So it's been a while since my last post. Today, I'll start a countdown of my personal picks for top 6 greatest hip-hop emcees of all time. The only reason I chose 6 as the cut-off is because I can only think of 6 rappers who have clearly distinguished themselves from the rest of the flock. My criteria for great rapper? Well, that will come out in the list, but it's mainly a combo of technical skill and lyricism. Insightful, I know. Today, we'll begin at the back of the list with my #6 pick:
6. Slick Rick
I honestly don't believe Ricky Walters has received his due as one of history's great mcs. He's never mentioned among the top rappers of all time, and I imagine this has something to do with his less than prolific output over the course of his career. Having released only 3 or 4 true albums in 20 years time has probably hurt Rick's status. His image as something of a clown probably doesn't help either. Nonetheless, throw on The Great Adventures of Slick Rick and you will see an mc who was light years ahead of anyone else from his era. I know, people will try to tell you about guys like Rakeem and KRS-One, but the fact of the matter is that those dudes sound boring and dated when you listen to them today. The raps from Slick Rick's debut, however, are still euphorically enjoyable. The cliche is that Ricky D is a master story-rapper and ... well this is exactly true. 'Treat Her Like A Prostitute,' 'Children's Story,' 'The Moment I Feared,' 'Indian Girl,' 'Mona Lisa,' ... each of these is are true hip-hop classics. In fact, the only missteps on Rick's debut are the moments when he tries to get serious and leaves the stories behind ('Hey Young World,' 'Teenage Love'). When he sticks to his humorous, and vaguely didactic tales of crime and sex, Slick Rick can do know wrong. It's not just his lyricism that earns Rick a place on this list though. His flow is agile and infinitely malleable, with changes of voice inflection and the occasional high-pitched female impersonation. Rick also happens to possess a truly unique voice: a nasally mix of cockney-British and New York accents, courtesy of transnational upbringing. In the end, Slick Rick's greatness can be attributed to two things: First his singular style, which is consistently enthralling, and second, the fact that his rhymes will never get old.
It ain't over ...
For good measure here's my video of the day: Flourescent Adolescent by the Arctic Monkeys.