Hip-Hop consist of 2 types of fans. Fans who lived the era and the new fans who are being exposed and catching up to the current era. This is what causes the constant debates about Who’s the greatest and literally almost every artist of every decade has a valid argument.
Why? Because there are intangibles that you can only say you experienced. You cant bottle cultural impact, deep influence, growth and maturity as an artist. In boxing styles make fights…well in hip-hop styles makes careers and much like Boxing, the NBA, NFL, MLB the money exposure and the audience have all changed and increased and the popularity is higher than ever!
Here is where the debate begins…I believe it was 2003 when Kool Moe Dee wrote a book of The 50 Greatest Emcees and put himself in the Top 5 and paid hommage to the pioneers listing all of them in the Top 4 ahead of him. He dissected the game by certain criteria like style, cadence, originality and most importantly lyrics to decipher who was placed where. Oh yes, he did put him self above LL of course lol.
Was he wrong? Well…Not really but here is the issue.
1. Hip-Hop isn’t over
2. Artist like Drake, Rick Ross, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Meek Mill Big Sean and even Kanye dont necessarily count because of either body of work or they weren’t even in the game when the book started being written.
Now a lot of people would say “Who is KMD to be making a greatest list anyway?”
My answer. Well he’s one of the most original and innovative rhymers in Hip-Hop History. He has some of the greatest battle verses and his flow would still work today.
Some may argue and some may not and here is why. Some people 35-40 and up feel Rakim is the greatest ever. A lot of fans 22-30 still debating if its Nas or Jay [Thats if you are finally arguing over Pac and B.I.G] and if you are 25 and under Most likely you been saying Wayne is the greatest since the Carter series.
So who’s right and who’s wrong? I feel its wide open. Its wide open because the skill of actual rapping has to come into play. If you throw the contracts, twitter followers, the million dollar production and it truly came down to 5- 10 rappers just rapping or clashing the crews…You would find a lot of these “Old Rappers” rapping circles around these new cats.
The juice crew was one of the greatest group of emcees in hip-hop and in their day they ran things! The main rhymers of the Juice Crew were MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap and Biz Markie [Not to sleep on Masta Ace, Roxanne Chante and Craig G]
In 2013 MANY say MMG is the hardest team in rap. Maybach Music Group consist of Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill, Stalley, Rockie Fresh and Gunplay [Omarion doesn’t rap].
Who wants to bet me in a cypher or crew to crew battle G. Rap and Kane ALONE cant wash MMG out with 1 verse? I’ll take that bet ANY DAY OF LIFE!
Lets not talk crews. Let talk individuals. Like Rakim, LL and Moe Dee…Can you name me 10 rappers with a 5 year or less career that are truly better than any of these 3? Like heads and shoulders above there predecessors.
If you put Slick Rick and The Fresh Prince in a cypher with French Montana, Kid Cudi and ASAP Rocky or asked them to Freestyle. It’s a guarantee that Slick and Prince wont come in 4 and 5!
This is why I still feel there is no Greatest of All Time. All we can do is be fortunate to live the eras we are in and do the history on all the music before our times and respect it. I lucked up. I grew up in the Golden Era. The 90’s literally set the tone and firmed the foundation for EVERYTHING that is hip-hop today! However the great 80’s rappers set such a high standard of lyricism and originality they had no choice but to. The bar is set high to push the music further and if its never met or exceeded the music and culture will die.
What are you thinking? Hit us up and express yourself.