Anyone who can name all three references in this will receive a shoutout in my next blog post
Rap, What is rap exactly? Well the Wikipedia definition says it's "a music genre formed in the United States in the 1970s that consists of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping".
For me Rap is a way to express yourself, a way have your voice be heard and having it stand out among the rest. Rap is a.......story, and whatever the subject is, it's bound to inspire a strong emotion toward it. Whether it be unbridled hate or unwavering love. No genre of music evokes passion quite like rap/hip hop.
With this in my mind let us explore about the author's of these "stories", Rappers talents range from all over the country and even out of it. Today we pick out the best these Rappers and MC's to crown (in my opinion) The best rapper of all time.
Before we start I would like name a few honorable mentions that I felt deserved recognition for there works as a artist but didn't quite make the list
All three members of Run DMC
Ol Dirty Bastard
Both members of The Roots
LL Cool J
Mos Def (or Yassin)
and finally Q-Tip
Also a dishonorable mention
(seriously f**k him )
NOW let's get this list started
You are about to witness the power of street knowledge.
10. Andre(Ice Cold)3000
Member of: OutKast
Best Album: ATliens
The better half of one of the best Hip Hop groups of all time, Outkast, I've always preferred Andre's fast and complex lyrical style to Big Boi's up in your face attitude (Although he can bring some great lyric's time and again). By himself, though there's not much to say, sadly he hasn't released a solo album unlike his southern counterpart (mostly due to his "acting career" Which included a lackluster Jimi Hendrix biography) But being the solid rapper he is Dre easily secures a spot on this list.
9. Busta Rhymes
Member of: Flipmode
Best Album: The Coming
Keep in mind this list is my PERSONAL feelings on the best rappers, While Busta Rhymes wouldn't even be included in the 30 best MC's on most lists. His off the wall and crazy lyrics, the insane persona, the amazing video's and outfits, his break neck flow, and having the rhyming skill of a titian, makes this critic feel like he deserves a mention as one the best in the game. Sadly, without the accomplishment of a Classic Album and having his most recent works be average at best, many people have forgotten the greatness of this man. However, if you like a big persona married with some impressive flow and rhyming ability. Busta is the man.
8. Kendrick Lamar
Member of: N/A
Best Album: To Pimp A Butterfly
....What? A new-school rapper on a list of the best of all-time? How DARE you! Well, I'm sorry folks, when you get a rapper as excellent and constant as him, it's almost impossible to leave Lamar off the list. The next great artist from the west side, Kendrick is one of the few new rappers I would already consider an "all time great". He's still early in his career, however, he already has TWO, I'll repeat TWO Classic albums, with his wonderful lyrical and wordplay abilities. paired with some of the best instrumentals in rap. I'm fully confident that he'll be hailed as one of the best once his career is done.
7. Ice Cube
Member of: NWA
Best Album: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
I included a reference to the NWA in open of this post (two actually). So naturally I had to include at least one member, And who better then The mastermind behind the lyrics of the
brilliantly controversial group, Ice Cube is a great example of a rapper hated simply because the content of lyrics and songs (coughEminemcough) and is often not fairly judged on the substance and skill as an wordsmith. Perhaps it's the price you pay for penning one of the most hateful and rage-filled albums ever, Straight Outta Compton, as well writing a diss track that led to end of one the most impactful and dangerous rap groups in history in "No Vaseline". Whatever the reason Ice Cube is one of the most underrated artist in hip-hop and works his way to the 7 spot on this list.
6. Lauryn Hill
Member of: The Fugees
Best album (and only album): The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
When the only solo album you release is included in the National Recording Registry. You're doing something right, the only female MC to be included in this list. An underrated lyricist as well as a talented singer. Lauryn Hill quickly found success as a part of The Fugees and their album "The Score". Lauryn's talent and passion shined threw from the rest of her group and eventually led to her to a solo career that led to the release of one of the most important albums period. She has since struggled with Tax problems and is not likely to return as an artist. However, she was flawless in her prime and takes the number 6 spot on this list.
Member of: Eric B and Rakim
Best Album: Follow The Leader/Paid In Full
Some of the most lyrical rappers in the history of the genre, would never have existed if not for the innovative style and sound of the legendary Rakim. With Eric B backing him up with some of the best beats in hip-hop history, Rakim revolutionized the lyrical game, creating what is now the modern style of mcing, With lines like, “They never grow old, techniques become antiques/Better than something brand new ‘cause it’s real/And in a while the style’ll have much more value” and “Thinking of a master plan” the world of rap without this blessed musician is a very scary prospect to think of.
Member of: D12
Best Album: The Slim Shady LP
Likely the most obvious pick on this list (unless you have only heard the 2004 version of him) this Detroit based rapper has, over the years become easily the most controversial figure in rap history, almost nothing is out of bounds for him, whether it be gay-bashing or wife beating (which Flamestreak does not condone or endorse at all) He always seems to find his way into a storm of ridicule. But through all that, Eminem is a SUPREMELY talented lyricist, who's uber clever punchlines and mind spinning rap speed has made he and hip-hop as a whole, a mainstay in the mainstream (for better or for worst). Say what you will about him, there is no denying the greatness of this artist. (and oh, believe me many a critic have tried. remember the Source? or Ray Benzino? didn't think so)
3. The Notorious B.I.G
Member of: N/A
Best Album: Ready to Die
One of the most popular rappers of all-time, Biggie Smalls is a Lyrical Genius, who's flow and charisma is yet to be matched or eclipsed by anyone (Although Tupac comes DANGEROUSLY close to both of those) the biggest name from the East side during the 90's. His storytelling abilities has set him apart in the rap world, Constructing masterpieces such as "Juicy" and "Warning" (and the album Ready to Die as a whole. Seriously go check it if you can) This rapper's time in the Limelight was cut short due his tragic death in 1997.
Member of: N/A
Best Album: Illmatic (AKA Best rap Album of all-time)
I was initially wondering if I should even include him in the list AT ALL, until I listened to Illmatic a few times, realized how silly I was being, and put him at number 2 on the list. A street poet if there ever was one, the best lyricist this side of the death of Tupac and biggie. Like seriously if you used Rakim's formula and then put it on steroids for about 2 years, then you would get Nas (and maybe slick rick but anyway) with songs like "One love" , "NY state of mind" , and "The World is yours" and NUMEROUS others (if you haven't listened to Illmatic then you're missing out on the best album of all-time period) there's no doubting his place in hip-hop as one the most critically acclaimed artists in the 21-century.
Member of: N/A
Best Album: Me Against The World
You notice I didn't use the compliment of being constant for Nas, because as great as he is. He's suffered from lyrical imperfections throughout his impressive career (He also released Nastradamus, which is the exact opposite of Illmatic). In the case of Tupac however, Nobody was as constant, nobody was as polarizing, nobody was important (other the creator's of rap and hip-hop) quite like Tupac. A household name, Pac is the only artist to put out (in my opinion) 3, yes I said that right, THREE Classic albums (although Kendrick Lamar alright has two). The prototypical rapper , He is has the best range in topic's for his songs. Ranging from straight gangsta's only songs (Ambitionz az a ridah) State Anthem's (California love) Ruthless diss tracks (Hit em Up) And sympathetic ballads (Dear mama). Whatever the topic, tupac seem to effortlessly master them all. Sadly this amazing rapper's career was cut short due to drive by shooting in 1996. Still however, Tupac will never be forgot and he's takes the top spot on this list.
Welp that's all he wrote! I hope you enjoyed the list and post in the comments who you feel should have been on it.
And we outta here
Yo, what happened to peace?