Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z has listed his favorite rappers and has included ex-rival Tupac Shakur among his all-time greats.
Rap legends Kool G Rap and KRS-One also earned an accoldade as one of Jay’s favorite emcees of all-time.
“I guess I would choose B.I.G. [as one of my favorites] because of his ability to tell stories to be humorous, to be dead serious, he just had it all,” Jay said. “Just [B.I.G.’s] voice alone. I would choose Pac because his fire will overcome, what he doesn’t have in technical skills will be overcome by passion. If you listen to that ‘Tunnel’ [freestyle] verse where B.I.G. is saying ‘MC Hammer and them 357 women’ and then you hear how [Pac] comes on, he just screams on the track, his passion could put a lot of guys to sleep. I guess Kool G Rap and KRS-One would be on there. I need more emcees. Y’all got Eminem and Nas…” (YouTube)
Last year, an unreleased Pac track entitled “War Gamez” leaked and targeted Jay-Z and other New York emcees.
“N*ggas playing deadly motherf*cking war games,” Pac says in the intro. “How many broke down rappers got some sh*t to say…I bust on Bad Boy, Mobb Deep and murder The Firm/When you scream ‘fake thugs’ who the f*ck you mean/Get more C.R.E.A.M. than all of y’all/N*gga f*ck your team/Now Dre wanna switch sides/Tricks hide in war/Last year I shed tears but I don’t cry no more/Plus Jay-Z tried to play me/He won’t last long/Go ask King Sun how it feel to have your a** gone…Got shot five times, got outta jail on bail and sold five million. Sold more records than all you trick motherf*ckers put together. More than The Firm, more than Bad Boy, murdered Mobb Deep, more than all you b*tch made n*ggas.” (“War Gamez”)
In a past interview, Jay outlined his case as to why he should be considered as the “Greatest Rapper Alive”.
“But when I say I’m the best, I don’t say that outta my a**,” Jay said in the interview. “I say that with all my stats behind me. I put that against anybody. I mean anybody. I really believe that…I believe in a lot of things. I believe that “SportsCenter” is the best thing on TV. I shouldn’t have to prove it. But I do have these stats to prove it. I’m talking about real run. I’m not talking about years off. I’m talking about straight–boom, boom, boom–back to back. We’re not talking about heritage acts either. We’re not talking about respect what I’ve done. I’m talking No. 1 [albums] 10 times. The Beatles is the only one [to have more No. 1 albums]. They got 19, and if I get a surge of creativity, I could make nine albums next year.” (XXL Magazine)
Mos Def previously questioned Jay’s “Greatest Rapper Alive” title in 2009.
“My response was to me seeing an article where [Jay-Z] was referred to, with trade marks following it, as the ‘Greatest Rapper Alive,'” Mos explained in an interview. “Now that don’t have nothin’ to do with me, but if you saying that, that’s a trade claim…If you saying that, you saying you better than Slick Rick, whose still very alive and well? You saying you better than Rakim? You saying you better than Black Thought? People making that claim have never been in a position to defend that in an open forumn. I’m not talking about making a diss record or trying to go in on somebody’s girl…When people start coming out and making claims they’re gonna have to defend, like, who have you had to defend them against? It’s certainly been with people not on your level.” (“The Angie Martinez Show”)
Check out Jay-Z speaking on his favorite rappers below: