The other day I was listening to the radio on my way to the gym when the hosts on the radio started discussing the greatest rapper of all time. Many kids today would probably be quick to toss out names like Lil Wayne, Drake, or 2 Chainz. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of all of these guys, but when you are talking about best all-time, you have consider the guys that made rap what it is today. The current rap industry is filled with talented mainstream and underground artists. In 10 to 20 years, some of these rappers will be penciled in as legends in the music industry. However, answering who is the greatest of all-time required me to make a list from the fifth best to the greatest ever. So, here is my countdown:
There’s no denying that Eminem is one of the greatest of all-time. Even though I have him at number 5, he should be for sure in every rap fans’ top 10. Eminem, or Marshall Mathers, is potentially my favorite rapper to listen to personally of all time. His rhyme techniques coupled with the consistent flow has made many of his albums so popular among music lovers. There is deep meaning with plenty of his songs as well. One example of this is on the hit ‘Stan’ where he talks about the huge impact hip hop has on listeners. From his older stuff on The Slim Shady LP to his most recent album The Marshall Mathers LP 2, it is true Eminem is a lyrical genius.
4. Dr. Dre
It is unfair to list Dre as just a rapper, but I believe his complete line of work in the rap industry warrants his spot at four. He is such a vital piece to the history of rap. He found Snoop Dogg, while also signing the likes of Eminem, 50 Cent, and The Game. Dre’s album, The Chronic, is an album I still hold to be one of the best ones ever. The chemistry he shared with Snoop and RBX made this a hit among the public in no time. Between the hits ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ and ‘Stranded on Death Row,’ The Chronic will be remembered for a long time. Some might say Dr. Dre doesn’t belong among the elite rappers of all-time, but where would rap be without him?
When it comes nailing rhymes, Jay-Z can do it with the best of them. Since 1996, he has been putting chart toppers that show his unique rapping ability. From projects with fellow rapper Kanye West to collaboration with Linkin Park, there’s no doubting him. His talent and skills have helped him rise to the point that many consider him the greatest ever. Last year, he put out Magna Carta Holy Grail and it truly featured plenty of vintage Jay-Z. He has truly shaped the direction rap has went over the past decade and will continue to do so.
2. The Notorious B.I.G.
The man just had an unmatched way of making the listener feel every syllable and rhyme he muttered. When his street spitter mentality mixed with Puff Daddy’s innovative skill set, Biggie was able to create plenty of hits. Although he only had 2 albums released (Ready to Die and Life After Death), the time he spent active in the rap industry will hold a lasting impact for a long time. One of the other qualities in Biggie that I believe made him so popular was his personality. He had intensity and held a dominance on the mic that I believe will never be matched.
Tupac’s influence on rap in general will never be reckoned with. For many, he wasn’t just an artist. People even go as far as to refer to him as the ‘rap martyr.’ I feel you can make the claim that no rapper will ever have the sustaining impact he has had. Tupac was someone that a wide variety of people listened to and this was what I believe made him so effective. He wasn’t afraid to let you know who he really was by showing that ability to let it out in his lyrics as well. One of the greatest qualities that fans love is the focus he had on releasing music. He was aware of the issues going on the world and discussed them in his songs with a straight-forward intense style. For these reasons, along with plenty others that show his greatness, I don’t even hesitate in saying 2Pac is the greatest rapper of all time.