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

Friday, November 16, 2007

The GOAT list grows

As you should know one of my favorite MC’s Tony Starks is about to drop his 7th dolo album, The Big Doe Rehab. For the next month the Bodega will be featuring all types of fly content revolving around Dennis Coles, Clyde Smith, Theodore Deini, The Ironman, Starkey Love, Pretty Toney and everyone else.

In my mind Ghost will go down as one of the greatest MC’s. He will likely never be in the discussion with the likes Tupac, Big, Rakim, Nas, or Jay Z and I do not have the time to start that debate. But when you talk of longevity (more albums than Big and Rakim), sales (no records broken but Starks has plaques), and creativity Starks separates himself from the pack.

There is another MC that also fits into this category that I have not written about much this year. That is none other than Lonnie Lynn aka Common. Common has seven solo albums. The last 3 out of 4 have gone Gold. He is winning awards (BET). Broadening his human brand (‘Smokin Aces’, ‘American Gangster’, Lincoln deal, HIV awareness campaign). And at the end of the day still dropping joints and remaining relevant.

Remaining relevant is something that some of the greats simply cannot say. KRS ONE, who gets my vote as the GOAT, hasn’t been relevant in years. He hasn’t had significant sales in almost 10 years. Thankfully he has been honored by his peers recently.
Where is Kool G Rap these days?
Rakim can’t seem to release another album after two failed comeback projects.
As great as Big was we have to be honest he only released two albums. There is no telling where he would by #7. If he could have made it that far.
EPMD couldn’t maintain their dominance for this long.
Neither could NWA or The Geto Boys.
Kanye has earned more in much shorter amount of time but we still have to see if Kanye can remain in the game for 14 years.

Using these criteria Common is in elite company.
A small fraternity that includes Jay, LL, (maybe Scarface?), and Outkast.

Personally, Common is in my Top 10 (maybe Top 5).
I think more than any MC he speaks to me. We are around the same age and because of that fact we have gone through many of the same life lesson ‘together.’

During ‘Resurrection’ we were both living with your Moms after college while struggling to find a career. He as a rapper, me as a businessman.
We both drank a little too much and swear off the hooch
I tried being a vegetarian but it didn’t take all that well. Maybe because he was doing the ooch coochy dance with Badu and I had a straight girl from Corona
When he spoke about losing his godmother on Electric Circus, I had just lost my mom.
We are both young parents
I remember a line that went something like: “my city ain’t all good or all bad. You could live in the ‘burbs and still get had.” That was how I felt growing up in the Bronx. The shit was all around you but thanks to my parents I knew better and was not left to wallow in the negativity. At times you could have a somewhat suburban happy existence in the midst of the crack epidemic.

That dichotomy Common often speaks of is as real as it gets.
He is a conscious rapper (if you still want to use that hollow label) that is not holier than though. No criminal but far from a Saint. Respectful of women but still trying to get his. This is the duality that exists in all of us.
There is something about these Chicago MC’s like Common, Lupe, Rhymefest, and Kanye who can pluck that chord better than most. I think it is a real strength because their flaws next to their talent make them real people.

Anyway, as we continue to move forward with this Hip-Hop shit let’s give some recognition to those who can survive this dysfunctional industry and still speak from their soul.

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Anonymous Stephanie Elder said...

I have to say Wes, that's probably one of the best posts that I've read here, since I've been reading them.

November 16, 2007 3:02 PM

Blogger Wes said...

Thanks a lot Steph!
Made my day

November 16, 2007 3:05 PM

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January 15, 2010 7:03 AM


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