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Who Really IS The Greatest Rapper Of All Time?
Is there a more loaded question in Hip-Hop? Has there ever been a more enticing debate in Hip-Hop? It's a debate that sparks long winded organized debates as well as visceral shouting matches that end in feelings getting hurt. To complicate things further there really is no right answer(which of course is what makes the question so much fun to debate) and there are quite a few rappers that someone could make a decent case for them being the best to ever touch the mic. This is a question I've both thought about a lot and have debated a lot and I figured I'd do a post on this topic. Plus in light of CNN anointing Nas to be the best lyricist of all time it left me wondering if I were to create a list who would be on it? Who would top it? Why? So I figured why not? After loads of thought here's my top 5 MC's Of all time.
1. 2Pac: Tupac Shakur in my mind is probably the most well rounded rapper of all time. Whatever style or sub-genre or lyrical theme he was doing he excelled at it. Whether I'd socially conscious, gangsta rap, party tracks, revolutionary tracks he did it all at a high level, with passion. He was a cathartic and soul baring with lots and lots of talent. His lyrical content was deep and always thought provoking even on some of his most harshest tracks. By the end of his short career he'd mastered every skill need to be a great MC Flow, Content, Passion etc. Some will say he wasn't the most technically skilled rapper but he was still technically great and made up for anything he lacked when it came to that with passion and lyrics we all can relate too. Not to mention that most of his best songs/albums are some of the most impact full in hip-hop history.
Classic Albums: Me Against The World, All Eyez On Me, The Don Killuminati: Seven Day Theory.
2. The Notorious B.I.G: The Notorious B.I.G is easily the second most famous legend in raps history but his legend really hasn't much to do with that. Biggie was just so talented that even though he only made two albums they both ended being considered classics at the end of the day and all he needed to cement his spot on any greatest of all time list. If 2Pac was passion and content then Biggie was the exact other side of the coin. The Notorious one probably had the greatest flow of all time and was technically masterful, he just had this natural talent for piling rhymes within a bar. He could do that and still make it sound smooth and stylish. He also had a storytelling ability that was out of this world.
Classic Albums: Ready To Die, Life After Death
3. Jay-Z: Jay-Z, if there's one thing you can say about him is that he's pretty consistent. If his album haven't been classics for the most part they've been all good. What really gives Jay-Z and edge over the rappers I put below him is that I believe Jay to be a little more well rounded and from street tracks to radio cuts he's done both the perfection. As far as his rapping skills go what can be said he's very technically skilled and his deepest material like ''Dead Presidents'' and ''D' evils'' are some of the most philosophical takes on life on the streets as you'll come by.
Classic Albums: Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint
4. Nas: Lyrically one could make the argument that no one has better. When we talk about street poets there are few better than Nas and few on his level. Since 94' when he dropped Illmatic which is widely considered one of the best if not the best rap album of all time he's been celebrated a one of Hip-Hop's best word smiths. A vivid story teller, with some consciousness as well. He hasn't slowed down either since he began either still one of the best in rap now.
Classic Albums: Illmatic, It Was Written
5. Eminem: Rounding out my top 5 is Eminem who at his best is really one of not only the best rappers ever but one of the funniest exhilarating to listen to. Slim never hesitated to put his listeners in head first into the swimming pool of drama that was his life especially early in his career and that created some classic LP's. This made him both interesting and relate able. He's witty, sarcastic, violent personally and at times laugh out loud funny. One of the most technically proficient rappers of all time with one of most unique rap voices of all time. Then there's the fact that he broke color barriers by being undeniably good and of course paved the way for other white rappers in the mainstream today.
Classic Albums: The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP
Honorable Mentions: Rakim, KRS-One, LL Cool J, Andre 3000, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, Big L)
Who's in your top 5? And why?
Side Note: This list is very objective. Some may ask why no underground rap artist, but really when it comes to all around greatness you have to have the universal appeal of being great to both indie audiences and mainstream.
By: Patrick Griffin II