Been listening to this quite a lot this week. When people are claiming that Nas isn’t real hip hop, you know the world has gone crazy. Keep Jay-Z and Kanye and give me Queen’s Bridge’s finest every time!
Okay, this post was inspired by a conversation I had with my friend Chris a really long time ago, that I had again with my bro recently. This is my list of the top 10 MC’s ever, the greatest of all time, or GOAT. Feel free to hit me up in the comments section whether you agree or disagree – like I said, this is just my opinion.
10. T.I. – So many of today’s rappers are releasing weak albums, one good track, probably one good verse and that’s it. Not T.I. His albums are packed full of sick beats and sick lyrics. The King has made mistakes in his life, but he’s man enough to admit them, take his punishment, dust himself off and start over. Articulate, intelligent and charismatic. Managing to make a video *whilst* locked up in jail – hilarious. [Check out: What You Know, Big Shit Poppin', Top Back]
9. KRS One – If you could learn hip hop at university KRS One would be the professor. You won’t see him on MTV and you won’t hear him on the radio. He is true hip hop, for the hardcore fans. He has been very vocal in his disregard for video rappers, but not outspoken, he has earned the right to call out whoever he wants. Yeah Nelly, this means you. Nelly might sell a million times more albums than KRS, but KRS is on a totally different level. [Check out: MC's Act Like They Don't Know, Sound of Da Police, Step Into a World]
8. Tupac – I don’t think we’ll ever know who killed ‘pac, or why, but he was taken too early. He was the epitome of mid 90′s gangsta’ rap, but he was real, he wasn’t a pretend thug, he really was one. I’m not saying this is a good thing to aspire to be, I’m just highlighting that he wasn’t faking just to sell records, he was telling the story that he lived. [Check out: 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, Hit Em Up]
7. Snoop Dogg – The gangsta’ your Mum likes C-walks his way into the top 10. Gang affiliations aside, he is possibly the coolest man on the planet as characterised by his unique laid back flow. [Check out: Who Am I?, Gin & Juice, Drop It Like It's Hot]
6. Big Punisher – If he hadn’t died so young I’m pretty sure he would be at number one, he really was *that* good. He had a flow that was both relentless and devastating. [Check out: Dream Shatterer, Capital Punishment]
5. Notorious B.I.G – Big Poppa had the smoothest flow of any emcee and his effortless style made rapping seem easy. If he hadn’t died so young, he would likely have been higher on this list. [Check out: Hypnotize]
4. LL Cool J – The self proclaimed GOAT has been going platinum since 1985. When most rappers were putting out cookie cutter gangsta’ rap records, LL stayed true to his style, choosing music over easy money and fame. Just because he wasn’t copying the gangsta’ rap routine doesn’t mean he wasn’t going hard and bodying emcees at will: Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T, MC Hammer, Canibus, LL put them all away. Plus, he’s a rapper who can actually act!? [Check out: Mama Said Knock You Out, I'm Bad]
3. Jay-Z – The hardest working man in hip hop, he built a dynasty up from nothing and earned the respect of everyone in the game, including Nas. Did Jigga change up his style and end up sounding more like Nas? Yep. Has he jacked lines from other rappers? Yep. Does he need to jack lines from other rappers? Nope. He may have been bested by Nas in their early 2000′s beef, but he took it close and he does it better that 99% of the other rappers out there. That beef was one of raps high points for me, they brought out the best in each other and made some of the best records ever. His beat selection is impeccable. [Check out: 99 Problems, The Take Over, Big Pimpin']
2. Nas – Queensbridge’s finest is often imitated but never duplicated. Yeah Jay-Z that means you. Powerful themes, powerful words. King of the beef. I think he’s a poet and a genius. He has mastered his craft to the level where he spit a rhyme backwards?! [Checkout: Ether, Got Ur Self A, Nastradamus]
1. Method Man – The most under rated, overlooked guy to have ever picked up a mic. Quite simply the dirtiest, grimiest emcee in history. Whether it’s his work as part of Wu-Tang, his solo successes or his collaborations with Redman, he has shown himself to be one of the dopest, realest, lyrically on it rappers ever. I’m guessing my choice might be controversial as Meth rarely makes most people’s top 10, but this is my list and when I stopped and looked at all of the areas where I was scoring rappers I realised that he was the only guy to appear in the top 5 across the board. [Check out: M.E.T.H.O.D Man, Da Rockwilder, Bring The Pain]
Post tune: T.I., What you know, King.