Billboard Magazine’s Ten Greatest Rappers Blasphemy
Billboard Magazine’s staff, particularly Steven J. Horowitz and Alex Gale took the hot seat this week as they proclaimed Billboard Magazine’s Ten greatest rappers of all time. Where is Tupac? seems to be the common question on the minds of Hip Hop fans. Before I go in on this horrible travesty the list reads as follows:
Billboard Magazine’s Ten Greatest Rappers
1. Notorious B.I.G.
2. Jay Z
6. Andre 3000
7. Lauryn Hill
8. Ghostface Killah
9. Kendrick Lamar
10. Lil Wayne
Billboard claims to have “ranked these folks as MCs not artists.” However, realistically whenever somebody asks who the top three rappers of all time are, the common answer is B.I.G, Tupac and usually either Nas/Jay-Z. This is the average response for any Hip-Hop head. So why would Billboard exclude Tupac from their TOP 10 list?
Rolling Stone ranked Pac 86th out of 100 greatest artists of all time (all genres). Jay-z was ranked 88 and the only rappers ahead of him were Eminem (83), Beastie Boys (77), Dr. Dre (56), Run DMC (48), and Public Enemy (44). At 25 years of age Tupac’s life was tragically ended by violence. His style has been emulated throughout the years, but never matched. Let’s take a look at the facts: Tupac was an actual MC for digital underground before he went solo, he is one of the first rappers to cross over into acting successfully, and currently one of the greatest selling artists of all time. His words and life have inspired many, including artists who did make the final cut. For Billboard to exclude Tupac from the list is sheer blasphemy and a slap in the face to all Hip-Hop. Can we turn the other cheek? Lets take a closer look at this group.
1. B.I.G. Is definitely top 10, however falls short when it comes to material. His life ended unexpectedly, therefore we only have a handful of music we can listen to. He is a good lyrical rapper, has great word play, and impeccable flow.
2. Jay Z makes the list, but is nowhere near number 2. Cool flow, skill and attitude. He has been known to purchase a ghostwriter. In Hip-Hop this is looked down upon. If anything I would say he’s a great businessman, but not a great emcee.
3. Eminem shoots for three and he’s good. I have no problem with his placement on this list, although his songs aren’t catchy, he possibly is the greatest lyricist of all time.
4. Rakim is an actual Mc and has been consistent through out from his start of Hip-Hop.
5. Nas another great lyricist, has been said to overthink albums. He preaches knowledge and is probably the smartest Mc on this list. Well rounded, inspirational, and extremely talented. (Hey they got one right)
6. Andre 3000 is a very charismatic person with many hits around his belt, but should not be on the list at all. His partner Big Boi from Outkast is better lyrically and has put out constant material since the beginning of his career. Andre is also known for quitting Hip-Hop all together.
7. Lauryn Hill although I’m glad to see a female artist make the list, but it must be a typo. Also known for quitting music she has VERY little material and her lyrics lack to say the least. If you asked Lauryn are you an Mc? She would probably say no.
8. Ghostface Killah great with words and a member of Wu-Tang Clan, but does not come to mind when you think of top 10. I’m sure anyone can think of at least two Wu-Tang members who deserve his spot more than he does.
9. Kendrick Lamar very conscious rapper who promotes self worth, knowledge, and a great new sound. Even though he’s my favorite new artist, that’s what he is a new artist. He is a sophomore in Hip-Hop and to make the top 10 list right now is premature. He has the ability to become the greatest of all time, but is still the new kid.
10. Lil Wayne obviously is the biggest upset of this list. His analogies are childlike and his approach to Hip-Hop is a fail. Inconsistency and materialistic views make him a irrelevant 10 years from now.
The Internet is enraged after viewing this numerical disaster. Most say because Tupac is absent and I agree. Maybe we should write this off as a scheme to get publicity, as it seems to be the talk around the neighborhood. I say, let’s keep the list making to the people who care about the music and what it represents. I leave you with a quote from KRS-One: “An MC is a representative of Hip hop Culture. A rapper is a representative of corporate interest. An MC can be a rapper, but a rapper will NEVER be an MC”.
This is an editorial. The views expressed are strictly those of the writer, Adrian Lewis.