In the early days of #DaBlock, back when we were the new construction in the neighborhood type early days, we used to have a running column called Trending Tuesday. Well, those days are over and even though it’s Monday, there is a trending topic that I would like to tackle today. #NameYourFavoriteRapper
How do you even begin to enter into a conversation of this magnitude? I would think you would need to develop a solid criteria. You almost would need to develop a rubric that identify key categories and then definitions, on a scale…maybe 1 being a novice to 5 being an expert, that would tell you where a rapper would fall. I believe that there are four foundational criterion that have to be included when trying to delve into this topic. Those criterion are (keep in mind that I am not factoring in production…because I believe that a rapper flowing over great production can be elevated in the mind of many and the reverse is also true):
1) Relate-ability: Basically…can you realte to what is being said. Now this goes beyond lyrical ability, because I don’t belive Pimp C was a lyricst, but he was realte-able. So i don’t want to discredit Pimp due to simple word play, but I also don’t want to rank him in the echelon’s of say a Jay Z or even try and compare him to his rap mate…Bun B in terms of content. I think all the great rappers have the ability to make you feel what they are saying regardless of where you grew up and what you were exposed to. Pimp C is completetly relate-able in the south, but may lose that relatibility as his sound and style moves outside of the south. Pimp would score a 2 in this category where guys like Soulja Boy would score a 1 and Jay Z would probably score a 4.
2) Diversity in Content- All I want to know is, can you rap about more than 1 thing. For example, does Jeezy attempt to rap about anything outside of the TRAP. No disrespect to trap music, but, while I might jam “SOME” of his hits, i don’t give a rats about the trap or what goes on in that enviroment. It’s unrelatable to me and I wish there was was something about Jeezy and his music I could latch on to. One of the best to do it in terms of diversity of content was Tupac. Pac wrapped about violence, partying, social issues, political issues, spirituality, sex…. I mean if it was happening in the world, it was embedded in some of his work. I’m not suggesting that diversity in content ALONE makes you a great rapper, but again on a rubric scale the more diversity, the more you become an expert in that area.
3) Authenticity: Can I believe what you are saying? See this is different from being relateable. With this criteria I am focused more on if I truly believe that you are the dope smuggling, womanizer that you claim or are you just a fraud. For example, Will Smith could never convince me that he has seen any parts of the drug game in his music. Yeah I get that he grew up in the inner city of West Philly, but his rap nick name was the Fresh Prince…#justsayin. I want to be able to believe the perception that a rapper puts out, since ultimately I don’t know them personally, but just because your “Drake hand” may be strong, please don’t try to convine me that you are a pimp and slayin these
hoes girls all around the country.
4) Longenvity: Not in terms of career, but in terms of the produced nostalgia and hype feeling you get when you hear after 5, 10, 15 years down the line. Remember the first time you heard “Jump Jump”? Remember how you moved and danced, etc. etc…. let that song come on your IPod now in between Kirko Bangz and Wiz Kaliffa…#Embarassing. Honestly, if you are even listening to pandora adn “Warm It Up Kris comes on…immediate thumbs down.” However, when Southernplayalisticadillacmusic comes on, you let the song play…you just do!
The greatest rapper alive argument has no end to it. I mean there are people whose names are said and you can instantly give an opinion and it will quickly be confirmed. Then there are your Nas’s, Pac’s, Biggies of the world where the argument can take on a more heated tone. We may not ever be able to definitely say who the best rapper is, but we will definitely be able to say who the best rappers are not…Soulja Boy, Silkk the Shocker, Flo-Rida, Baby, Mike Jones and pretty much every female rapper not named Lauryn Hill and Da Brat.
#NameYourFavoriteRapper and why you like them? Until Next time.