The best rapper dead or alive will never be settled. It's like Twilight, the majority are either Team Tupac or Team Biggie. Since and before, there have been many contenders for the crown. The older heads will site Melle Mel, Cowboy, Busy Bee, LL Cool J or Kool Moe Dee. Later you have to consider Kool G Rap, KRS ONE, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Chuck D or Rakim to name just a few.
In the late 80's and early 90's the West Coast came out guns blasting with Ice T, Ice Cube, Eazy E, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. In The mid and late 90's the East Coast made a triumphant come back with Nas, Jay Z, Jadakiss, Guru, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Black Thought, Big Pun, Big L, Ghostfase Killah, Mos Def, Raekwon, and Prodigy among others. Many will argue that after 2000 Hip Hop went down hill and the MC died. I beg to differ. In the last 16 years we've witnessed the rise of the modern lyricist. Eminem, Fabulous, The Game, Lil Wayne, Joe Budden, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar are keeping the legacy of Hip Hop Alive with their own diverse and eclectic styles.
I recently posed this question to my Instagram and Facebook friends:
Some of the responses I got on Instagram were:
Then my Facebook family chimed in:
Kimberly Pleasants 1988 Rebel Without a Pause. Public Enemy
Clyde Moore II 2004 - Through The Wire
Mario Pilotin Jr 2003 -- Love or my life -Erykah Badu and Common, Work It-Missy Elliott, BUMP BUMP BUMP - B2K and Diddy, Air Force Ones -- Nelly, Miss You--Aaliyah, I Should Be--Dru Hill, '03 Bonnie and Clyde -- Jay and B. Thats just the top 6 of the first week that year.
Brenton Richardson 1999 maybe
Mos Def : Black on Both Sides
Eminem: The Slim Shady LP
Dr. Dre : 2001
The Roots : Things Fall Apart
Mario Pilotin Jr Between 98 and 04 for sure...then it all good music died. I think Makvelli cam out in 98 nad I think Ready to Die came out around then too.
Brenton Richardson 1985 King of Rock 1987 Paid in Full
There is nothing in those reponses that I can disagree with. Every pick has merit based on when it was released and who released it. They all are significant to that era and are a snap shot of that moment in Hip Hop. Showcasing the style of rap and the production technology and technique of the day.
The beauty of Hip Hop music is that it has never stopped evolving. It may not sound like it did when we fell in love with it, but reflects the world it lives in at the moment it was recorded. If it still sounded like it did in 1979 it would never have gone as far at it has and reached the farthest corners of the earth.
I will now attempt to highlight the years that marked my life the most and also propelled the genre into it's most influential periods.
By the time Rap music reached the radio airwaves, Hip Hop as a Culture that included Rapping, Breakdancing, Graffiti and DJing had already made it's way into the American lexicon when it all began 5 years earlier in the South Bronx. These first radio rap records were recorded by Disco producers. In the first year we got classics from 2 of Hip Hops first legendary groups, an Afro-Filipino Latin music crooner and even a lady rapper.
The first legitimate Rap song recorded was King Tim III by The Fatback Band. It was released in March of 1979, 6 Months before our next entry.
Rapper's Delight was released in September of 1979 (about a week after I was born) by The Sugarhill Gang on Sugarhill Records. Rapper's Delight was the first Rap song to obtaion national and later international airplay. The group was comprised of Wonder Mike, Master Gee , and Big Bank Hank. Master Gee was born Greg Robinson, son of Soul singer Sylvia Robinson of Pillow Talk fame. Sylvia Robinson was the driving force and founded Sugarhill Records, Hip Hop's first record label.
Wendy Clark also known as Lady B was a Philadelphia radio personality and one of the first female rapper's to record a single with To The Beat Y'all.
Melle Mel, Cowboy, Kid Creole, Scorpio, and Raheim along with Joseph Saddler were better know as Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Unlike the other songs mentioned here Superrappin' was not driven by a Disco beat. It was groundbreaking for it's raps and production.
My last highlight of 1979 Hip Hop comes from Joe Bataan. Known more for Lowrider love ballads and Latin dance songs. In an attempt to ride the wave of rap recordings that year he released Rap-O Clap-O on the Salsoul record label.