observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Friday, March 02, 2007

(curry) GOAT

So I have been out of pocket for a minute. I missed y’all.
I love the mythical names post. I still want to write a book about that. Been reading Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and watching Star Wars so that probably explains it.

Anyway today’s topic is THE BEST MC OF ALL TIME.
No, this is not one of those lists that do little but stimulate juvenile attacks.
I am going to list my criteria. Let’s define some terms.

One of the reasons why I think there is so much argument is that people define the best in disparate ways. And as any lawyer or anyone who has negotiated a contract can tell you if you don’t define the terms there is no way to agree or debate. So here are mine. I encourage you to add on and tell me what are your criteria? If you think it’s Rakim, why? Tupac, Biggie, Rich Boy, whoever.

Writtens
What is your rhyme book like? If I were to read your rhymes outside of the composition am I wowed?
Looking for: Use of rhyme patterns, vocabulary, use of metaphors and similes.
This where I always thought Nas and Rakim shined above many

Songwriting
The yin to #1’s yang. Can you write a song complete with hooks, bridges and overall song structure?
And does the entire composition reflect and enhance the strength of your words.
Rakim and Nas’s Achilles Heel

Live Show
Can you survive in the real world? Can you get on stage and rock the mic or rock the party?
Can you interact with your fans on a one on one basis and still convey the strength of your music?
I used to put battling in here as well but I just don’t think MC’s even think about it anymore. The mano a mano aspect of Hip-Hop is gone. Now people battle with videos and mixtapes. Thanks to Biggie and Tupac MC’s are understandably hesitant to beef face to face.
When you have beef will you go to your rival’s show and throw his ass off stage?

Content
Are you saying anything that sticks to my ribs? Whether you are dropping knowledge or telling gritty tales I am looking for substance.
If you are talking about money running down a laundry list of your assets does not suffice. And empty calls to rally against the system are equally disposable.
This is where I think groups like Mobb Deep shined. And the reason why New Yorkers couldn’t front on may West Coast pioneers. You felt what they were saying even if it sounded strange

Sales/Commerce
You are in the business of selling music and as much as we hate it you must perform in that arena. If sales are not important why did you sign a deal and take that advance? You are adding commerce to your life whether you like it or not. A lot of wack MC’s lean on this as a way to compensate for other deficiencies. Unacceptable.
But underground MC’s don’t blame your label or your marketing plan. At some point the rubber must meet the road. If you can’t move units in the major system I can dig it. Then you better work on that live show and make that money on the road.
I always loved that J5 made a very good living with or without support from their label. J5 and The Roots simply do not a record label to live. I’ve seen their offers. Definite plus.

That’s my take and why I think the greatest MC is …KRS ONE
What’s yours?

Have a good weekend

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10 Comments:

Blogger ian said...

Based on your criteria, it'd be tough to front on Pac as being if not absolutely #1, competing strongly for that top position. B.I.G. also. Personal faves though: Nas and G Rap. KRS-One is a solid choice and another fave though....

March 02, 2007 5:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Thought. He is so versatile with his lyrics. You never know what this man is going to spit. He is my all time favorite MC

Nae

March 03, 2007 10:40 PM

 
Blogger Swifty said...

Indeed. A case for 'Pac is hard to argue. I can think of about 5 dudes who score A's on my test. At the end of the day it comes to down to personal preference.

I was never a big 'Pac fan but it certainly has more hits than I used to give him credit.

But there was one category I forgot. Longevity. Can your music stand the test of time? Can you as an artist stand the test of time.
G Rap scores low on this. And BIG's two albums give us a limited body of work compared to other legends.

March 04, 2007 9:27 AM

 
Blogger ian said...

G. Rap doesn't score low to me. I can put on all three of those first albums and they still sound great to me. No more dated than a Tribe, EPMD or BDP album. But like I said: G. Rap is a personal fave, I wouldn't get into a great debate advocating for him being the GOAT. I just happen to think he's amazing.

March 06, 2007 1:43 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Krs hands down. Probably the best live show I've ever seen. Was never a Pac fan, and god bless him, but I think he is overrated. I'm curious...who else scored A's?

March 06, 2007 9:29 AM

 
Blogger Swifty said...

Nas has to score an 'A' though his Live performance grade could be as low as a 'C'
he is an 'A' or 'A plus' in almost every other category.

on the West side (can't be regionally biased) Ice Cube has to get an A

Chuck D gets an 'A' although he is probably not considered one of the best pure lyricists. his delivery is one of the best of all time.

a personal fave is De La even though you can question their grades across the board.

March 06, 2007 11:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

De La fits all the criteria, although they can be too complex for the average fan (I think their lyrical abilities are slept on by most). I agree with Chuck D and Cube (who is a son of Chuck). Definitely Nas...how about Kane?

March 06, 2007 5:27 PM

 
Blogger ian said...

IMHO: De La gets A's for everything except for sales/commerce and longevity where they'd be B+ cos a few of their albums failed to go gold and they've kind of been off the radar even on an underground level for the past couple years.

March 06, 2007 7:28 PM

 
Blogger Swifty said...

Kane scored well but those loverman albums keep him out of a GOAT discussion

March 06, 2007 7:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

De La put out a mixtape recently...are sales a judge of longevity?

March 07, 2007 3:09 PM

 

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