My buddy Michael Volitich and I have been into Hip-Hop since we were kids and this is something which hasn’t changed at all. We were talking last week about just how much the industry has changed over the years and he challenged me to talk about my top 3 rappers of all time. This, as I’m sure you can understand, is something which requires a great deal of thought, even then it isn’t easy to finally decide. After something careful consideration however I believe that I have finally whittled down my list to my top 3 rappers of all time, have a read and see if you agree.
1 – Nas
The suggestion that Nas only had one good album is simply nonsense, it is just that he set the bar so high that he would never have reached it again. Beyond Illmatic Nas has released at least 4 other classic albums in It Was Written, I Am, Nastradamous, Stillmatic and God’s Son and when history reflects on what this New York rapper has brought to the game, he rightfully will be considered the modern day Shakespeare. It wasn’t simply the rhymes which Nas put together that makes his music stand out but the smooth, storytelling flow which he has to project the lyrics. For me he is the most creative and dynamic rapper and one of the industries best ever writers.
2 – Black Thought
I have often been ridiculed for my love of The Roots’ lead singer Black Thought but this year he once again proved to the world, not to me of course, just how talented he really is when he spat an insane 11 minute freestyle on Funkamster Flex’ ration show. Black Thought is able to freestyle better than anyone in the industry and he can switch his voice from artful storytelling to a compelling teacher or an angry revolutionary with consummate ease. The Roots perhaps should have sold more albums than they did but the man with the mic should most certainly go down in history as one of the greatest that has ever spat bars.
3 – Eminem
Few players have done to the rap game what Eminem did when he came along in the late 90s and the truth is that it has never really been the same again. Em is a great battle rapper but this ability very often gets talked about more than the other characteristics which the Detroit native offers. Em has a flow which differs from just about everyone else in the game, he spits venom to those who hate him, truth to those who need it and weaves heartwarming stories of love and fatherhood in between. Eminem can slay for sure but there is much more to his style than that and his word play and verbal gymnastics are unlikely to ever be matched again by anyone with originality.
What do you think of my top 3? Who would you add?