Although it’s all but dead, I once had a blog. One of the things I did there was make lists. If you go to www.keepitcritical.wordpress.com and search the “Top 5” tag you will find a ton. I also had other people submit their top 5s. I think the closest thing I ever did to a top 5 MCs was a top 5 favorite hip hop albums of all time (that was rough. Took me like a week to compile that jawn).
The top 5 dead or alive debate, to me, is mission impossible. What’s one persons’ trash is another persons’ treasure, you know? You might say BIG. Someone else will say Pac. You might say Black Thought. Someone else might say Ghost. Is anyone wrong? It’s in the eye (ear?) of the beholder.
This actually has little to do with my point so I’m just gonna get on with it.
I saw someone say that they were arguing with a friend about who is better: Em or Andre 3000. His friend said Em. He said Dre. I say Em is better. I also say Dre is better.
Because how the fuck can you compare the two?
Just because 2 people rap, does not mean they are comparable. We know this in terms of skill, of course. You’re not gonna compare someone like Soldier Boy to Hov. That would be futile. Soldier Boy couldn’t hold Bey’s purse that Hov was originally holding while Bey was trying on shoes (no shade). I mean, I don’t think this is debatable. If you can, feel free to hit that reply button because I would love to hear your argument.
Hip hop, outside of the sort of *insert dramatic hand motions here* social-it’s-bigger-than-hip-hop-because-hip-hop-is-a-lifestyle-and-culture-and-not-just-music-thing, is a genre of music. But that doesn’t mean that everyone in that genre falls in the same category.
Even the age old who’s better BIG or Pac debate. I never really engage, because I don’t think the debate can really be won. Both were clearly skilled, both had story telling skills, both had huge personalities and were clearly complicated inviduals (as most artists are), but I don’t think they were necessarily comparable. I think we compare them because their deaths were so close together and they will forever be linked through the East Coast/West Coast beef of the 90s (which was a huge aspect of 90s hip hop, and you know how us old fogies love our 90s hip hop nostalgia). Now the who’s better BIG or Hov debate? That is a debate I can understand. Both BK. Both had that sort of swagger and charisma, both super flossy . Both had female (BK) MCs on their side. It’s kinda like comparing literary writers. I wouldn’t compare Toni Morrison to Terry McMillan. They’re both Black women, both writers, both write mostly fiction, both have had their books turned into films. But that’s where the comparisons stop for me.
I’m just saying, sometimes it’s apples and oranges. And that’s ok.
Ramble over *gently places mic on floor because throwing mics is bad for equipment*