Can y'all clarify which ones are your kings for style and which ones are for content?
Pharoahe Monch (technique, lyricism, depth, soul)
Mos Def (lyricism, wit, soul, loose and spriitual quality, he brings to an often structured genre)
Nas (lyrics, technique,narrative skill, poetic ability)
El-P (lyrics, technique, depth)
Raekwon (narrative skill, lyricism, abstract wordplay, originality)
Ghostface Killa(same as Rae, with more colorful wordplay, extremely original)
Andre 3000 (originality, technique)
Kool Keith (had an album called Black Elvis in Space, nuff said)
Rakim (lyricism, technique, wordplay)
Del the Funkee Homosapien (originality)
KRS One (technique, freestyle ability, crowd rocking ablity)
Eminem (technique, originality)
Posdanus(originality, lyricism, depth)
Jean Grae(technique, lyricism)
Busta Rhymes(technique, chameleon like ability to perform any style or flow, originality, showstealing ability)
Big Daddy Kane (technique, flow)
Ras Kass(technique, lyrics, depth)
Black Thought(technique, lyrics, slept on ability to shift styles to fit various songs)
I also want to shout out Biggie mainly for being the best storyteller amongst other gifts, Pac for emotional depth that has yet to be matched since his death and Scarface for being the trillest Southern Rapper alive in my opinion..
Snoop = master of style, flow, cleverness
Slick Rick = stylemaster, originality, storytelling, delivery
Chuck D = content, delivery, storytelling (when chosen i.e.: Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos)
Chill Rob G = content, storytelling, style
Ghostface = style, storytelling, delivery, honesty
Posdanus = depth, originality, style
Large Professor = style, minimalist impact, directness
Redman = style, humor, conceptual fearlessness
Run-DMC = impact, style, directness
Kool Keith = originality, artistic fearlessness, delivery (all these are understatements relating to his work)
Immortal Technique = content, fearlessness, delivery
Jay-Z = cleverness, style
Kanye = fearlessness, originality, honesty
Big Pun = delivery, style
Madlib (Quasimoto) = originality, humor, style
Lord Finesse = style, minimalist delivery, cleverness
Big L = delivery, style, humor
Y'all mentioned some good ones that I completely overlooked. I even mentioned Snoop in the conversation and forgot to list him. How could I leave off Kool Keith??? Critical Beatdown is the classic everyone acknowledges, but the Four Horsemen is the bomb as well. Got a Freestyle somewhere on Cassette of Keith where the record skips and he just rides it.
^^^ gotta check Joey Ba$$, heard about him. Waka? I understand many dig him but is it style or content? I've heard him admit he's no "real emcee" and just makes songs & he gets props for being up front unlike many fakers out there. A trusted Hip Hop head of mine just mentioned Danny
CE, yeah I have to add in Ultramagnetic's "Funk Your Head Up", folks sleep on that too. "2 Brothers With Checks", "Plucking Everyone's Card", "Stop Kocking Me Girl", "Poppa Large", etc. Keith & crew like no other. Snoop came in the door with the style & flow and never fell off once in 2 decades, incomparable. "Boss' Life" is exemplifies his mastery.
How the hell did I forget...
Guru = style, voice, content. Another stand alone who survived trends & fly-by-nights. I was just watching Gangstarr's "Positivity" video and it brought tears to my eyes (honestly) probably for three reasons; 1) I miss Guru & Gangstarr, 2) the lack of positive content currently in popular rap, 3) it's a great minimalist video & song.
Schoolly D = Style, content, delivery, humor. The gangster rap pioneer told dark stories from a side of town I knew nothing about (and still don't). His simple flow painted stories of wild Saturday nights that only ol' heads & daring young boiz knew of. His tales of pimps, prostittues, battling, drugs, sex came right in the Lightning Rod / Iceberg Slim tradition with P-Funk humor & imagination.
Tuff Crew / Ice Dog = (more shameless hometown flag-waving) Style, voice, humor. These Philly underground pharoahs had some hits that ruled the town and Ice Dog had (& still has) one of the the coolest voices in Hip Hop. Check "My Part Of Town" (yep). Right up there with...
Cypress Hill / B-Real = Style, content, delivery. Completely changed the game. Hard, rhythmic, high-pitched, exciting, funny. Ridiculously imitated & never duplicated. And they gave lyrical props to...
Rammellzee = Style, content, fearlesness artistically. This original school multi-talent (graff aerosol art, sculpture, DJ, actor, etc.) had one the illest styles & voices ever. Listen to "Beat Bop" co-performed with K-Rob and Jean-Michel Basquiat (who did the cover art on the 12 inch single). Anybody who disses everyone from Son of Sam, Warhol & Basquiat has to be pretty confident in their skill & Ram did and could back it up. Dodged the "old school" label by taking his expression to outer space & beyond.
T-La Rock / Special K = Style, content, creativity. Listen to "It's Yours" and explains all. These blood brothers must have been raised with dictionaries & encyclopedias in their home because they lyrically changed the game that was barely learning to walk. Special K was a founding member of highly lyrical & competitive Treacherous 3 (with Kool Moe Dee & LA Sunshine) that had the skills to go head up with Run-DMC & Busy Bee. K had the most intricate style (see Treacherous 3 "New Rap Language" and you'll see it was a fitting title) and he wrote the lyrics for "It's Yours" and little brother T-La Rock performed them. T-La was just as powerful with his own compositions "Breaking Bells", "What's The Name Of This Song (Runaway)?" and doing songs with a young Greg Nice (of Nice 'n' Smooth) on beatbox.
^^ agreed, Ice-T's work on Rhyme Pays, Power, Freedom Speech & O.G. (may have been something in between) were solid statements. He never tried to compete lyrically, he held his lane down. "Reckless" and "Pimpin' Ain't Easy" and the Cop Killer project I dug too. Surviving past three albums where you are still hot is a test in itself.
Total recall of emcees coming back...
Del Tha Funyhomosapien = Style, originality, content. From writng "Gangsta's Fairy Tale" & co-writing "Jacking For Beats" for Ice Cube to his own underground classics like "Sleeping On My Couch","Wrong Place, Wrong Time", "Catch A Bad One" and the Deltron project, Del is a complete virtuoso. Anyone remember the show Pump It Up with Dee Barnes where he opened up the freestyle cipher with Leaders Of The New School and still shone as best? Leads (ha check my big 'pun') me to...
Leaders Of The New School = Style, content, fearlessness. LONS had a wild varied crew with each having energetic styles. Busta, Dinco D, Charlie Brown & sometimes DJ Milo came out with everything from high pitched sqeaks to dragon growls back when being that different wasn't frowned upon. The debut Future Without A Past dealt with girls, school, education (even nodding to Fela with Teacher Don't Teach Us Nonsense) with no boundries. Their second & final album T.I.M.E.: The Inner Mind's Eye showed just how deep their content & experimental styles could get. Speaking of groundbreaking quartets...
The Pharcyde = Content, style, honesty, humor. What can be said? Imani, Bootie Brown, Fatlip The Slimkid Tre do it this way. Their debut Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is the most fitting title for a crew & album that went beyond the normal by looking inward. 4 emcees with completely different styles that complimented each other perfectly and were unafraid to speak on any thing; from mama jokes, drugs, sex misadventures, shyness (Morrissey could seriously learn from them), partying, selling out, etc. They could have drowned out by J-Swift's enveloping production but they stood too strong without shoving their egos down your throat. And on the great follow up LabCabinCalifornia they still lyrically radiated over Jay Dee (later J-Dilla) and Diamond D tracks. And showed their massive talents with the Imani/Bootie 2-man Pharcyde and solos by Tre & Fatlip that delved even deeper into their personas with singing and electronic music. As underrated as they are, they never showed any lack of artistic adventure.
Wish Charlie Brown would come out with some solo stuff...
Busta finds no humor with Nardwuar...
Machine Gun Kelly talks about influences...NSFW
This guy does some good interviews.
Great stuff, Nard is the man. I think Busta did see some humor but was trying too hard to play hard. Jay-Z coulda chilled too. Nard's research and/or team digs deep, as Tyler the Creator said in his interview "you work for the feds?" The one with Kurt & Courtney Cobain with Nirvana was good along with the Afrika Bambaataa, Mars Volta, A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Black Lips, Ghostface and Kool Keith segments (yes I'm a Narwuar fan).
Jojo does an acoustic cover of Drake's Marvin's Room. There are plenty of electric and NSFW versions on youtube. Pretty cool. Don't know why they're in pajamas.
The other week when the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup I wondered if Quik still had the Kings parka from the Born and Raised in Compton video. I was thinking that there should be some sort of permanent hip hop museum or hall of fame somewhere where something like that could be displayed. I have seen similar temporary museum installations in the bay area and in LA (Thanks Rosenda) but I'm not aware of a permanent one.
If there was such a museum, what would you have in it? Post away.