Of All Time List: Hip Hop Artists–(no order)

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A list has been constructed of some of the best HIP HOP ARTISTS–NOT RAPPERS, of all time. What is the difference, you may ask? There are so many rappers who are outstanding. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have done anything for the hip hop culture–just means they have a way with words. When you ask people to state the best rappers alive, you get people like, Big L, Royce da 5’9, Kool G Rap, Scarface..and more meaningless lists of people who you can’t fit into a place because there are so many of these talented linguists! Yet most of these people are not Hip Hop Artists, just clever poets.

This list is not based on the bandwagon opinion of the conforming masses–it’s a list which was developed based on categories that are essential to a quality hip hop artist. The categories are creativity, imagery/ story-telling, flow, timelessness, versatility and consistency. Why these?

Creativity is probably the most obvious, but the concept of creativity is not easily understood. In my opinion, creativity is evident in an artist who can innovate a style that can be, or has been duplicated and can always be attributed back to that artist. performing a genre of hip hop better then your predecessors is not considered creativity, just talent. By that, I mean, there are hundreds of “gangsta” rappers. The creative ones aren’t necessarily the ones that have had the most longevity. ..(SHADE!)

Imagery and story telling are easy to determine. If you can picture what is being said, thus capturing the essence of the artists purpose, then they have succeeded in story telling. Everyone doesn’t have this gift.

Timelessness, is key because if the artists can be talked about long after their time–they’ve made it to “best” status. One can ruin their timelessness by returning after they have left their prime….(SHADE!)

Versatility is determined by their ability to be commercial, mainstream, high or low; fast or slow. You get the picture.

Consistency is pretty basic. All artists flop from time to time, but if you constantly come out of retirement and flop, I wouldn’t call you consistent, just irritating… (SHADE!)

So…Your fav may not be on this list. That’s because deep down, the world of rap didn’t need them lol

Andre 3000:

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This artist is extremely creative and not afraid to take chances with his art. When he and Big Boi made their debut in ’94, they gave you a smooth, soulful, yet raw flow. The thing about Andre 3000 is, whether he’s teamed up with Big Boi, solo or featured on another artist’s song, he’s giving you something good. I’m not going to completely exclude Big Boi, but Andre 3000 is the anchor of this ship. Outkast, in my opinion gave the south a sound–in turn giving them a a spot in history.

Eminem:

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Don’t piss me off! Just had to say that before any of you got an attitude and started thinking stupid shit like, “he’s that popular because he’s white.” Thanks!

Back to the topic. How shall we begin? How about something completely unrelated like the fact one strangely , creative song coined a term that is still used and can always be attributed to him. Yup, STAN!

Beyond that, Eminem came out as a white rapper from Detroit with the odds against him for just that. He wasn’t putting on and giving you Paul Wall realness or Bubba Sparxx bars– he came out with very gory, sadistic and personal content that snatched your wig and placed it directly into the story he was telling. In addition to the content being something that people weren’t used to hearing–he has a vocabulary and a method to word play that a lot of people still can’t grasp the first time.

As far as timelessness– it has nothing to do with him being white, bitches. You have to consider, anytime someone gives you a song with murderously detailed, over-the-top, needs a video for it because you’re too stupid to understand with just the audio content–  you’ll remember that that’s some Eminem shit. ..Let me stop STANning so hard…yea…STAN! lol

Rakim:

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If you are a 90s baby or lack an old soul, then you may not have a clue who this is unless you have NBA2K13. Rakim , who is known for being a part of the duo Eric B and Rakim is constantly considered the greatest hip hop artist of all time. In my opinion, he is up there. One of the most important reasons to me is that his content was versatile and he USED HIS WORDS! He also could tell you a story about your process in trying to bite his style. It would be a detailed song, but so funny because you could picture the shenanigans he spoke about.

He also embodied all of what Hip Hop was born to be. He had the flow, that pretty much set a standard for rap- rhyming evolution. He had the swag of the ideal hip hop artist and the album Paid in Full is definitely timeless. It epitomizes hip hop, but also was the basis for your favorite hood classic movie.

Tupac:

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The prophetic art of Tupac Shakur is one that is often considered overrated by some.  A lot of people feel that Biggie is better than Tupac, etc. I have to disagree with that because as a hip hop artist, Tupac was undoubtedly more creative than a lot of other artists and constantly evolved as an artist. Additionally, he dropped many posthumous songs that proved how much work he put into his craft. Tupac was interested in speaking the truth in his songs regarding the world, politics and what some people thought were Illuminati conspiracy lyrics.

The reason I immediately compared him to Biggie is because that’s what people tend to do. I think it’s inaccurate to compare them on an overall level because they were two different artists. Biggie was raw, cut-throat and straight to the point. Pac was more colorful with his language and the way he structured his lyrics and metaphors.

This is just the beginning of my large opinion on hip hop culture. You could immediately disagree, but think of what hip hop would be if these artists never existed. Think of all of the people they influenced–you would have to remove them from hip hop culture as well. If you don’t feel that they’ve influenced anyone, think of the doors they opened instead.

Jay Z:

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I hate to add him to this list, but I can’t deny his success. I truly believe that he is overrated and that most of his success and a majority of his fan base comes from some bandwagon opinion that was born somewhere between Aaliyah’s death and Dame Dash’s wash-up (Illuminati, perhaps? lol) I personally believe that there was an alien invasion that stopped the success and future reign of Nas and transferred it to Jay Z.

Many people will tell me that I don’t know rap, I don’t understand Jay Z and blah blah, but the truth is, I understand what he’s saying because it’s not all that intellectual and hard to understand. Yet I still cannot deny his success and influence on hip hop. Just because I find him overrated does not mean that other aspiring artists did. This caused many of hip hop’s most talented artists to come out of the wood-works. So thank you dear Alien Invasion, hip hop would be slightly different without you.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Biggie- He wasn’t listed because although he was an awesome artists and is still talked about today, his discography simply wasn’t large enough for me to include. Life cut too short

Kanye West- Very creative, innovative and influential. He would be on the list, but some of his recent stunt queen antics may cause him to lose his place as a legend.

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