Hey everyone this is my top ten mc's of all time and for me personally it's always changing, but this is what it comes back to the most. I took a lot of time putting this together and typing this up so please read it and any feedback positive or negative would be nice. Thanks a lot! AND ENJOY!
Also check out my blog @ SCHOLASTIC STREET SENSE!
10. SLICK RICK
THE BEST STORY TELLER EVER! Story telling has been a part of almost every emcee’s catalogue of records. But NONE like Rick have been able to make a career off the past time skill of hip hop. He can literally take you on a trip and be able to paint the exact picture inside your brain of the story through his lyrics. The best thing to do is just close your eyes and really focus in on one of his tracks, IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND! This dude SHOULD ALWAYS BE CONSIDERED FOR A TOP TEN PERIOD.
9. ANDRE 3000
Let’s forget the Andre of the last decade, this guy used to be a straight up EMCEE PERIOD! Back in the early days of Oukast no one held it down like Andre did, some people including myself look to him as one of the founding emcees of the of the newest mecca of hip hop Atlanta. He has always been consistent, and has never spit a whack verse. He even possess the skill of him being there right next there with you, which not a lot rappers have, I really feel that’s what makes him special. I also can’t leave out his partner in rhyme BIG BOI, who is especially dope going with a hard yet easy going flow. However, he stills fails to come across as cool as Andre does though. Andre is just plain and simple dope emcee, and should be worthy of any top ten.
These two dudes have both been personal favorites of mine. They’re both intense lyricists and played huge roles in developing each of their respected coasts sounds. AZ has that classic NY/East coast lyricism, while Kurupt has the west coast swagger and hard banging lyrics.
AZ first blew up when he appeared on Nas’ “Life’s a Bitch” and then went on to release the classic album “Do or Die”. I LOVE his lyricism, that’s his best quality, and he’s just a no bullshit type of emcee. You get NO weak bars from him, and he’s always stayed true to his underground roots. Speaking on skill alone, he’s only a shade below Nas.
Kurupt is just that west coast emcee with a take no bullshit west coast attitude, carried that swagger, and had very slick word play. His wordplay even rivaled jay’s in my opinion. Although he wasn’t at the front lines of the west/east coast battle he definitely played a role in kicking things off. He and Snoop Dogg originally recorded a track called “New York, New York”, which displayed the two as giant figures destroying NYC buildings, kind of cool but it ticked a lot of people off.
I’ve always liked to consider them the mirror image of one another, just opposite coasts. I mean that with all the respect to both artists and they’re STILL very different in style and skill.
The most successful rapper ever? I would say so, he definitely accomplished a lot in his lifetime; everything from a clothing line, his own record label, to being the president of Def Jam. He really brings a lot of classic material to the table and always came with a sick flow and slick wordplay. I always admired him for his wordplay; he makes it sound so easy, almost making you envious of his skill.
I always felt his best material was in his early days, however I thought the Black album and the Blueprint 3 were both classics as well as his early work, such as Reasonable Doubt and the Blueprint.
I would have put him higher, but he’s just going a little too commercial for me. I mean doing songs with Robin Thicke, appearing on Oprah, and then touring with Coldplay; did we forget this guy once stabbed somebody for selling bootlegs of his album, lol! It’s just that hip hop has been a rebel genre for so long, and when you start doing shows that soccer moms watch it becomes a problem for me. Another thing he has a bad problem of old friendships coming up dirty. Whether it’s his fault or theirs, it’s not a good look for him.
6. NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
Obviously the guy’s dope, I mean he’s Biggie! Always had the flow, strong lyrics, and could always switch up his flow depending on the song. In no way do I want to deny the guy his talent, but in my opinion he’s a tad overrated, not by much though.
I don’t know how many people know this but Nas never liked Biggie. He felt like the crown of NY got taken away from him in all the east/west coast rivalry hype and he never get his rightful due. Ghostface & Raekwon even recorded a diss track for Biggie called “Shark N****s”, where they talk about how they felt Biggie stole Nas’ style among other things. I mean Nas’ by no means wants to show disrespect now, but this is just the way it went down then.
I just wanted to bring something different to the table when discussing Big; I mean we all know the general story on why he’s such a dope artist.
I debated on whether or not to put Eminem higher on the list because I’m a big believer in how the artist connects with listener; and in my opinion there’s hasn’t been a single emcee in the last decade to connect to their audience like Eminem has with his. Now in no way want to make this a racial issue or anything, but with me being white and hip hop just totally running my life for the past few years Eminem has always been somebody I looked up to and tell me it was okay for me to be who I was and just totally be in love with it. Obviously it’s ok for me to like hip hop, but when you grow up in a generally all white town and high school you kind of get casted out if you can’t talk about Laguna Beach or wear Hollister/Abercrombie to school every day and Eminem was just a rebel of that entire world of pop culture.
Without even getting into Em’s intense lyricism, storytelling and emotion I already proved why he’s a top emcee. HE CONNECTS WITH HIS AUDIENCE, you can’t teach that sort of thing.
4. WU-TANG CLAN
This one I decided to elect all members of the Wu-Tang Clan for this. It may sound a little cheap it, but it’s my list and together when all these dudes got on the mic is was just a monster to hear. You had the intense lyricists in Ghostface, Raekwon, and GZA and you had the characters in ODB and Method Man. The production from RZA was just completely dope and Inspectah Deck came nice always, I always thought he was mad underrated, and one of my personal favorites. NOBODY would mess with the Wu-Tang back in the day; it would just be career suicide. In my opinion they’re the best group of all-time, and when their all together in sync their one MONSTER EMCEE!!!!!!!
Quite possibly the most influential artist of all-time, he influenced everybody from 50 Cent to Nas. Rakim’s flow was unmatched by anyone in the industry at the time and still remains hard to top. Although he never went mainstream without Eric B. he still one of the BEST to ever do it. He’s never had a weak verse in ANY of his songs and just comes flawless every time he graces the mic.
One of my favorite song of all-time, from my favorite movie of all-time, “Juice”
Possibly the best lyricist of all time, not many people come close to Nas’ skills on the mic. He created in my opinion the best hip hop album of all-time in “Illmatic” and has yet to release a poor album. He has always stayed true to his music, never sold out, never did something for the fame and the glory. In recent events he dropped his last album “Untitled”, which I thought was severely underrated and should have one rap album of the year at the Grammy’s instead of The Carter III. I’m pretty confident that the people who give those out have no sense about hip hop, and they give it to the highest selling album.
But back to Nas, one think I always respect him for is for releasing the best diss track of all time “Ether” on Jay-Z. That track was one of the deciding factors for me in deciding who the better emcee was Jay or Nas .He totally just tore Jay apart, and Jigga could never really come back lyrically from it. Although both remained successful, Nas always stayed true to the roots, while Jay-Z went a little too commercial for me.
1.TUPAC AMARU SHAKUR
I really can’t put into words what this guy has done for hip hop. I honestly believe he was above it all; he truly was before his time. Lyricism aside, Shakur had the greatest message to deliver than any other rapper to this date and for me personally the message of one lyrics is always greater than ones technique in doing it. It’s even debated that the greatest song in hip hop history is even called “The Message”. Back to Shakur though, he touched people’s lives more than any other emcee to live and that’s why he’s number one in my opinion. In the words of the legendary KRS-One, “Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal, Emcee spit rhymes to uplift THEIR PEOPLE!” nobody did that like Pac and that’s why he will always be my number one.
I also wanted to address Math/Nas, you were saying “I get around” contradicted “Keep ya Head up”, Tupac always had the upright fullest respect for women. “I get around” was more about how he just loved women, and how it was okay for both men and women to be promiscuous.
I finally would like to take the time to explain something, and hopefully get some responses out of you for it. Now call me a Tupac obsessed fan or what have you, but I feel like Tupac totally controlled the good majority of this list. Think about it…..it would totally be a different list and a totally different hip hop game if Tupac wouldn’t have died. There would be no Jay-Z, no Kanye West, no Lupe Fiasco, no Eminem, no 50 Cent, Nas wouldn’t be as big, and it would just be completely upside down.
Let me put it in more perspective; when Tupac died he HATED Jay-Z. Now back then people actually had their careers ruined over beefs, and Pac was in the process of doing that to Jay. Even if Jay’s career would have survived the battle there’s no way he would be who he is today if Pac were here. That means no Roc, no Rocawear, maybe even no Kanye West. I mean would Kanye have made it if Jay wasn’t there to put him on? That also even goes into Lupe Fiasco, would Lupe have gotten on if it wasn’t for Jay and Kanye? If Pac was there it’s likely those three wouldn’t even be relevant today.
Another perspective, no Eminem; and I’m pretty firm on this one. You see Dr. Dre and Pac were also beefing at the time of his death due to the fact Dre left Death Row, and went on to work with Nas and the Firm. Now from my understanding Pac was also thinking about leaving Death Row, and that’s why he didn’t want his Outlaws to sign there, so this could very well possibly mean Dre and Pac would have made up and Dre would continue putting the west coast on. Even if Tupac wouldn’t have left Death Row I still believe they would have made it up. Getting to my point, if Dre returned to Pac and continued making music for him and Snoop; then that leads no Eminem. I honestly believe Dre wouldn’t have had time to work find/work with Em. He would have stayed busy with all the west coast artists there was at that time. Even if you think Eminem would have found a window to crawl into he wouldn’t have had Dre’s beats to work with, which made him shine out from the rest when he got his debut.
So if Eminem wouldn’t have got his publicity, he wouldn’t have been able to put 50 Cent on. If you think about it one of the main attractions to 50’s first album is because he reminded people so much of Tupac. That means 50 wouldn’t have blown up either, which means no G-Unit and no Game.
Now I’m not saying I’m right or wrong in all of this, it’s just something to put in perspective, and something that I think is definitely worth thinking about once or twice. It just blows my mind how one dudes death has had the major of an impact on a specific type of music genre. It’s absolutely crazy to think about, and it even solidifies his spot at number one for me on my top ten emcee count down.