Top 5 Dead Or Alive: "If It Wasn't For ATCQ, A Lot Of Rappers Today Wouldn't Even Exist"
Friday, Nov 11, 2011 12:05AM
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 Harlem's A$AP Rocky dished out his top five emcees, Boston's R.E.K.S. serves up his own slew of lyrical greats.
A Tribe Called Quest. I would name anyone from A Tribe Called Quest to go up there in the Hall of Fame. If it wasn't for A Tribe Called Quest, a lot of rappers today wouldn't even exist. Just from the samples that they chose to utilize in an era that wasn't even about those records. And then you had the playful nature of these two brothers being able to play off each other and make instant classics. There's no other group in hip-hop that's had more classics than them and that's just me. OutKast comes close but honestly, I think A Tribe Called Quest is second to none for making that many classics in that span of their career.
OutKast. Honestly, they changed up the dynamic of hip-hop and the representation of what we were expected to be. They took it there. They were eclectic and they still are. Their vibe was completely different, but you could still feel their struggle. They were coming from the A, the Georgia area, giving us pieces of that, painting pictures of that from the beginning that we were not accustomed to. They gave it to us so vividly with their imagery, their lyricism, their detail to whatever it may be.
Wu-Tang Clan. Enough said. Come on. Wu-Tang Clan. There will never be another group like the Wu-Tang Clan. Many will try and many will fail. They're the sharpest brothers as far as the lyricism [goes]. All of these cats that I'm naming are all trend setters. They led the march. Each individual represented something in that group. The whole team was just sharp as sh*t.
Gang Starr. These are two brothers that truly represent the real essence of this culture, the feel of it. The vibe that I love most. Obviously there will never be a producer like DJ Premier. There will never be a brother like him. They were the sound in a city. If you were putting out a classic, you had to have Preemo. If you didn't have Preemo, then you didn't have sh*t. Rest in peace to the brother Guru. Lyrically, he was sharp as sh*t. Sometimes he was forgotten for some of the dope lines and rhymes that he represented. That voice was undeniable.
Ice Cube. I gotta go with Cube. The brother was the sole provider of the words that were brought upon these beats. He was the sole provider of that N.W.A. sound. And then, following that, to the battles to becoming a powerhouse by himself. Forget it. He's one of the coldest brothers on the mic as far as delivering some sh*t. He had that "F*ck You" attitude about anything that wasn't keeping it 100 percent authentic.