More than any other feeling—disgust, anger, bemusement, pain, shame, happiness, etc—“confusion” best describes the way I felt when first seeing “All Gold Everything,” a video which, depending on your perspective, may have been either the very best or the very worst thing that happened in pop culture this year. That its effect depends on your perspective is why I was so confused by it. Basically, I had (and still have) no idea whether Trinidad James is sincere or if this video was just the shiniest and most elaborate episode of Punk’d ever. It’s so over the top, so ridiculous, so “satire without actually being satire” that it’s impervious to hyperbole. I don’t know what to say about it or how to describe it because you can literally say anything about it and have it be applicable. I’m confused.

Despite this last paragraph, James’ burgeoning popularity—“All Gold Everything” is apparently one of the hottest radio and club songs right now—isn’t surprising. It is, after all 2012, and 2012 has seen its share of hip-hop related moments that have taken that aforementioned “confusion” to full-fledged “WTF” mode.

The popularity of Trinidad James is just one example…

Rozay’s Run-In With Real Actual Realness

I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’m a fan of Rick Ross’ music. Yes, I’m aware that he’s as fake as a three-dollar bill, but this fakeness doesn’t bother me, and even adds a bit to his persona. When I listen to his music, I actively wonder if he actually believes the things he’s saying, and this adds to my listening experience.

Well, wondered, past tense. As the recent cancelation of the MMG tour that was allegedly the result of threats from actual gang members, Rick Ross is still very, very aware that his name isn’t actually Rick Ross. I like to think that the studio thugs and internet gangsters populating my playlist really are completely self-delusional, and knowing that this may not be the case has deeply saddened me. I’ve fallen into the rabbit hole, and I don’t like what I’ve seen.

“You Wasn’t With Me Shootin In The Gym” Somehow Becoming the Lyric of The Year

Look, I understand why Drake’s verse at the end of “Stay Schemin” resonated so much. He talked about soda and nuggets, it contained a thinly-veiled diss to Common, and he even revealed that he has a friend named “Oliver North.” What I don’t get, though, was how the “shootin in the gym” line—a reference to Kobe Bryant potentially losing over a hundred million dollars in a divorce—resonated so deeply with all the fry cooks, personal trainers, and random pretty boys who used that line as their own personal credo. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a fry cook, personal trainer, or random pretty boy, but perhaps a dig directed at wives who are entitled to half of their spouse’s income isn’t the best thing to adopt as your personal policy for an entire year when you’re making $8.16 an hour.

Lil Wayne’s Deposition

You remember all that stuff I said about Trinidad James and how he’s “so over the top, so ridiculous, so “satire without actually being satire” that it’s impervious to hyperbole?” He still barely matches the video clips of Lil Wayne’s deposition that circled around the web this fall. To quote Grantland’s Rembert Browne, this compilation of clips from June 20, 2012 contained numerous nominations for “the worst six-line exchange in human history.”

The Year’s “Biggest” Albums Weren’t So Big

Aside from Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, MAAD City, every single highly anticipated album—God Forgives, I Don’t, Life is Good, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, Cruel Summer, etc—either underperformed or was critically underwhelming (or both). When you combine this with the facts that—aside from Kendrick Lamar and maybe A$AP Rocky—no “new” rap force to be reckoned with emerged this year and that half of the year’s most popular tracks were specifically created for and devoted to strippers, you can make a very convincing argument that, all things considered, 2012 was rap’s worst year, ever.

WTF happened?