Everyone knows the infamous barbershop discussion, who are your top 5? Well, here’s ours:
1. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill is revered as a musical genius by her industry peers, past and present. Her content, lyricism, and musicality of her work has been etched in musical stone, to be traced and replicated over and over by her successors. She brought social and human messages to light in art form. She was before her time, a true pioneer.
Critique: Lauryn Hill only has one album. However, it is an album that has proven to stand the test of time. There was criticism of her following project, MTV Unplugged, citing it as an incomplete and subpar showcasing of what we can expect from Hill after her groundbreaking introduction album.
THE DEBATE: There is the argument that Hill isn’t a rapper. But a singer with bars. But if you ask us, then Hill (and DMX) is the pioneer of the rap/sing mashup we hear from the Drake genre today. Classic R&B hits like “Ex-Factor” show Hill’s gracious singing ability while tracks such as “Final Hour” showcase her rapping talent. However even still, it can be deduced that many view Hill as only a singer. But make no mistake, Lauryn spits. Let’a also not forget Hill held her own in a trio of two male rappers during her run in the group The Fugees.
Gotta thing for a storyteller….2Pac is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. Gone too soon at the height of his career, Tupac Shakur is the GOAT in storytelling. From “Brenda Had a Baby” to “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” we saw his transition to gangster rap with songs like “Ambitionz Az a Ridah.” His potent delivery was convincing.
THE DEBATE: Some hip-hop heads don’t view 2Pac as one of the best lyricists. They do think he could make great songs, though. Some could argue his storytelling dwindled as he began switching over to gangster rap. And while that may be true, Pac knew how to convey a message and tell the story the best. He had the best use of imagery that could captivate any listener.
His ability to stay relevant and still a legitimate cool kid even though he’s damn near 40 is quite frankly, a gift. The love started for Fab when he was heard on every new artist’s song. It was like he was the gatekeeper to hip hop. He was the go-to rapper for features cause he knew how to add that extra umph! His bars are always on topic per song, none of that money-cars-clothes-h*es narrative that we always hear (unless it applies).
THE DEBATE: People take Fab’s flashiness and ability to stay mainstream and keep up on social media with the kids for weaknesses. They think he’s more concerned with staying hot than his craft. False. He can do both. And he does it effortlessly. He held his own with the god, Kiss, on their recent project, Freddy vs. Jason. Stop doubting my mans!
The original rapper with melodies. Does it honestly get anymore raw and real than X? Incorporated his faith, his struggle, his upbringing–everything was put in his music. We know his demons cause he told us. We followed him on his journey because he welcomed us along. It takes a courageous soul to use music in the way DMX did. He was a vessel for many, and cemented his legacy.
THE DEBATE: Some say if X hadn’t fallen victim to his addiction, he would’ve been the King of New York Hip Hop instead of Jay-Z, currently. (Yes we know what we’re saying.) Even with his addiction, his music transcends his circumstances. He still is revered as a legend today.
5. Busta Rhymes
The man’s energy is incomparable. Who has stage presence like him? Who raps like him? They were sleeping on Busta when he was with the Leaders of the New School. Even then he was a fast-rapping, bar-killing assassin! His solo career was always promising because he had the skill to captivate his audience. His music videos and performances only added to his persona and were some of the most classic moments in televised hip hop.
Who are your top 5? Scarface? Kendrick? Jay? Let us know!
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