[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 Aasim dished out his fave five, producer Franco Anthony unloads his top spitters.]
Saigon. Saigon, I think, was super lyrical. He had production from Just Blaze. I just think that the timing for him was never right. I think he came out when people kind of knew what he was doing, he was kind of still there. Personally, I think lyrically he’s half-conscious, half-comical. I still enjoy him and still root for him.
Jake the Snake. Jake is dope. I did a lot of tracks for him in years past. The first song I ever did with him, I was like, “All right, he’s good. He’s another white rapper.” But the thing is just listening to one song from him is not enough. So I sat back and listened to his body of work and it’s really deep. He touches a lot of subjects that a lot of rappers aren’t talking about.
Jadakiss. Jada is just nasty. For somebody to be doing it from rapping with Biggie to now and not even sound different and still be dope, you just have to be special to do that. I don’t think Jada ever sold out. Even when he did the whole Mariah Carey “Kiss” song, he didn’t sell out. He still did Jada on that album.
Big L. Back in the day, when I first started listening to hip-hop and the debate was, “Who’s better, Jay-Z or Big L?” I remember his freestyles were just random. The level he was on, back in the day, people don’t even realize it. If you heard what he was doing back in the day, he was ahead of his time.
EPMD. When I was in sixth and seventh grade listening to rock, my brother had a system in a hooptie car and he put on “So What You Saying,” that beat grabbed me. Being into drums and hearing that song, I probably listened to that song at least 20 times by itself. We were like, “This sh*t is crazy!” EPMD is what made me listen to hip-hop and helped get me into other artists.