DISCLAIMER: These are just my views.. don't take it too seriously it's based entirely on my opinion and what I like.
What makes a great rapper? Sure Eminem, Pharoahe Monch, Aesop Rock, Nas have great ability to tell stories, create clever punchlines and grip the audience.. But is what makes an emcee great based entirely on lyrical skill? One could argue without the flow, the lyrical genius cannot be appreciated. These rappers are ones that manage to fly under peoples appreciation radar when it comes to great pieces of work, and amount of skill.
'You' (Produced by DJ Premier)
Doesn't Evidence's flow and delivery work perfectly on this DJ Premier beat? His style is almost rhythmic talking.. but I mean that in the most complimentary way I can. With Evidence's chilled out rap style he manages to blend in with the beat, almost like an instrument.. as to standing out on it. You don't have to hear every one of his bars to just feel this song.. perfect combination of voice and production.
'Same Folks' (Ft. Fashawn)
This one I also like alot..
Okay I get this has like 80 million views.. but does that really constitute what makes a great rapper? This song was really a highlight on his album, I love the uplifting feel.. as well as the heartfelt sentiment towards his mother. This section of the song (about his mother) does contain some depth a lot of rappers lack, comparing the way he treated her, as to how he presently acts towards his girlfriend. Furthermore, 'this is my canvas' is a way of thinking the rap community should adopt more, as J-Cole may not be the most lyrical, spiritual, spherical rap dude.. But he promotes his own sound, way of rapping and life! Although Forest Hills was my favourite album from him.. Probably because of how he blends singing into it more (easy listening).
This was such an emotional introduction for the album (2014 Forest Hills Drive). Great instrumentation as well as lyrics.. making for an inspirational yet reflective piece of work.
3. Method Man
The What - Biggie Smalls Ft. Method Man
Lets just appreciate the song where Method Man stood out alongside Biggie. Much Love to B.I.G but Method Man totally killed this classic. Raw emotion and flows.. Method Man manages to rap like a musician grooves.. The combination of his raspy voice and comfortable flow make sure your head is nodding.
For more examples listen to this:
Bring The Pain - Method Man
This shit manages to make for a hardcore rap track while also being something u can dance to. Method Man manages to fuse these two components in his rapping style, if you watch the music video version you can also see how his body moves in sync to the flows..
[Method Man= Fun but also gritty]
AZ - Mo Money Mo Homocide Ft. Nas
Always loved the chemistry between Nas and AZ, this is a song where AZ stands out more than one of the GOATS. The flow is classic AZ, who else has a flow like that? He brings something truly unique when it comes to the art of rap.
AZ - I'm Known
This also shows how AZ can tell stories, while also spitting constant flows smoothly as hell. What makes AZ number 2 in my list is the fact that he completely embodies his own style, I don't think I know anyone who sounds like him. But we knew people who were inspired by him (cough cough Eminem).
1. Talib Kweli
Aside from his Ye'ish twitter politics, Kweli has had many great songs.. but some have been forgotten like they were awful flops. An album that comes to mind is indeed.. 'Prisoner of the Conscious'. I am not sure if it's just me.. but this album has A LOT of replay value, and surprising collabs (Nelly, Busta Rhymes, RZA to name a few). Im not sure if it's regarded as trash to critics, but since it dropped it seemed people didn't have to time to appreciate it. No Anthony Fantano review on it WAH.. Hear this J.Cole produced track by Talib, the perfect song I need to start my day.
It only Gets Better Ft. Marsha Ambrosius (Prod. J-Cole).
Before he Walked Ft. Nelly & Abby Dobson
(Nelly kills the shit too.. Probs Kweli proving a point.. Commercial Mcs can kill shit too..)