't strictly about just the number of songs, but the number of good songs, so for the quantity, I'll award 1 point for every 10 songs that get a rating of above 70 on the scale listed below. Thus if you put out 10 albums with 10 quality songs, you'd have a perfect score on the quantity scale for your career.
Anyways, the categories and what they mean:
- Flow: Does it sound good when they spit?
- Lyrics: Are the words they spit creative? Original? Do they make sense (or purposefully avoid making sense)?
- Message: Are they really serious? Are they funny? What's the point of the song?
- Technical: Is what they are rapping easy to do or hard to do? Is the rest of the song good enough that an easy flow doesn't detract from it?
- Production: The tracks they rap over, whether they made them or someone else did, are they good, original and add to the vocals?
- Versatility: Do they do the same thing over and over again or do they try to do something new?
- Collaborators: Do they choose good people to work with? Do they do it all themselves?
- History: Do they show an awareness of hip hop history? Do they show an awareness of broader history?
- References: A variety of references to politics, music, sports, etc. Are the references clever, different, appropriate?
- Originality: Does their stuff sound just like somebody else or do they do something new?
All right, what do you think? Does this look good or should it be revised?