Five Hip Hop emcees that I like who sing also.
Most artists and die-hard fans of hip hop music usually don't associate singing with rapping. Some feel that emcees shouldn't be singing, while others feel a lot of rappers who sing aren't talented enough. Therefore, they feel many need to stick to rapping only. The emergence of the "auto-tune" sound in hip hop has many artists thinking they can sing. This has led to some popular artists making entire albums singing. However, it's a known fact that many of them cannot sing, and it's obvious many of them use auto-tune to hide behind it. It appears that many listeners and fans of hip hop music have forgotten the true meaning of talent, especially the mainstream listeners. However, there are some rappers out there who can actually sing. In this article I'm going to point out five of my favorite emcees who can actually sing pretty well also. I want to state up front that they are in no type of order, and that I have others that I like. However, I can't mention them all in this single article. I hope you continue to read on.
Big Moe was a popular artist out of Houston, Texas. He was known for his mixture of rapping and singing style he came up with called, "rapsinging". Moe was a member of the "Screwed Up Click", which was founded by the now deceased popular DJ, DJ Screw. Moe contributed hooks and verses for many of the Screwed Up Click artists on their albums. He was also known for his freestyles on DJ Screw mixtapes. In the year 2000 he released his first solo album titled, "City of Syrup". Moe gained more recognition outside of Texas with his second studio album titled, "Purple World" in 2002. Big Moe unfortunately passed away in 2007 from a heart attack. Big Moe is one of the best artists to have come out of Texas in my opinion. His death was a huge loss for Texas, as he represented one of the few to help carry on DJ Screw's legacy. I still listen to Big Moe's music now to reminisce on how talented he was. Rest In Peace Big Moe.
Wes Felton is a singer, emcee, poet, and actor from Washington D.C. He goes by several names including, W. Ellington Felton, and Dub Ell. I got up on his music back in 2010 after hearing him on a song titled, "Screenplay Star Stories". This was a song from the hip hop duo, Panacea's album "Thinking Back Looking Forward". On the song he was rapping along with Panacea member, Raw Poetic. After doing some research, I found out that Felton has been on almost all of Panacea's albums singing on hooks. After finding this out, I was amazed at how talented he was at singing. I done some more research and found out that he has released several solo albums over the years. I've given a couple of them a listen, and they were pretty good. Felton is a decent emcee, but I think he shines better at singing and poetry. Because of his lyrics and positive messages he often brings in his music, he has become one of my favorites in the last few years.
Most underground hip hop fans know Phonte from the groups; Little Brother and The Foreign Exchange. Phonte was a member of Little Brother up until the group disbanded in 2010. Phonte is still currently working with his Foreign Exchange mate, Nicolay. The two have been working together since 2004's album "Connected". Connected had features from various singers, but it had a more hip hop feel to it. However, in 2008 the group switched it up with their second album titled, "Leave It All Behind". Phonte sang on basically the entire album, and this trend continued on The Foreign Exchange's third album titled, "Authenticity". Unbeknownst to me and others, Phonte actually sang on a lot of the hooks on Little Brother's debut album, "The Listening". I guess this shows that Phonte has been singing for quite longer than many of us thought. He seems to have committed most of his artistry to singing lately. Phonte is a decent singer, but like many other fans who know him from Little Brother, we prefer to see him rapping.
Z-Ro is an artist from Houston, Texas. He is affiliated with the Screwed Up Click just like Big Moe was. I first got up on Z-Ro's music back in early 2001. His hardcore flow and honest lyrics were what appealed to me most, and I've been a fan since. Z-Ro is known for his uptempo fast rhymes, but he also slows his rhymes down and sound well doing it. Z-Ro mainly focuses on rapping on most of his songs, but he has been known to sing his own hooks. There have also been some songs that he have sung entirely on. One of his more popular songs that he is known for singing the majority of is, "I Hate You". Due to much of his singing on recent albums, Z-Ro has termed himself "Rother Vandross". This name is a play off popular R&B singer, Luther Vandross who died in 2005. Many of his songs from his first few albums dealt with struggles of life. Z-Ro is probably more of a rapper for the blue collar listener.
Most people know Bizzy Bone from his time as a member of the group, Bone Thugs N Harmony. This group was very popular during the early 90's to early 2000's. Most of the members of the group have branched off and done solo projects at some point. Bizzy Bone has released 12 solo albums and countless other collaborative albums and compilations. Bizzy is mainly recognized for his fast tongue-flipping rap style, but he can definitely hold his own as a singer. Bizzy sings many of his own hooks, and has sung entire songs on many of his albums. In my opinion Bizzy Bone is one of the most talented and underrated artists in the game. I think he gets a bad rep for a lot of the controversial things he have said and done, but despite all of that he is a very talented artist.
So there you have it, those are five of my favorite emcees who can also sing. I have many others that I like, but it's hard to fit them all into one article. I don't take away from other rappers who attempt to sing, and I will admit that some of them are decent. My only aim is to expose other artists that seldom get a lot of recognition, or are only recognized for one aspect of their many talents. I hope you enjoyed reading this article.