Got a chance to see what Royce Da 5’9 said about being a lyricist vs being an artist and I definitely agree. I also think that when you put it in it’s proper context, boxes or categories, it changes nothing in hip-hop.
Working with writers, producers and having a team that produces hit records is the mark of a great artist.
Working with a beat maker and producer and producing hit records makes you a great writer and lyricist.
The difference is one bares the burden of sculpting every single word and one knows a formula and takes it next level. So with no exaggeration, a lot of aspiring rappers have really hopped into the Puff Daddy & The Family Lane but that’s great business.
Puff was not the first guy to need a ghostwriter or have a song written for him. He is the first guy to put his label on his back and crank out a lot of hits after the anchor of his label passed on. He did that by hiring a lot of top notch emcees to create a hit making formula that still holds weight till this day in music.
Looking back, I’m sure that Puff’s style, voice, swagger and input was equally as successful to the formula as the words being said by him. We’ve never really sat in a barbershop, locker room, lunch table or anywhere else hip-hop is discussed and heard “Puff got Bars!” You’ve never heard that and if you have….well…..be wiser about the people you choose to talk music with.
The artistry to Puff Daddy is polarizing and he is one of the greatest entertainers in hip-hop history. Not Emcee, Entertainer. Entertainers make a lot of money, mainstream in this game.
Your Top Entertainers in no order would be
Doug E Fresh
Lil John [with or without The East Side Boys]
Why? Because it’s about the show and not the rhyme. You never been to one of their shows and had the opportunity to stand on the wall. You are bouncing off the walls for what they do. These aren’t your premier lyricist, nor do they care to be. They are the curators of feel good in hip-hop.
Lets talk real quick on as much fact as we can about emcees. The average Top 10 List doesn’t change in regard to what Royce said about “Artist vs. Lyricist”, no matter what new “bar scandal” takes place.
Think about it. When People ask “Who’s the best Emcees/Rappers?” “Who is the G.O.A.T?” a lot of go to answers, again, in no order, include.
Big Daddy Kane
LL Cool J
Outside of what Dream Hampton said about Nas, who’s name can you attempt to put an asterisk by for NOT writing on this list? Isn’t this the list that makes the average OG or hip-hop heads top 10?
It’s 2016 and we got to come to the realization that the first Rap Superstar a lot of these 25-30 year olds ever seen was Sean “Puffy” Combs. He gave them hit records and a style to run with. Sure they seen Jay Z too but Jigga was not bigger than Puff Daddy. Puff Daddy was an international superstar before Y2K.
There was a time that existed in Hip-Hop that if you didn’t get signed to Def Jam, being on Bad Boy was just as cool. Even when B.I.G passed that allure was still there when “No Way Out” and “Harlem World” dropped. Puff was the first polarizing mogul and showman of hip-hop to crossover into an arena that many rappers never seen and although the pen was always in question, you could never deny the artistry and the product that exist.
That’s why reference tracks don’t hold weight. That’s why your rapping ability can be suspect or sporadic. This is why the emcee and the artist can co-exist and its going to be a mismatch when you break down categories; But it’s all good; Cause it’s all hip-hop. My only hope is the best possible music is pulled to the forefront and the weakness washes away.