Top 5 Dead Or Alive: "Drake Understands Where He Came From, In Terms Of The Underground"
Friday, Nov 18, 2011 12:15AM
Each week, SOHH asks two entertainment personalities to name their Top 5 rappers of all-time. To make things tricky, we've created a "Hall of Fame" of emcees (see right) who are universally respected and therefore may not be mentioned. After hip-hop journalist Adam Bernard gave his fave five earlier this week, fellow veteran music writer Andreas Hale pencils in his Top 5 favorite hip-hop artists.
Phonte. I always put him at the top of my lists. Phonte is on my list because he's not above being a regular man. There's not too many artists who can talk about being a regular man and we can all relate to them. It's not about a car or a lifestyle with Phonte. We all live the lifestyle that Phonte has lived and he tells it eloquently and in a way that we can all relate to.
Slug. I have to name Slug from Atmosphere. I've always been a big fan of Slug. Slug is one of those artists who speaks from the deepest parts of his soul. He's not scared to bare his soul out to the public. Atmosphere, the group, has been around for a very long time and I've always appreciated Slug's mannerisms and storytelling ability.
Brother Ali. Definitely have to name Brother Ali in my list. Brother Ali is basically the emcee from the pulpit. If there's ever an emcee that sounds like he could have ever been a minister for hip-hop, it's Brother Ali. [His lyrics are] never too preachy, [they're] right on point. It's spoken from a voice that makes you pay attention and plus the lyrics are just incredible.
Drake. I'm going out on a limb right here, but if you give him time, you'll see. I have to put Drake on the list. The thing I like most about Drake is that he understands where he came from in terms of the underground and he's always [demonstrated] that. You can hear it in his music. While he's still one of the top mainstream artists today, you can always catch a reference or something that makes you realize the kid is a little bit skilled too. It ain't about just hopping on a hot beat and being radio friendly. He can kick a hot 16 bars at any given moment.
Lupe Fiasco. Lupe Fiasco is a genius on the microphone. It's rare to hear someone that you are impressed with every time he says something. He's a thinking man's emcee. Intellectually, what he rhymes about is just above and beyond what anyone else would say.