Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Top 5 Dead or Alive

Often, I ask my friends who the top 5 rappers of all time are, dead or alive. Usually before they answer they want to know "based on what?" ...on what criteria? I think when determining if a rapper is an all time great 3 things should be evaluated: delivery, content, and longevity. Delivery has changed since "old school" days so I cannot include those individuals (or groups)who fall under that catagor, unless they were able to change their flow to stay current. Current=better. Longevity (either more than one classic, or 4 or more albums). I'd guess that eliminates 75% of artists.
I can name the artists eligible off the top of my head: Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Scarface, Nas, Jadakiss, Andre 3000, Eminem, Kanye West, Ludacris, Common, Fabolous, Young Jeezy. Am I forgeting anyone?? No, I meant to omit Lil Wayne due to his lack of content.
Before I get into my top 5, let me say for the record, I think Drake, J Cole, and perhaps Big Sean (needs more content) will be in the Discussion 5-10 years from now.
OK, the TOP 5 DEAD OR ALIVE in order:
1. Easy, Jay-Z. He has the most classic debut of all time. No doubt about content. No doubt about delivery. And longevity? "10 number one albums, maybe now 11"...yea no doubt. Probably the best in each category
2. Not so easy, but Eminem. Content is heavy. Delivery is strong. Longevity is apparent. 11 Grammy's. Not to mention he hopped on a track with Jay and held his own to say the least.
3. I'll give it to Pac. Not a personaly favorite but he cannot be ignored. Content is very heavy. Delivery is aggresive. As for longevity... He recorded 5 albums while alive. And 5 while dead...thats amazing. 8 of them were platinum, 1 was almost diamond.
4. The Notorious B.I.G. He would have easily been moved up at least to #3 had he not died prematurely. His content was extremely diverse. Shit, his albums were diverse Delivery was "Jay-esque"...definately #2 on the list in this category. No he did not have the longevity factor but he delivered a cult classic debut only second to Reasonable Doubt. Besides, he's the only rapper to ever make a diamond album.
5.Houston's own, Scarface. He has a unique flow, but still always enjoyable (which is why he is on here instead of 3000). He is the only rapper on the list that was able to change his style from one era to the other successfully (Jay always had a futuristic flow). He definately had deep content in his flows (a couple even with Jay)...maybe too deep. Longevity...9 albums, 3 Platinum, 1 classic.

Honorable Mention to Kanye, Jcole, and Drake. They may shake the list up in the future. Kanye may in the very near future, like September. We'll See.

Any rebuttals?

1 comment:

  1. Instead of comparing my top 5 to yours, I'm just going to let me list speak for itself. I want all readers, however, to keep in mind that this is MY personal top 5 rappers of all time.

    5. Scarface- Scarface is not just a Houston legend, but a rap legend. Scarface has multiple classic albums (The Fix, The Diary and My Homies) and has earned the respect of many of his more popular rap contemporaries (check out his collaborations with Nas, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Tupac). Before making it big as a solo artist Scarface was part of one of the most popular hip-hop groups of the 80's and early 90's The Geto Boys. Face has earned his place in my personal top 5 rappers of all time.

    4. Lil' Wayne- I've been a Lil' Wayne fan since "The Block Is Hot". Wayne always captured my attention with his witty wordplay and awesome production from Mannie Fresh. Around 2006, Lil' Wayne evolved into the rapper that he is today, killing literally any beat he hops on. Although Lil' Wayne has been the most popular rapper of the past couple years, to many fans he still needs to drop a classic studio album to be considered on of the best. The Carter III went Platinum in one week but unfortunately sales do not always correlate to quality. Lil' Wayne lacks substance in his rhymes but they are entertaining none the less. Lil' Wayne has given the public hundreds of songs for free from his very popular mixtapes (Dedication series, Da Drought series, LilWeeziana etc.) but i would GLADLY pay to hear Wayne rap like that on a real studio album.

    3. Andre 3000- Back in the day, before Big Boi and Andre 3000 started doing a lot of solo work, I thought that they were equally talented. The music they made collectively was classic and timeless. However, in recent years i have come to realize that Andre is the superior lyricist in the duo. Andre blends his unique flows with creative beats and impossible metaphors. No one in the rap game can match Andre's charisma or delivery. His verses for remixes such as Jay-Z's "30 Something", DJ UNK's "Walk It Out", Rich Boy's "Throw Some D's and Lloyd's "You" show Andre's versatility and ridiculous punchlines. Classic albums that Andre has contributed to include Aquemini, Stankonia and ATLiens.

    2. Kanye West- Kanye West puts out classic albums. Starting with College Dropout Kanye West has continuously improved his rhyming ability and production. Kanye West single handedly changed the rap game and made it accessible to talk about other things besides drugs, guns, etc. After College Dropout Ye dropped Late Registration, followed by Graduation (in which he topped 50 Cent in first week album sales). Ye gets a "creative pass" for "808's and Heartbreaks" (like Common did with "Electric Circus") to vent and explore other musical opportunities.

    1. Jay-Z- Best flow. Best collection of albums. Best delivery. Period.

    Again this is my personal top 5, in no particular order.