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Top 5 Rappers In The Game (right now…i didn’t say all time or even all year). Because I Felt Like It, That’s Why.
I’m a big fan of these lists. Actually, lists were something I always encouraged when I was at the Source. Top 100 Lyrics (it’s a classic list if you’ve never seen it, you need to) back in 2002, Top 25 Producers, I can go on and on about how many of these we put together back then. Well, here’s my own two cents, so I’ll start the dialogue for me and my peeps to weigh in. I’m ready for the arguments, so here we go.
I never agree with the lists I see from others, so here’s my own. It’s the top 5 in the game…not 5..dead or alive…it’s not that deep. These are the 5 who are holding it down, (today), in my opinion, off the top of my head. I might even change my mind in a day and update this. I’ll start from the bottom and count up.
5. Game - The Game is really growing on me. I always thought he was a decent rapper, but now I’m thinking he’s probably better than we give him credit for. I think there are a lot of issues with rapper’s credibility these days, their questionable career moves, etcetera, etcetera…but if we’re talking straight rap…words into a microphone…i think Game is kinda good.
4. Royce - Okay, so let’s put the nepotism out on the table. You know that Royce is like fam so I’m gonna say that first. But I will opt to say he’s on this list just because he is that good and not just because I hear his music all the time. Remember, I’m talking rap here, not who’s on fire or has the biggest buzz. Rap, straight bars, wordplay, flow, lyrics, yada yada. I could have said Eminem but I figured since their rhyme style is so similar, I’d go with the person that doesn’t hate me. hee hee.
3. Nas - Okay, I finally listened to some of his new songs, and I admit, Nas still has it. He’s the thinker rapper, and he’s still delivering material that opens the eyes of the hip hop community. That should stand for something so i’ll give him points for that. Plus, Nas has one of the best voices for rap also. Voice is very important although some pretty bad voices have been so good at the other things that they’ve canceled out this category.
2. Fabolous - Anyone who neglects to put Fab on their list is sleeping. I keep hearing guest appearances on different songs, and think, wow Fab actually keeps getting better. In terms of his writing, his metaphors and similes, his delivery and most importantly his wordplay, I really feel that Fab is killing everyone else. Where he falls short occasionally is in the subject matter area. I think if Fab got more personal on his rhymes and let us know exactly who he was and what he’s gone through, he would finally earn his place in the top tier. People never really talk about him when they talk about the best, but he is better than like 98 % of people makin records.
1. Andre 3000 - My vote for Andre as the best is a testament to the fact that flow and delivery are the two most important characteristics to today’s emcee’ing. I’m not saying that lyrics aren’t important…well, actually, yes, I am saying that they are less important these days. Think about it: if someone has great lyrics but a horrible delivery and you compare then to someone with average lyrics but can spit the heck out of them, then the average person wins because it sounds more like flava in your ear. In Andre’s case, his flow is ridiculous, and he rides every track I’ve heard him on perfectly. Lyrically, he adds to that by delivering complicated yet still comprehensible rhymes (you know I can’t listen to three syllable words unless there’s a punchline that goes along with it). That’s my vote. Plus, he got all y’all boppin your head to a Farnsworth song.
What do you think? Please don’t crucify me for leaving Weezy off. I’m sure he would have probably been in the top 10. Well, I’m not sure, but I still think he’s good, just not the first five. I know the Lil’ Wayne fan club is going to throw darts at my head.
I’ve been sitting by watching how Nas has taken this whole anti-Fox News protest, spinning it into one of the biggest publicity moves of his career. Bravo! For that, I want to commend him, because in this horrible music sales climate, I have to say, that hip-hop is suffering so much, I support anyone who figures out a way to SELL RECORDS…watch here…
Let me digress… It’s starting to bother me how quickly people (mainly the media) jump on the bandwagon of a so-called “good cause.” For one, we’ve all known for years how conservative (whether or not it’s disguised racism is not for this discussion…for that one, my legal expertise would call for more research)…how conservative Fox News is. I have often gone on Fox News to defend hip-hop’s position when it has been attacked. I sat across from Bill O’Reilly when he tried to knock one of ours for giving back to the community. I went on the Big Story with Jon Gibson when they tried to call another artist…an R&B one…a gangster rapper and contributed to him losing a major endorsement. When they’ve attacked hip-hop in the past, I have, and so have many others, gone there to make sure hip-hop has a voice. Now, if some of our artists choose to never represent hip-hop to these audiences (the Fox News-es and the like) then I will say that is the choice they have. But when you take a stance, and you decide to take a stance for a cause like this, I am going to question your intentions, because it means that if this issue came up and you weren’t promoting your album, you’d be sitting on the sidelines not doing much. Now let me say that Nas isn’t wrong for this….he is for his own cause. Because he has an album to sell and promote. We are all ultimately doing things for our own cause? What is bothering me is how quickly the media (a lot of bloggers who just want to be down) jump on his bandwagon and start covering this story without giving it any context. So everyone is just applauding and giving this super-duper coverage without posing any questions. So my beef is more so with journalism and the hip-hop media right now. Here are a couple of times when I would have liked to hear Nas say something…
1. when BET did the panel hip hop vs. america.
2. when Don Imus called the Rutgers basketball team nappy headed hos. (did he say anything? correct me if I’m wrong)
3. when hip-hop lyrics came under fire at the congressional hearings last September.
4. when the Rolling Stones Keith Richards said some dumb shit about hip hop.
5. when 60 minutes did their report on “Stop Snitching” and we were left with Cam’Ron as our voice
So…I’m asking…does it matter that he’s doing this a week after his album dropped? Do we care that he will go on the Colbert Report, an anti O’Reilly show, but will not go on Fox News (insiders at the network told me that he’s turned them down a few times) and represent hip-hop when it’s getting attacked. Or even go on a black show like Hip Hop Vs. America and put his 2 cents in. I’m just asking you all.
I respect both of these artists tremendously, but do we really need a collaboration album. The latest rumor is that Jay-Z and Nas will team up for an album titled “Kings Of Hip-Hop” on Jay-Z’s “new” label. Two years ago, I might have gotten it, but in 2008, I’m like, I don’t get it. Their newfound friendship is so overkill.
Here are some alternative album titles that I propose:
Friends Or Foes?
Life After Def Jam
Just Another Excuse to Compete
One Hand Washes The Other
The Pension Plan
Please, contribute to this list. You know you want to.
Everyone’s complaining that we’re not selling records in hip-hop like we used to. Blame the internet, blame the game, blame whatever, but what about the fact that most of the music is coming from what I like to refer to as “old ass rappers.” Don’t get me wrong, i’m up there myself, but then again, I’m not rappin’. Is it really a young man’s game? Now, I guess if Lil’ Wayne comes out and does well for hip-hop, it might prove my point, since he isn’t as old as others (though some have claimed he’s older than he lets on). But what is to be said about the fact that sales for certain artists have been declining since they hit the 30 mark.
Check out the feature we did on this on BET.com, more politically-correct in its title “Mid Rap Crisis.” Shout out to Carl for pulling it together. Take a look at the album sales we’ve listed for LL, Fat Joe, Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Busta, Eminem and more–all over 35 and declining in sales since. It seems that 30 is not the new 20 after all, when it comes to sales at least.
This just in….Okay, not really. Can you guess that I’m being sarcastic, yet? Why is everyone reporting on Nas pushing his upcoming album, N***er, back a few months. You didn’t really think he was going to put it out in December, did you? C’mon, when Jay-Z decided to drop his CD American Gangster in November that pretty much should have told you right there that there would be no Nas album. Well, I guess I’ll get back to the news which is that it isn’t coming until February.
And by the way, check the Nas and Jay picture from their Apollo show a few weeks ago. Is it me or is their newfound friendship where they have to join each other on stage getting a little played?? It’s screaming publicity stunt, and I miss hearing “Takeover” and “Ether.” I’m gonna go play them now.