[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 Lil Scrappy busted out his top five last week, Brooklyn’s Torae unloads his fave five.]
Slick Rick. Slick Rick’s first album, if that was any indication of the potential that he had before he ran into that legal trouble, he’s one of the illest lyricists. He had the style, the voice, he was witty, comical, he was real. He had a lyrical style and personal style. Slick Rick was probably the all-around best artists. Period. F*ck, I left off LL Cool J. Slick Rick is one of my favorites.
EPMD. They are just a personal favorite of mine. They were very influential. If you look at the EPMD albums, you’re like, “Oh, such and such did that.” They’re probably one of the most sampled hip-hop groups in hip-hop. Coming from Long Island, just being dope lyricists, they had their own style and everything. They were ill and then when they went to Def Jam, it was over. They had the power behind them and put out classic after classic.
Boot Camp Clik. I’m from New York City, Brooklyn, and that was probably the closest to rap stars both personaly and lyrically. I’m from Coney Island and Buckshot would spend a lot of time in Coney Island so I would see him just hanging out outside of my building. I would think, “If I write rhymes, maybe that can be me one day.” In the 1990’s, they were arguably one of the best collectives on the scene neck-and-neck with groups like Wu-Tang. Being from Brooklyn and knowing they’re right around the corner from me literally, that was a huge inspiration for me.
N.W.A. They changed the game. It was an almost perfect collective. When you look at what all they were able to do without the radio or video support, selling those millions of copies and coming out with those hits, that really started a movement. They were really some of the first independent artists and showed you don’t need A, B and C to be stars, sell-out arenas and have a fanbase. Big shout-out ot them.
Treach. I cant be argued that somewhere in the mid-1990’s, Treach was one of the best rappers. Lyrically, he was amazing. He was street but knew how to make club songs. His whole flare, he made it cool to have braids and then he went bald-headed. Treach was just fly. Girls wanted to be with him.