As some of you may know, I love to embrace hip hop culture and rarely listen non-rap music. The only instances would be for me secretly and now out of the closet love for boy bands of the 90s. Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody” will get you just as amped as Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” or Eminem’s Lose Yourself and there is no better way to kickoff a weekend than with N* Sync’s “Just Got Paid.” But I digress, this blog is dedicated to the streets. DJ DeeJay, Pooooooooookie! DJ Green, I see you bruh! This will highlight my favorite rappers of my lifetime. It will pay its respects to some rappers of old skool and new. I will also point out what I believe to be their best work. I understand everyone’s list will be different but this is mine and I encourage lots of shit talking – making fun of my list and explaining why everyone else’s list is dumb and why yours is accurate. So please feel free to make the comment box your bitch and enjoy ☺
10. Busta Rhymes: I would classify Busta Bus as the King of the Mid School. He wasn’t really around in the mid 80’s, he isn’t on top of his game now but he really flourished in the late 90’s early 2000’s, which is when he dropped “Break Ya Kneck” on everyone’s heads. This was such a good hype song and I still remember bobbin my head quickly to it in the women’s locker room before our basketball games against the Roadrunners of Vo-Tech. I think the main contributor to his dismay was the cutting of his ever long dreads. I think by shakin them during verses actually allowed him to spit hotter and fasta fiya like Dylon. But he now rocks a fade and is approaching his 40s and should focus his efforts more on producing? However, I do commend him for his contributions to the game.
9. Outkast: Outkast, was the most diverse artist of our era. While both having faster styles, they both were able to switch it up and slow it down for more mainstream songs. Big Boi represented the traditional country hood of the ATL, while Andre 3000 and his style represented their constituents on Neptune. He is the only dude who could wear what he wore and still get respect in the rap game. My favorite song of theirs was “Rosa Parks.” Not only was it educational but it had a good beat, and addressed current events. I think this song should be taught instead of U.S. History for all CCSD juniors.
8. Fabolous: F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S, let’s ride. Quite possible one of the most clever rappers of our era. He could play with words like no one else and make them come out like buttah. He was the best thing that every happened to Desert Storm and the third best to ever come out of the infamous BK. Stand up. My favorite song of Fabo is “Breathe.” This is the ultimate workout song. Whether you’re the dude at the gym wearing jeans and an Under Armour pretending to work out or running a marathon. The beat, the climax, the puns, stupid good!
7. Kanye West: The tighter his pants get, the more controversy he stirs up. I particularly like the older version of Kanye West when he thought his shit did stink. But current personality aside, dude can produce. He started producing Jay-Z’s “Lucipher” on The Black Album where he coined his beats of having high pitched voices sped up for the hooks. Then came out with “Through the Wire” after a near fatal car accident, where if you listen to it now you can really tell that he was spitting through wires when you hear hish shlur. He has definitely had his fair share of ups and downs and my favorite up probably isn’t in line with yours but my favorite song of his is “Get Em High.”
6. Eminem: The only white boy on the list. I actually think he is more liked by black people than he is white. While he does represent us in a contingent where we are pretty much nonexistent, I actually think people overcompensate and think he is better than he really is because he is white. But color aside he is one of the greatest writers of all time. From buses in the three one third to tour buses in LA, he is probably a lot better when he write angrily more so than humorously. I think his funnier songs or more novelty and for publicity, whereas his deeper songs are in fact better.
5. Nas: I never have and probably never will be a huge Nas fan. I always sided with the jiggaman and never really listened to him as much as I should have. But I do understand that he is amazing at what he does and very musically talented. I also respect that when I met him and Kelis while doing a shift of “Apollo Towel” at Caesar’s Palace, he wasn’t a doucher when most probably would have been. My favorite song of his was “Got yourself” and I specifically remember listening to it with Joey Fiorentini on the bus on the way home from lost baseball games.
4. Tupac: Tupac falls in the same category form me as Nas. I never really liked him either. I was East Side over West Side all day because Biggie had nothing to do with his first or second shooting. I hate to break it to you Pac, but rolling around former UNLV Offensive Lineman, Suge Knight, probably isn’t the crowd that Afeni was too happy about. I thought Tupac was hypocrite by living his “Thug Life” with songs like “Bonnie and Clyde” and the next single being “Dear Mama.” Just wasn’t a fan, but I do realize that he was talented, dumb and young, but talented and my favorite song of his was “Changes.”
3. Notorious B.I.G.: Yes, we can see you Biggie. From slangin rocks to Sebastian Telfair when he was like 11 in Brooklyn, to being a millionaire at 19 is pretty impressive. The movie depicting his life was awesome. I can say that he was probably the best freestyler on the list and had the best flow. While he was a little overweight, he never sounded tired or out of breath, which was astounding to me. We all try to recite his lyrics and always run out of breath. His best work was “Hypnotize.” This may sound like a pop culture cop-out, but there isn’t another song made that same year or prior to that is still played as frequently today in clubs and on the radio.
2. Lil’ Wayne: Actually a college graduate if you didn’t know. Dwayne Carter is probably the most popular rapper now and is probably more popular than Biggie was in his hay day. He literally was a child prodigy by rapping at the same level now as he was when he was 13. When Cash Money picked him up, he was on the cover of many orange and green cd cases but no one really ever embraced him because were too bust listening to garbage from Juvenile and B.G. Well, now he is on top of the world, and doing it from a jail cell. I’m not exactly sure what his best song is but my favorite is “Hustler Music,” many of you probably haven’t heard it but please do, especially the acapella verse at the very end. The thing that sets him apart from everyone else is his delivery. He is second on my list but second to none in delivery and word play.
1. Jay-Z: HOVA. Sean Carter. Jigga. The best of all time! He did come back like Jordan wearin the 45, not to play games with us but to aim at us. He has the hottest chick in the game wearin his chain, did crossover albums with Linkin Park, currently touring with U2, and it is safe to say that no one could do it betta. He has put out literally 20 albums, of which my favorite is “The Black Album.” I would bring it to work at Champs with me every day and bump it in the stockroom on repeat for months. He is so versatile lyrically and actually came up rapping hella fast. The first song I remember of his is “Money Ain’t a Thang” but my favorite song of his was “99 Problems.” I thought it was different from any song I had ever heard. Rick Rubin who produced the Red Hot Chili Peppers, produced it and it still is amazing today. It almost gets me teary eyed.