Like my friend O-Dub would say, "these things are subjective." Still, there's a handful of principles and elements that we can all agree on--originality, longevity, social impact, live performance, etc...
Of course, music tastes differ across the boards. And depending on your age, old school vs new school preferences vary just as much. I fell in love with hip-hop during the Native Tongues/Fresh Prince & Jazzy Jeff era, so that obviously affects my general expectations and outlook on the game. I also remember thinking that 'Pac was the best thing to ever happen to hip-hop at some point. My preferences have evolved over the years, but one thing's remained the same: I always value avant garde lyricists over by-the-book rappers. (Though, spewing multi-syllabic words straight outta Webster doesn't always guarantee you a spot on my list.)
Now, it'll be foolish to assume that we're the only ones evolving. The rap game has diversified. And as job descriptions change, emcees adjust to match the task. What was deemed a relevant rhyme topic 11 years ago might be considered stale and redundant today.
In any case, take this list with a huge grain of salt. I don't claim it to be the gospel. It's just my thoughts, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Labels: Top Picks