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Saturday, April 23, 2005 

The Most Essential Rap Elements

How can you tell if one MC is superior to another? When can you safely say that a Rap artist has attained legendary status? If you know what Real Hip Hop is all about then you'd be able to answer all these questions and many more. Hip Hop is a culture based originally on graffiti, DJing, and Rap. There are hundreds of micro elements that make the art form digestible. But, I'm going to give you a list of the ten most essential elements, without which a rapper is nothing short of a yapper. More interestingly, I'll give you my favorite MC in each category. Before you proceed, locate your pen and paper and get ready to take notes.
1.Flow & Structure: The ability to create a smooth rhyme sequence that makes a song interesting to the ear. Favorites: Big L, Jay-Z.
2.Charisma: Poise. The ability to exhume a great deal of enthusiasm, enough to command a respectable following. Favorites: NaS, KRS-One.
3.Accessibility: An unrestricted connection between an artist and a fan, fostered through songs. If you can relate, then most likely the song is accessible. Image hosted by
Favorite: Lauryn Hill
4.Realness & Street Credibility: When believable tales match actual lifestyles or experiences, then we have a credible artist who keeps it 'real'. The antithesis of a 'fake'. Favorites: 2Pac, Scarface.
5.Rhyme Scheme: The original pattern or style peculiar to a rapper. A rhyme scheme could be 'simple'(Kanye West) or 'complex'(Big Pun). Image hosted by
Favorite: Kool G. Rap
6.Lyrical Prowess: Intelligent rhymes that tug at the medulla.
Favorites: Rakim, Black Thought.
7.Imagery & Concepts: Metaphors, similes, storylines that not only entertain, but also paint vivid pictures("I'm Picasso with words"). Favorites: Canibus, GZA.
8.Punchlines: Compelling lyrical missiles that hit right on the most important target - the ears. Image hosted by
Favorite: Jean Grae
9.Beat: dum-dum-ka. Gully beats represent the raw facet of Rap; Soulful beats signify depth and insight, fancy, 'tinkerbell' beats scream "commercial" Favorites: DJ Premier, Pete Rock.
10.Voice & Tone: Tone must possess enough melody and rhythmic inflations to engage the listener's ears. In other words, the difference between Freeway and Q-Tip.
Favorite: Slick Rick

So there you have it. The Most Essential ingredients required to make Hip Hop delicious. Feel free to comment on tonight's list. Also, I won't charge you any fee for creating your own list, or duplicating mine.

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  • Reppin' Houston, Texas, United States
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