In the wake of much uproar at MTV’s “Top 10 Hottest MC’s In The Game” list, the crew over at The Rap Up decided to put out the bat-signal for ready and willing writers to assemble from all corners of the internet to contribute their own “Top 10 Rappers” and create a cumulative list. While ultimately another opinion poll, the theory is that you’ll be somewhat familiar with the contributors (collectively dubbed “The Bloggerati”) and their taste in music, making this list possibly more representative to you; the non-MTV consumer.
The “Bloggerati” consist of the writer(s) from sites such as Passion of the Weiss, Rock The Dub, Broken Cool, The Smoking Section, Big Ghost Chronicles, Hip Hop Is Read, Kevin Nottingham, Word Is Bond, Producers I Know, The Find Mag, HipHopDX, Day and a Dream, and The Rap Up.
And their list goes…
1. Kendrick Lamar
3. Action Bronson
4. Freddie Gibbs
5. Killer Mike
6. Pusha T
8. Roc Marciano
9. Kanye West
10. Big K.R.I.T.
Read the full piece and list of contributors over at The Rap Up.
What do you make of it? There’s a fair few artists that I can’t comment on positively or negatively because I haven’t sat down with their albums – namely Freddie Gibbs, Pusha T (within the last decade at least), Drake and Big K.R.I.T.. That’s just me and my slow-ass consumption of new music (my hard drive is 90% unopened WinRAR). There is no way to approach these tasks in a definitive way, though. So when given the brief to contribute I decided to pick 10 MC’s that I’ve personally been listening to, and enjoying, the most in the last year or so – with perhaps too much emphasis on the “or so”. Don’t take the rankings too seriously, because I sure didn’t…
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Although the list is centred on Hip-Hop, I’d like to think most people don’t listen to just one genre of music, and Raw Poetic is an amazingly diverse, multi-genre lyricist. His rhymes can hold their own in a battle, tear up a Damu-produced beat, put him at the front of funk/rock band RPM, and are substantial enough to carry entire albums as one half of Panacea.
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Willie Evans Jr.
Get past the superficial tonal comparisons to the “ma’fuggin’ super villain”, and you’ll find one of the most acrobatic, humourous and creative emcee’s around right now – and all with a mad-scientist approach to producing his own tracks too. Witness both these engines firing at full capacity in the video.
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Phill Most Chill
Kind of like Captain America (minus spending decades as a popsicle), Phill Most Chill is a super-MC from the old days who has returned years later to remind us how it’s done. A steady release of music over the last 12 months has won over my ears (any emcee footnoting their verse with “Rudy Ray Moore Kung Fu Manoeuvre Rap” is guaranteed to), and you can bet that when his LP with Paul Nice drops – I’ll be waiting in line.
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Grief Pedigree was an odd attraction; its hard to articulate my thoughts without sounding completely contradicting. While not one to usually go for the kind of content within, I couldn’t deny the way in which it was done. I can liken it to my relationship with HBO’s The Wire or Game Of Thrones; two shows with very different backdrops, but at their core they’re a spectacular game of chess, and I like chess. Somehow extrapolate that comparison to Grief Pedigree and you have my opinion on Ka… I think.
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“You mighta’ noticed the fine print/ For five years font size 5 was my niche”. A quick-draw rapper of the old ways; look up his credentials and you’ll find a wealth of experiences stretching from coast to coast that all leads to a great acuity for Hip-Hop when it comes to his own albums. 2012’s Eli’s Prism is nothing short of Hip-Hop auteurism at its best.
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A booming-badass-type emcee who, although hasn’t put out an LP since ’09, is still very much active. With a handful of outstanding tracks and features over the last year, and the best live show I saw in 2012, Paten Locke is making Hip-Hop you can set your watch to.
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Although I’ve yet to hear his latest LP in full, I’ve been listening to Homeboy’s output for a while now and I don’t believe there’s many that sound quite like him. This is, of course, a great thing, and it helps too when you can find a lot of relatability in the lyrics.
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I’m as hopeful as the next fan for another Edan album on the horizon. He had a stellar feature on DJ Format’s Statement Of Intent in 2012, but most emcee’s output in 2011 was blotted out by his brain-melting, album-stealing, verse-of-the-year on the Madlib produced ‘Ronal Morgan’ track from Blu’s NoYork! (00:53 onwards). Did I mention he’s about to kick off a European tour too?
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There’s little to be said for these final two picks that hasn’t been said before by most people. Although Give Me My Flowers… was a little more sombre than I would have liked, it still had a good handful of outstanding displays of lyricism, and I’m hopeful for his music in 2013.
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As above. The bottom line: Kendrick is simply very engaging to listen to.
Previous posts on Kendrick Lamar (Archive going back to 2010)
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So what is your “Top 10”? Do you think anyone is being overlooked, or even overrated? Air it out in the comments.