Hip-Hop: You Gotta Rewind Me – Top 5 Emcees

Let’s get the final list. Maybe we should run a poll? Regardless, keep your cousin MC Kevin off here, and we don’t care how many records Wacky D sold.

This conversation has lived on many of the individual Roundup networks for some months now, and there are some interesting lists out there. I though it would be a cool thing to bring to the ‘main stage’ and we can talk this thing out among all the real aficionados out there.

However, rather than me just dropping my personal Top 5 to kick things off, I found another dude with an opinion…

Interview w/ RZA at Rock the Bells
OK RZA MAY BE a little biased, LOL!

Regardless, lets hear YOUR top 5 and PLEASE back it up.

Be aware the TRUE fans ARE ON THIS SITE, so keep it sucka-free.


  • Dead or Alive
  • Active or Inactive
  • Record Sales is a NON-Issue

-BeMo AKA 34 with a Skateboard

0 replies on “Hip-Hop: You Gotta Rewind Me – Top 5 Emcees”

The thing that makes these lists so difficult and controversial is that no one ever establishes real criteria for these things. It’s like asking someone to name the best ice cream flavor…there are just so many that are so good; “best” and “favorite” aren’t definitive. I can think of at least 10 different categories to place the top emcees in…

With that said, here’s my Top 5 based on the following criteria: conscious lyrics/ substance, flow/delivery/style, rhyming skill (big one), consistence of quality, recognizable and currently active (has songs or albums out somewhat recently):

(not necessarily in this order)
1. Black Thought
2. Common
3. Pharaohe Monch
4. Nas
5. Andre 3000

Here’s another list for All-time most influential emcees:

1. Rakim
2. Kool G Rap
3. KRS-One
4. 2Pac
5. B.I.G.

Here’s the same list for most influential in the past 10 years:

1. 2Pac
2. B.I.G.
3. Nas
4. Jay-Z
5. Eminem (?)

The most impactful “new” emcees in the past 5 years:

(no order)
1. Kanye
2. T.I.
3. Lupe
4. Lil’ Wayne
5. Papoose

Gotta throw in Top 5 influential groups or collectives:

3. P.E.
4. Native Tongues
5. Wu-Tang

Man, I could do this all day…

Slick Vic
Loc Kool Joc
Trick Daddy
JT Money

Im from Florida and I support the hometeam

1. Rakim
2. KRS-One
3. 2Pac
4. Jay-Z
5. Nas

HOnorable mentions: Biggie, Scarface, Big Pun, and Big Daddy Kane

1. Jay
2. Scarface
3. Andre 3000
4. Black Thought
5. Lil Weezyana (yeah I said it)

Honorable Mention: TI, Eightball, Kanye, Twista and my Bun B

5) Nas – put himself back in the convo w/ the N!gger album. His hand had to be hurtin’ pennin’ that album cuz he was writin’ HARD (ll) on this latest effort.

4)Redman – pound for pound one of the best emcees of all time. I can back this up.

3) Rakim – can’t have a top 5 list w/ out the 18th Letter on it

2) Jay-Z – most consistent, best flow, lyrical, the total package (ll)

1) – leaving this blank because any of these 4 (and a myraid of others) could be there

Honorable Mention: Krs-1, Chuck D, Scarface, Bun B, Posdunous, Pharoah Monch

Instant Classic: Andre 300 – meaning whenever this man drops his solo he’s bumping someone off of my top 5 list.

1. Tupac (Pac is the Best period. Say what you want but Pac is lyrical, poetic, gangsta and a downright BEAST on the MIC. Contrary to what some think, you’d be hard pressed to find another MC that’s more well-rounded and versed on the MIC as Tupac Shakur….RIP)
2. Nas (Nas has always been an MC ahead of his time in my opinion. Nas is very Intelligent, political, conscious and controversial. Lyrically, very few MC’s can hang with Nas….ask Jay Z) OUCH!
3. Biggie (Although his time in the Rap game was short, Biggie made his presence felt. I’ve never heard an MC that could put words together as well as Biggie….his delivery, style and flow was off the charts and definitely one of the BEST of all-time.)
4. Ras Kass (Next to Pac and Nas, Rass is probably THEE most intelligent MC there is right now. His Sharp lyrical skills make it very difficult for most to compete with. Yet, he’s sooo under-rated! Once Ras Kass gets better production the whole WORLD will be in for a rude awakening)

5. Ice Cube (Yes I said it! Cube put the C in the word controversial. A pioneer in the Rap game for over a decade and remains to be one of the BEST today! Check his Resume…better yet go back and listen. Amerikkka’s Most Wanted…whew need I continue? No Vaseline? Still regarding as one of the Best dis tracks there is. Cube changed the game and most of these young kids have not a clue about what REAL Hip- Hop is.) Yaee Yay!

*Side Note*
Rakim is very over-rated. I’m so tired of peeps placing him on the top of the list as the best of all-time. Are you serious? I mean Rakim got skillz but he is NOT THE BEST.

Common – is definitely one of the best. However, he’s not one of my top 5. He would definitely be right there in the top 10 along with Jay-Z, Snoop, GZA and KRS One.

Oh yeah, let’s not even mention Lil Wayne in the top 10.

Not to pare genders, but I doubt the lady lyricists will get their due respect otherwise…

Top 5 All-Time illest female emcees (same criteria as previous list):

(order debatable)
1. Lauryn Hill
2. Bahamadia
3. Jean Grae
4. MC Lyte
5. Queen Latifah

Also to Martymar…I agree, Cube and Ras Kass were both my favorite emcees at points. Cube personified street consciousness, Black rebellion, and he was a master storyteller. Ras Kass is extremely lyrical and intelligent as well; however, both dem cats made some poor artistic decisions regarding their music and style, and they both fell the HELL OFF, so they lose in the consistency category. It’s hard to say who’s career was the biggest disappointment of the two. …Oh, and Rakim is usually considered the best because he was street, intelligent, and 10 years ahead of the game lyrically.

I think there is a slight difference between a lyricist and the MC- based on Rakim’s definition- move the crowd, my list is what it is… granted mc’s must have dope lyrics-
Rakim and KRS ONE should not count-

*KRS- One
Ice Cube
LL Cool J

if it is about lyrics, then i’ll say:
Chuck D
Rass Kass

lyricist change ya conciuousness, it is a different type of listening party

…as for rappers
The D.O.C (straight up no one can do it better versus ready to die ?????)
Too Short
Biggie…nice lines… but ny put waaaay too much on a cat with two albums?…
Big Pun… if not nicer than Big


Cube fell off? Are you kidding me? How so? Here’s the deal. Everyone that has followed Hip Hop (like myself) knows that it has drastically changed. Hip Hop artist nowadays aren’t talking about anything other than “Feel good music.” In other words, it isn’t as political and conscious like it used to be. Therefore, it is very easy for these new generation of Hip Hop kids to say things like “Cube fell off”. Cube can make a Disney movie and put out a platinum album in the same year yet he fell off? LOL that’s funny. Just so you know Cube has his own Independent Label. His last album Laugh now, Cry Later went certified gold and was released on Lynchmob Records in which he sold over 600,000 copies that’s nearly unheard of for an independent label. Hmmm…think about that. We live in a era now where you can download just about any and everything for free! So when an artist like Cube can still go platinum in a time of downloading frenzy, that’s proof of his relevance on Hip Hop and Legendary status. Just because you don’t see or hear about some of the Pioneers of Hip Hop that often doesn’t mean they fell off. The game hasn’t changed the audience has. As for Ras Kass, he made some stupid business mistakes but most rap artist do. NWA was a casing point. Eazy E was getting paid and Dre, Cube and the rest were collecting crumbs so that’s why they bounced….the rest is history we all know how they’re careers turned out. Ras Kass is trying to get things back on track and with the skills he possess, I have no doubt that he’ll be back in the game strong. So I would like for you to explain what you meant by Cube and Ras falling off. Ras Kass fell off from the media mainstream but has still been able to push out mix tapes etc on the under…he still got food on the table πŸ˜‰ Alright enough said…waiting for your response…

Hands down in my opinion in no particular order:

Nas/KRS One
2PAC – I call him a ghetto prophet
Mc Lyte/Queen Latifah
Common/Mos Def

honorable mentions go 2:
Fugees, the entire Wu Tang Clan, The CrossMovement, Talib Kweli, Left Eye

1. Kool Moe Dee
2. Melle Mel
3. LL Cool J
4. T La Rock
5. Ultramagnetic MCs


6. Nas
7. Kurupt
8. Lauryn Hill
9. Redman
10. Keith Murray
11. Black Thought
12. Mos Def
13. Common
14. Ras Kass
15. Canibus
16. Grandmaster Caz
17. Just Ice
18. Stetsasonic
19. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
20. Ice Cube
21. Busta Rhymes
22. Treach
23. Method Man
24. Raekwon
25. Notorious B.I.G.
26. Tupac
27. Buck Shot
28. Sticky Fingers
29. Mystikal
30. Rakim
31. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
32. Big Pun
33. Foxy Brown
34. Lil Kim
35. Mack 10
36. KRS One
37. Spoonie Gee
38. MC Shan
39. Doug E Fresh
40. Biz Markie
41. Kurtis Blow
42. Whodini
43. UTFO
44. Heavy D and the Boyz
45. Boogie Boys
46. Public Enemy
47. Jay Z
48. DMX
49. Snoop Dogg
50. Too Short
51. Mase
52. Puffy
53. Run DMC
54. Fat Boys
55. Beastie Boys
56. Master P

im looking for back in the days,pioneers,when hip hop started recordings,tapes,cds,etc.if you have info on how i can purchase this style of gender contact me 24 hours at 212-865-7863, john jefferson i already got troy l smith, grandmaster caz info on how to do it,and i know its others out there and if you know whereabout of the tape master(elvis moreno) please contact over that thanks

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