Monday, November 30, 2015

Billboard's Top 10 Greatest Rappers of All Time

On Friday, November 20th, Billboard put out a list of the Top 10 Greatest Rappers of All Time and needless to say it made a lot of people mad, as these lists tend to do. If you haven't seen this list, I'll catch you up. Their list was:

10) Lil Wayne
9) Kendrick Lamar
8) Ghostface Killah
7) Lauryn Hill
6) Andre 3000
5) Nas
4) Rakim
3) Eminem
2) Jay-Z
1) Notorious B.I.G.

You can clearly see why people are pissed. There's no Tupac! Billboard try to weasel their way out of this by saying, "Even Tupac, perhaps the most influential rapper ever globally, is arguably known more for great songwriting than dominant bars." Which is utter bullshit because it suggests that: A) songwriting doesn't belong in hip hop, B) his raps had no flow to begin with, and C) if thats the standard why even include Nas? Billboard also didn't include producer/rappers, saying "we’re ranking these folks as MCs, not artists" so that immediately eliminates Dr. Dre and Kanye, and even said right out of the gate that KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane and Drake just didn't make the cut, without any reasons given. My first thought was why was Drake even in the discussion to begin with? Then I realized why isn't KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane on this list?

Alright, let's first cut through the bullshit. Lil Wayne, Kendrick, Lauryn Hill, and Andre 3000 should be taken off this list. Real quick, Lil Wayne had one, MAYBE two good albums. Kendrick is sniffing the Top 10 of all time but its just too early for him. Lauryn, had two great albums (including The Fugees) and one horrific album. Andre 3000 is great but not Top 10.

Taking their place, for me, is Tupac, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One and Chuck D. Place them where ever you want. I'm not going to argue placements of any of these artists on this list. Placements within 10 spots is like splitting hairs.

People love to automatically include Drake in this conversation but I don't. I don't think he's anywhere near good enough to be included but besides my personal opinion on the matter, just like Kendrick, its way too early for him to be included. I still think in hip hop today, Kendrick is 10 times better than Drake, and J. Cole is 5 times better. So, take it easy with the Drake discussion.

The real issue with this list is the parsing of it right out of the gate. Just because an MC produces, he's immediately not considered a great MC? It felt to me that Billboard did this in order to slide more current artists in and create talking points and piss people off and I hate that. I hate that because everybody has their own list anyway and if you simply came out with a list straight up, it would still be a talking point! You don't need to make controversial picks for the sake of making controversial picks in order for people to talk about it.

So, if you need a refresher. My Top 10 is:

  1. Tupac
  2. Nas
  3. Chuck D
  4. Biggie
  5. Rakim
  6. Eminem
  7. KRS-One
  8. Ghostface Killah
  9. Big Daddy Kane
  10. Jay-Z