[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 Lecrae brought out his fave five, Air Canada’s J Star drops his top picks.]
Heavy D. Heavy was the first one to show that versatility as a big man. Plus he was Jamaican and my background is Jamaican. I look at it like he did three big things. He had showmanship, he was able to control a crowd by not only being an emcee but being a dancer. He was a big man. He was the first smooth big man. Heavy was a producer as well.
Maestro Fresh-Wes. Fresh was the first hip-hop artist from Canada to really break that seal. He was the first person to really get people to notice Canada. He was one of the first to go gold.
LL Cool J. What more can you say? He brought that style where he wasn’t all the way thug but he showed you could be hard and still love the ladies. It was cool to have a girlfriend. That was my thing for LL. He brought an R&B feel to hip-hop without singing.
Big Pun. His lyricism comes from where he was at the time. Nobody was coming out of there. He brought everybody with him at that time. He had New York uniting. He brought something different to the game. He was like a big B.I.G. for the Latinos. What other Latino artist were we listening to? Nobody. He brought a sense of unity to the game.
Snoop Dogg. I grew up on Snoop. Every one of his albums has a storyline to it. They all follow that drive. To be in the game for over 16 years and still be having this conversation is non-existent except for Jay-Z. He’s always reinventing himself. He’s now and icon where he’s sold his lifestyle. I always felt like even though he’s from the West, he could kick it with an East Coast rapper. He also brought a sense of unity even at a gangster status. There’s not too many people that did that.