MOST OVERLOOKED MCS IN HIP-HOP
by Masta Ace
Those of us who consider ourselves
to be true hip-hop fans have at some point engaged in a spirited
with our friends about who might be the best rapper.
The discussion inevitably escalates to a
heated argument as we each try to make our point on why a certain
deserves or doesn’t deserve to be mentioned. Inevitably,
there are some names that almost never
get mentioned in
these debates. For whatever reason,
these artists get overlooked by the masses of hip-hop fans despite
overwhelming talents and ability.
I have been asked to compile a list
of the most overlooked MCs in the game, the cats that rarely get
discussions of who is “the best.” It
seems appropriate that I was chosen to write this piece since in many
minds, and my own I suppose, I myself fit into this category. It also is fitting that this section was
chosen to be the afterword of this book since these MCs have gone
careers being an afterthought in the minds of most hip-hop fans.
Here are, in my opinion, 24 of the
most overlooked MCs in hip-hop history. The
list is based on lyrical talent and not song
making or record
sales. Their talent is undeniable but
their lyrical significance has been overlooked.
1- CHILL ROB G
Chill Rob was killin em with the
lyrics in the early 90’s
with songs like “Court is in Session” and “Let Me Show You” from his
45 King-produced album.
2- G DEP
Some may be surprised to see Dep
this list but he’s been
consistently putting words together in unique was since his appearance
Gangstarr’s “At the Mall” from their Moment
of Truth album.
3- GRAND PUBA
You cannot forget the impact
had on the game with
his colorful flow and one-of-a-kind style of bragging.
4- CHUBB ROCK
Most people write this guy off
of minimal record
sales, but in terms of lyrics, Chubb really had a knack for connecting
and making words sound incredible.
Com is not in most people's top
his lyrics speak for
themselves. He has done it the highest
level lyrically and still remained true to his conscious message.
Someone from the ‘Now School’
reppin Little Brother to
the fullest, Phonte has really been raising eyebrows with his standout
performances featuring on several albums and LB mixtapes. His
him on this list easily.
7- LAURYN HILL
I am sure I’m not the only one
wishes L Boogie never
discovered she could sing. Her lyrical
prowess as a straight up MC is missed by the many mainstream fans who
How can you front on this
general who has been
crushing us with the rhymes since his anchor leg on “Protect Ya Neck.”
This cat has never released a
commercially recognized album
but yet deserves to be on this list for his ability to do it on the
level with writtens and off the dome which are both equally incredible.
I know you’re thinking “What is
guy doing on here?” With his overwhelming
commercial success and
his proven ability to make hits, Luda’s talent as a lyricist gets lost
the hype. Straight up, this guy is nice.
11- BLACK THOUGHT
Super talented as an MC,
lyrical ability sometimes
gets overshadowed and often drowned out by the great Roots movement.
12- ROYCE DA 5’9
Most don’t mentioned Royce
their Top 20, but I
have the freestyles of him and Eminem trading verses on several
occasions. If it weren’t Em on the other
side of those
exchanges, this guy would’ve made history already.
13- TALIB KWELI
KWELI has established himself as
of the most skilled
from his early BLACK STAR days to the present.
14- MOS DEF
For the casual fan, MOS DEF’s
as an actor has
overshadowed the fact that on the microphone he is incredibly talented
15- ELZHI (SLUM
As in the case with Phonte, I
single out one member
of a group because it’s the contribution of each member that truly
musical chemistry. With that being said,
ELZHI has consistently delivered incredible lyrical performances on the
projects yet most don’t know his name.
So many of us confuse song
lyrical talent. Canibus is without a doubt
one of the best
MC’s to ever spit a verse. His true
talent can be heard on any number of 50+ bar freestyles floating around
Internet. His ability to put words
together in unusual rhyme patterns is unparalleled.
17- LADY OF RAGE
Reppin for the ladies, the Lady
Rage is one of those rare
talents who writes all her own material and has always been able to
own against the best, male or female.
18- LORD FINESSE
With his crowd-pleasing
his affiliation with
the DITC crew, FINESSE has been one of the best and most entertaining
This original member of the BOOT
CLIK led the way with
incredible flow and intense wordplay first on the BLACKMOON album and
his contributions on all the BCC releases thereafter.
Somewhere in between all the
of Naughty By Nature
and the long list of hit records that came with it, people forgot that
was pretty nice. Maybe we were too busy
saying “Haaay, Hoooo” and “Yea you know me” to recognize his talent,
deserves to be on this list.
These guys deserve to be on this
as a collective duo
because in my opinion neither of them out performed the other. Their perfect balance of talent make them one
of the best groups ever, and their EFX on every MC from New York to New
is well diggiity documented.
22- KING TEE
I am not sure who his influences
but it’s clear that
King Tee is a student of Hip-hop. His
skill has transcended time and from his early days until his
performance on Dr.
Dre’s Chronic 2001, Tela has been
consistently nice on the mic.
You will rarely hear KEITH
name mentioned among the
best. Some complain that they don’t know
what he is talking about. I suppose
Keith is an acquired taste, but I guess I am used to his flavor because
makes my list.
Because he reps Toronto, Canada,
there’s no wonder why this
young talent gets overlooked. The fact
is SAUKRATES is super talented and maybe by virtue of this list, more
the U.S. will recognize his ability.
B REAL (CYPRESS HILL)
SCARFACE (GETO BOYS)
ANDRE 3000 (OUTKAST)