Spit Hot Fire–Top Ten MCs

by - September 30, 2009 - - 11 Comments »

jay and nasMTV is currently unveiling its list of the top ten hottest MCs. This got me to thinking about my list (Dylan, Dylan and Dylan) but not the hottest, the greatest ever. I tried to be as unbiased as possible (I didn’t want my personal preferences to come into play too much), meaning I am not even a fan of some people on this list and I don’t necessarily regard them as the best. Though, I can’t help but be influenced by my era; I started listening to rap in the mid-nineties. Here is what I came up with…

Honorable Mentions: Ghostface (it kills me not to put someone from Wu on this list and he has the best catalogue of the bunch), Andre 3000 (along with Wu, Kast is my favorite group ever), Ice Cube (was a monster but I think of him more as the star of some movie about a guy burping a baby at this point), Chuck D, Scarface, Big Daddy Kane, Big Pun, T.I. (I like him better than Weezy), KRS One and Jim Jones (Just kidding on that last one. I honestly believe I could out-rap him).

10. LL Cool J: Showed everyone how you burst on the scene in a big way and proceeded to pioneer cornering the female market. His longevity wins out over a lack of memorable albums.

9. Kanye West: He has traditionally been thought of as a producer but his rap-game has improved dramatically over the last several years and no one can deny the quality of the music he has put out. The metrosexual yet sometimes entertaining ‘808’s and Heartbreaks’ aside, nobody has released a better first three albums. If this was a list of best hip hop artists, he might already be higher. As is, he might move up anyway.

8. Snoop: Only two other guys have burst on the scene like he did, 50 Cent and DMX. But Snoop is still synonymous with the West Coast (honorable mention to Ice Cube). He kind of defines the Dr. Dre sound and still comes with a major hit now and again. He was never super lyrical but always had flavor. Snoop will make an unbelievable Las Vegas act some day.

7. Lil’ Wayne: Love him or hate him, you can’t deny him. Personally, I think he sometimes makes great music, other times I think he sounds like a drunk, robotic frog with elementary lyrics. However, he is the generation younger than mine’s guy. The impact is undeniable and so is the production (I think he has appeared on every single released since 2002. Does he steal cd’s from the pressing plant and add a verse guerilla style?). If he keeps going, he could move up. If he doesn’t, he could fall back.

6. Nas: Illmatic is still lauded as one of the greatest albums of all time and people still argue for Nas as the best. His lyrical acumen is unquestionable but I think his lack of versatility and quality control keep him from being at the very top. His slugging % is off the charts though. When he makes a great song, he makes a GREAT song.

5. Eminem: His impact has been huge; he brought a whole new audience to the hip hop universe. On top of that, he is deadly on the mic (Do you wonder if guys are scared to battle or hop on a track with him?…”his flow on Renegade f**kin’ awesome”). He is the guy on this list with the best chance to move up. One or two more dope records and he can stake a claim for the top three.

4. Rakim: He truly changed the game. Guys used to rap like “one-two, buckle my shoes” until Ra, Big Daddy Kane and G Rap hit the scene and revolutionized how one spits a verse. Rakim’s music holds up the best and he is still one of the best to ever do it. His influence will keep him on the list, if not in this spot.

3. Tupac: People love this dude. He was like a super hero. He released a billion songs in a short period of time (all rhyming Hennessy and enemies at some point) and plenty of them are anthems to this day. I never really got into his albums but tons of guys will have the ambition to ride with him until the end.

2. Biggie: He and Pac almost belong in a category together because of how they will always be tied to one another. However, Big was a better rapper, and like Pac, plenty of his hits are still anthems (better yet, Playa’s Anthems). Lack of albums and proof that he would continue to make good music is the only thing holding him back. He and Pac could get passed at some point because they won’t be making any more records. It isn’t really their fault but it is reality.

1. Jay-Z: He’s supposed to be number one on everybody’s list, we’ll see what happens when he no longer exists. Kool G. Rap (who could have cracked this list) said of Hov “He is a master of his craft…Dude is in a class by himself. Dudes ain’t even touching him as far as I’m concerned,” and I don’t see how anyone can argue against Jay at this point. Yes, he is my personal favorite. But he is also the most versatile and influential rapper ever and his catalogue is untouchable. “Can’t leave rap alone, the game needs me.” He is kind of right about that.

Agree to disagree?

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11 Responses to “Spit Hot Fire–Top Ten MCs”

  1. eric says:


    i wont even argue the top 5….thats pretty much a consensus top 5 right there, i would shuffle it a tad bit but its legit.

    but i have a major issue with 10 9 8. ESPECIALLY 9! GREATEST OF ALL TIME KANYE WEST? you ever heard of big pun, big l, mobb deep, cormega, jadakiss, big daddy kane, kool g rap? kanye west does not belong on this list….really think about this….you have kanye west and ll cool j over big pun and big l….thats like putting really popular things in a top 10 because theyre really popular over something really good cuz its underground…(clearly im lacking metaphors at this moment)…please listen to lifestyles of da poor and dangerous, and the big picture and then come back to this

  2. Lundberg says:

    Eric, That is why I say greatest. I didn’t pick my top ten. Do I think Pun and Big L are better than LL? Yes. Greater? Probably not. Also, with Kanye, plenty of guys are nicer a la Jada but not many are going to leave the impact he will. Would they burn him down in a cypher or on a guest verse, yep. But I don’t think you can deny the impact he has already had (and he is constantly getting better as a rapper).

  3. eric says:

    hes just a generic bragadocio emcee. he’ll never put out albums on the level of lodpad, the big picture, yeaaaah baby, or capital punishment.

    he can produce but if were counting production then you might as well put dj premiere and dr dre on the list too

  4. Lundberg says:

    He’s not as nasty as those guys but I like College Dropout, Late Registration (I love this one) and maybe Graduation more than any of those albums.

  5. Andrew says:

    I agree with Eric. I don’t know that I agree with the latter part of this list either.

    For starters, I’d move Nas ahead of Eminiem. I wouldn’t even put Eminem (I only really like his first album) in my own top ten, but I can’t deny that he’s influential. So I won’t even try.

    I’d argue that Kanye West may make a lasting contribution to popular music, but not necessarily as much specifically to hip hop. As an emcee is he really doing anything that could be considered great? He hasn’t really done anything ground breaking. His stuff is, as Eric put it, kind of generic. I know he’s popular now, but does that really make him one of the all time greats? MC Hammer was popular at one point. So was Wang Chung. Those Twilight books sell a lot of copies, but just because thirteen year old girls buy them doesn’t put them up there with Hemingway or something. Popularity can only tell so much. I mean, you can get people to buy a lot of things that aren’t good. I just can’t see him on a top 10 list that spans the entire history of hip hop. On a top 10 of the last decade, sure. It’s probably apparent that I am biased because I don’t care for his work. I kind of wish he finished college and got a regular job. Like him or not though, I can’t deny his effect on the market for dumb novelty sunglasses. Huge.

    If we’re talking about the entire genre, throughout its whole existence, and we’re basing a lot of it on impact (cultural or otherwise), then why not put a guy like Chuck D or KRS One on there? These are both individuals who took hip hop to the next level as an art form. One could argue that their influence legitimized the genre. By that I mean that the addition of social consciousness to hip hop made it unique cultural tool. It became more than just music you could break dance to, but a means of holding the proverbial mirror up to society. Their influence gave a group that had long been marginalized a voice that they had not really had before. Plus, while doing all of that, they made some really good music.

    I always feel bad when I issue these long responses to your stuff. I didn’t mean to write a sub-entry of your blog entry. Sorry about.

    But yeah, Agree to disagree. I’m glad though… I mean what American doesn’t love to debate a list? Keep up the good work.

  6. JonBenny says:

    If it wasn’t for Illmatic, would Nas still be on your top #10?
    and how did Kanye outdo everyone on your honorable mention list?

  7. Lundberg says:

    Jon, No. But I am not a big fan overall. Nas=Mike Tyson. Hit the scene like crazy, flamed out. Ye isn’t the rapper some of those guys are but his stuff is going to last longer. He makes good music, period.

  8. eric says:

    nas is more like roiy jones jr. hit the scene really hard, and stayed in the game for a while sometimes looks done but sometimes shows flashes of greatness. hip hop is dead is actually a really good cd…..illmatic, it was written, i am, stillmatic, gods son, and hip hop is dead are all classics in my book and thats over a 10 year span

  9. Lundberg says:

    ^^^Not a bad comparison. But you are clearly a huge Nas fan. I like some songs from most of those albums, not the whole body of work. Nas=high slugging %, low on base %

  10. Kurtis says:

    Slick Rick has to be on the list somewhere between 5and 10

  11. Lundberg says:

    Rick is nice, no doubt and he has storytelling on smash. But I don’t think the catalogue is there.

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