Read In Your Language

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

10 MCs Who Don't Get The Credit They Deserve

this list is about the rappers who have a had an impact, a significant one, yet for one reason or another just not have received the accolades they deserve. these guys are genre defining in some cases, and in others, they are the guys who have DIRECTLY influenced others who have absolutely taken their style and have become icons in the history of rap music.

this list is not a top 10. (it kinda is tho.) but i could put em in an order if i wanted to. and im sure u could if u wanted to. id love to hear what u guys think.

i know what im talkin bout. do you?

10.Play Boy Tre
There was a baw who was signed to TI named Playboy Tre, but i remember him from his independent work on the way up with B.O.B. and my man was rockin some REAL hip hop. that Southern hip hop soul shit.  that sound u knew that was authentic if u ever traveled to them parts. the natural heir to the Southern hip hop made famous by Outcast, that hip hop with high artistic integrity was my man Playboy Tre. his shit was just as witty, just as soulful, just as concious, honest, poignant and playfully ignorant as Kanye OLD shit used to be. with out tryin. if ol boy was bussin now, all yall would have a different opinion about hip hop comin from outta the A. on everything. of most of the people on this list, my man easily had some of the more broadly themed music and definitely had songs that could have been widely received singles. i think he even had some writing credits on a few TI records. i know he was a part of the production crew and was involved in B.O.B stuff. he went on tour with him and TI. why he didnt come to the fore im sure i dont know.

9. King Tee
For years i watched a lot of dudes act like West coast dudes dont REALLY have real spit game. and that cant be fartherest from the truth. one of the best examples for me from early on is the baw King Tee who had a super lyrical style that was loose, fluid and well delivered. layered, whimsical and still found a way to make it gangsta. its is even said that his style and delivery was a major influence on Biggie, altho i havent verified that. but its not far fetched. listen to him, and you tell me.

i remember hearing him for the first time back in the day being super-impressed, of course with my then existing East Coast bias. he introduced us to The Alcoholics, aka The Liks, and another MC who could easily be on this list, Tash, aka CaTASHtrophy. the only reason he's not is because King Tee is where the Liquid crew stems from.

this whole collective was doing REAL hip hop music, but for some reason, it seems that distinction on the West Coast goes to The Pharcyde n them during that time, n i dont understand it. they were easily direct outgrowths of crews like EPMD, but distinctly West Coast. and im sure he's a direct influence on some of the best rap acts of today like The Buze Brovas. ill ask em next time i talk to Clever One.

8.Sugar Free
Ay man, say what u will, but u want to talk about a master of delivery? id even say his vocal tone, when u talk about being fluid, is on par or even better than Snoop's. and a dude that builds real lyrics into his tales of pimpin these hoes??? u got to give it to my man Sugar Free.

if u aint heard none of his rhymes, check ur bias at the door and LISTEN. i give it to any nigga that deserve it and that baw will put some syllables together that will twist your melon and embarrass ur thought process.

i dont know if its because of the pimp subject matter or what, but his name dont come up nearly enough when u talk about a dude thats NICE with his lyrics, not even on the West Coast. too much pimpin?? whats the difference from dudes who talk about weed all the fuckin time? *like Dick Gregory* hahn?!? i tip my hat to u pimpin... and i do REALLY mean pimpin. its slang for some of u dudes. he is well known for sendin them hoes to the curb. that makes what he spits AUTHENTIC as well.

7.Devin The Dude
Speakin of a weed talkin nigga... Devin got a flow that is outrageously nasty. the music he ride on be crazy melodic playa shit, and i aint listen to a record of his without a good mix on it. bass stay sittin right on them speakers. and the baw know how to sit his voice right on top of that shit. finding space in music is what makes for clean composition, so MCs that can do that i have an affinity for because they are actually making MUSIC. lots of rappers dont realize that no matter the fact that you rappin, u still are in a key of music. Devin is aware of this, whether consciously or not, and delivers time and time again. thats why his voice MELTS into tracks. and yours dont. 

his perspective, his subject matter, his stories, all fit into a world thats uniquely his when it come on. that, my friend is the definition of STYLE. thats when u have ur OWN style, not THE style that niggas is doin... like you. and he come from a point of view thats waaaay down to earth. he dont spit it like a superman or a super villain, just super chillin. with some real live lyrics full of well crafted syllable pairs, creative metaphors and a clean CONTROLLED delivery. Devin the Dude is a lesson in flow. go getchu one.

The pattern maker, the crazy metaphorist, my man was CRAZY nice. and i know a LOT of u dudes would be frontin if u didnt say that he influenced a LOT people. especially with his stint on the MTV show Lyricist Lounge where sun was BODYING stories on the regular with crazy lines and layers and imaginative rhyme couplets. 

that whole Lyricist Lounge crew was so influential before the MTV show that, well, they made an MTV show about them. so influential in fact, that the venue that they started and held down in the early 90s was the premiere place for hip hop MCs in NY, and those coming to NY to seek a career in music. it was like, do Lyricist Lounge and then a Source Unsigned Hype and the labels was hollerin atchu. their venue eventually became a MUST for anyone wanting respect on the mic to show up and show n prove. all of the well known names of the era stopped thru to show and prove that THEY were as nice as the MCs who garnered the critical acclaim at the Lyricist Lounge. 

from the Biggies, to the Foxy browns, the Eminems,  all made it a point to stop thru and and get tested by the crowd of hip hop purists that approved of MCs STRICTLY on the strength of their skills. and Wordsworth was one of the dominant voices in that cipher, one of the voices that demanded that the quality be kept at a premium, at the highest level possible. sun was at the center of that. he deserves credit for it. it was no small feat.

5.Chief Kamachi

A long standing staple of the underground, steadily making quality records since1994, Kamachi is a name that rarely comes up in these discussions... even tho you hear his STYLE in a lot of rappers records. if u listen to a lot of these underground dudes that have that mystical shaman with the voodoo and good weed, Kamachi was one of the early voices that fathered that. that Immortal Technique hard conscious shit, Kamachi was on that nearly a half a decade before him. 

he becomes ESPECIALLY important when u talk about rappers with current impact on the game like Jay Electronica. Kamachi DNA is all over Jay Elec records. and it really aint a mystery how; Jay Elec used to stay in Philly for a nice minute, where Chief Kamachi was born and raised. Jay mentions the same North Philly streets in his records, so its no coincidence. the voice, the delivery, alla that was fused into Jay Electronica's style. dont think so??? listen to Jay Electronica old shit, listen to Kamachi, then listen to Exhibit A, B and C. and then give credit where its due. of all of these revered underground rappers, he is probably the most consistent and is a fan favorite with a strong cult like following, yet his name ALWAYS gets side stepped. his subject matter may be very niche. but that dont mean he aint NICE.

one of the ILLEST dudes rappin right now, ESPECIALLY in this era where quality is at an all time low. and as a rapper with  a high output of material, it is largely consistent and even shows evidence of actually getting better judging from some of his current appearances in 2016. i dont know why baw dont get the recognition he deserve. i mean, it could be the name, i mean it does mean an Indian baby carrier. not necessarily the hardest name ever. nor does it have that big marquee sound to it. no shots at all. im just wonderin out loud why those that study lines dont mention sun name much at all. especially given that fact that sun got a respectable amount time in the game putting out high quality material.

3.Lord Finesse
Lets keep this shit a hunnit; MANY people co-opted the baw style. even Big Daddy Kane, when his style changed, had a LOT of Lord Finesse elements in it. in the 90s, Finesse was one of those dudes that was KILLING MCs in the rhyme battles. one on one rhymes, Finesse was hard to beat.

the inventor a rap pattern that dominated the late 80s early90s, a style that people still use, Finesse is widely unacknowledged. most of the early 90s rappers used his style and he is a clear dominant influence on someone who is highly regarded by all, the incredible Big L, who is a member of the same crew as Finesse, the legendary Diggin In The Crates Crew. 

when it comes to raw similes and the way that lines lead up to the rhyme, as well as the word combinations, Finesse is EASILY one of the best ever at that type of construction. constantly coming up with some of THE BEST metaphors and similes EVER, and i mean that like his usages are combinations that are previously unused with original points of view. he is definitely a pioneer of the three word rhymes, like the 'come to you/none of you' type combinations. maybe because he is also a top quality beat maker and producer, just as heavy as Diamond D or Buckwild, his rhyme career and output did not stay consistent. no one can deny hearing him that the bars aint NASTY, even to this day. he fathered many MCs. treat him like he want to be treated. 

2.Chino XL
One of the main reasons i cant put Eminem at the top of the rap heap is because of this guy. Em's ENTIRE style, at least what he used to do at the beginning, is ALL Chino XL. the flow, the outrageousness, even the vocal tone was so similar, that i could never call him a titan of the rap game with such a total appropriation of another rapper's style. and its not far fetched; they BOTH ran in the same circles during those Rawkus Records years before Em got with Dre. on his own Chino was a WILD rhymer, full of imagination and original patterns and wordplay. and he was saying that SAME shocking, rape ur mom type shit that made Eminem famous, YEARS before him. the only reason i placed him above Finesse is the fact that his style has gave birth to one of the most successful record selling hip hop artists in history.

 his style has had a major impact on hip hop and the rap industry and sun almost NEVER comes up in conversation. its amazing to me. but imma speak on it. and let it be known. in the case of a lot of the names on this list, they lacked the singles that gave them that outward connection from the core of the culture. that would also be the case with Chino XL. which is crazy because he had songs that are so similar to the ones that made Eminem famous. definitely, the beats he had were very regional. and lets face it, he aint white. and i dont say that with a racist tint; white people, which there are more of in America, connect with other white people more easily. its cultural, u cant get mad at that. but u cant sidestep it like its not also a component to the success of Eminen either. but for those that love the pure art of word formulation and flow control, Chino XL is a baw that is hard to beat.

1.Black Thought

Its a GOTDAM shame that he even made it on my list. plain and simple, when it comes to pure articulation of sentences, patterns and wordplay, i put Black Thought above EVERYBODY. 

his weakness in comparison to the other rhyme titans in Jay Z and Nas have EVERYTHING to do with the voice and the delivery. im an engineer, and when i hear Thought spit, i hear sooo much 2-3k buildup, that after a while, its hard to access his lyrics, no matter how poignant. then sometimes his subjects may be a bit niche for those on the fringe. i know some of u caught his verse at Harvard University. it was simply a MASTERPIECE of a verse in execution, easily comparable to Rakim's best verses, like the second verse to 'The Ghetto' or the 3rd one of 'Follow The Leader'. that Harvard verse in particular, shined in delivery, especially because he did NOT do his usual pushing his voice out, top of his register delivery that marks most of his records. i believe that it is THIS problem with him that keeps him out of that top 3 distinction currently, even though his body of work is widely respected. its a unique position, one that has never plagued any other MC so much.

when it comes to COHESION, beginning to end clarity and adhesion to the subject matter is where Black Thought easily outpaces Nas, who can wander so far off subject that he has to announce hes going back to the subject in the same rhyme. and when we talk conscious lyrics, really conscious meaning understanding the PROBLEMS that plague society, Thought has him beat there as well. Nas sounds more mystical, a shaman steppin out from the ether (i meant that). theres not a conscious rapper bussing that can touch him in pure theory, articulation of history in a social context, and summations of his perspectives with such a clear, linear build.

he best Jay Z in construction. EASILY Thoughts rhymes can vary from a whimsical play on words (which Jay is a MASTER technician at), to a six couplet series with double syllable rhyme connections, which is a lane Jay just dont run in... or maybe cant. its sickenin. to be that gifted a writer with no book out is almost criminal. he also beats Jay in growth, Black Thought is an even better MC today than he was years ago. he started as a 90s kid with that very syllabic pronunciation thing, u know that 'back in my knapsack' style to being a writer that commands the english language to obey. never to shy away from vocabulary (which MC's used to revere) Thought has sent more niggas (i meant that too) to the dictionary more than any other MC easily in the modern era. and i love him for that. too many of yall are scared to be smart. and thats dumb as shit. 

In my opinion, Black Thought is the best MC bussin right now that does NOT get the credit he deserves.


i wanted to put Uncle L on the list, but i couldnt, because he is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of the rap game and is given his respect and credit in that regard. but i do NOT believe that LL is often given his just due credit as an ILL MC. 

one of his standouts for me was a freestyle he did at the After Midnight, a legendary club in Philly, that u can say was like the Latin Quarters in NY, where L just TORE THAT SHIT APART. 99% of his fans wear high heels now, but back then, he had rappers in a tail spin. If u never heard the original Rock the Bells, (not the one with the go-go in the hook),  the VOCABULARY performance by LL in that song is second to NONE, even to my man Black Thought. the pairing of words and the performance were stellar. all HARD shit. 

and lets not forget LL was a talented writer as well. he was often able to write very cohesive songs from beginning to end on a subject matter with great closings, like his 1st mega hit 'Radio'. but it was his second mega hit, 'I Need Love', that took my man on another route; the road to the riches. lol. and i aint mad at him, altho one can only imagine what would have happened had LL remained a hardcore MC. he could have easily been the Greatest Of All Time without contention. but when he says it, and when he came out with the record by that title, it was a presumptuous assertion that lacked the total body of work to support it. one of the best hit makers/songwriters? without question. still, LL Cool J is widely left out of the conversation of the best MCs of all time. and he DESERVES that distinction.

And one last honorable mention that i cannot leave out is

 T La Rock. 

ALL the verses on 'Its Yours' were stellar, differing rhyme patterns with incredible delivery and sense of subject. the vocabulary and perspective were both impressive and futuristic. the whole arrangement of the song was next level shit. but it was one song and i didnt hear anything from him as near as perfect as he was on this record. but i would be remiss not mention him on this list for that one record alone. its absolutely --+perfect.


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