9 Pop Stars Who Will Burn Out And Fade Away

There’s nothing like a list to drum up a little controversy. Fans, feel free to jump down to the comments section. Your sound-offs are much appreciated, but if we’ll all first consider… the following pop stars/rappers/musicians have embarked on a journey that has led to a path of poor sustainability. Whether drugs, alcohol, hypersexuality, body modification or a panache for physical violence, choices that once seemed appealing to these artists may soon (or have already) become consuming and destructive to a career.

9. Justin Bieber

Ah, the Biebs. It took a lot of doing for Justin Bieber to alienate some of his most loyal fans, but 2014 was a rough year for the young pop star. In fairness to Justin, it seems he has turned a corner, and here’s to hoping he can stay out of trouble and be a better guy. Still, he’s at a crossroads: he has to embark on a little something called adulthood. Justin’s biggest problem: (fans, avert your eyes) he has no real life experience, no understanding or foresight and is pretty ignorant when it comes to the most basic tenets of living life as an adult. Everyone from family to friends have leeched on the poor kid, and in the process, created a one-dimensional dude who has legitimate hangups in expressing himself. Will his talent sustain? Sure. At the manic level it has in the past? No way.

Photo By: James Atoa/Everett Collection

8. Chris Brown

When it comes to talent, Chris Brown has plenty of it. Once upon a time, he was singin’, rappin’, dancin’ and entertaining the masses. Then he met Jezebel — er, Rihanna — and became utterly obsessed with something he could not, nor should have tried to control. We all know how that relationship ended. Sadly, it was also the beginning of something for Chris that was pretty self-consuming. The guy who was known as fun-loving, became better known for having violent outbursts, and an obsession for dictating and controlling situations. Now, when he is in the news, it’s never good. It has to do with fights, gun shots, saying something foolish or needing to report to a law enforcement office for questioning. How long can something like that go on before it comes to a screeching halt?

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7. Ariana Grande

What is going on with Ariana? Another young star with loads of talent, it seems she’s a little late in acting-out like a teenager. Ariana was performing on Broadway by 13, then scored a sweet gig in a Nickelodeon show, then started licking donuts and proclaiming a faux disdain for America at the age of 22. Here’s to hoping the wish-to-be diva will take a good look in a mirror, and realize she’s living in the spotlight. Hopefully she will come to an understanding that there are two things she can do with the attention. Sadly, it seems she more interested in selling her sexuality than sustainable sounds, imagery and creating a legacy. Its a shame these young performers are milked like cash cows then left to fend for themselves, but if she continues this pattern, she will rapidly slide to the C-List.

Photo by Broadimage/REX

6. Die Antwoord

Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er are supremely talented South African rappers, ravers, actors and entertainers who have introduced their Zef style to a world wide audience. The jury is still out on these two. They put on one of the most high-energy, wild live shows you will ever see, but over the last couple of years, it has grown increasingly misogynistic. If Die Antwoord is this epic venture of performance art — two exceptionally stable individuals having the last laugh — we’ll have to wait and see. But word has trickled down through the Hollywood rumor mill, Ninja and Neill Blomkamp had more than a few moments of butting heads while making Chappie. It could be that it’ll get to a point where too much is not enough, and that always ends in disaster. Or… they could be pulling an Andy Kaufman on us all.

Photo by Gabriel Grams/REX

5. Iggy Azalea

How long can Iggy honestly sustain her success? Haven’t all of her hit singles been duets with another pop stars? Have you ever found the video of Iggy “free-styling” at a live show? Yeah. We’ve all seen it. It’s terrifying. Add the nonsensical gibberish Iggy is prone to spit to the fact that she insults people she works with (Britney Spears). What gives? Kudos to Iggy for properly handling her short Twitter feud with Snoop Dogg, but as time has passed, it seems he was on to something. Based on a sheer lack of originality, and the need to enhance everything from booty to breastesses to vocal samples and styles, the beginning of the end for Iggy Azalea became most obvious with the cancellation of her “Great Escape” tour.

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4. Nicki Minaj

Was “Anaconda” simply the result of a sophomore slump, or has Nicki Minaj already embarked on a slow decline from the top due to a reliance on shtick? There is no denying the rap talent of Nicki Minaj, but like so many before her, there’s an incredible compromise when selling yourself for the desires of record label — becoming something execs want you to be without really knowing who you are as an artist. If you have nothing to say, you become nothing more than a puppet. That’s why Nicki Minaj can’t sustain her current level of success. She’s overly concerned with image, as opposed to using image to enhance the Nicki Minaj experience. In theory, she should get stronger as an artist as time passes. Instead she’s relying on samples from 1990s hits, and passing the drivel off  as something we should all listen to.

Photo by Stewart Cook/REX

3. Ke$ha

This is a tough one, because it has already happened. It’s the proof in the puddin’. There doesn’t seem to be much indifference regarding Kesha’s music. People love it, or they hate it. No doubt, the woman has more brass than a marching band, but she would also be the first to say that the career path was non-sustainable. Now, she’s trying to figure a way to do what she loves to do, take better care of herself and still make some record sales without being bled dry by a blood-letting lifestyle. For starters, she lost the dollar sign, and now she’s just Kesha — her given name. 2014 was a year of self-discovery for Kesha as an artist and an individual, and ultimately, the understanding that wild success doesn’t equate to fulfillment. Here’s to hoping more artists will follow her lead.

Photo by KCR/REX Shutterstock

2. Waka Flocka Flame

This guy. Waka. Flocka Flame. Waka Flock Flame. This dude deserves to be on this list, because there’s really no reason he has sustained popularity and success as long as he has. He also deserves to be on this list for luring people to believe that he could actually run for president. Stop by any of your local hangouts, and engage someone between the ages of 15-18 in a conversation about Waka Flocka. Ask them if he’s really going to run for President. Frightening. To begin, Waka can’t run, because he’s only 29 years old. He’s got a few years of life to live before he’s eligible. The most simple reason why this guy cannot sustain success is because he smokes copious amounts of weed. Yeah, sure… so does Snoop Dogg/Lion. But Waka is no Snoop.

Photo by MediaPunch / Rex Features

1. Miley Cyrus

Of all the musical artists in the game, there is one who sticks out more than all the others regarding sustainability, or a lack thereof. Considering Miley Cyrus, something’s gotta give. She’s riding her “truth” train straight to the land of destruction. If anyone is a likely candidate for “The 27 Club” it’s Miley. It’s disturbing to think that someone could so quickly sear their conscience to the point of feeling whole when they’re completely busted. That’s Miley. It’s not an argument of morality, it’s an acceptance of history relating to people in this position. They can’t keep going back to that trough to feed time and time again, without paying a steep price. That’s a bit analytical and analogical, sure, but Miley will have to tap into some sustainable wisdom in the next few years, or this story could get very sad.

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James Sheldon

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