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My Hip-Hop Top 5

Yesterday, I shared my web developer top 5 list.

One of my readers asked what my hip-hop top 5 looks like. Here it is:

  1. Eminem. I’m not a huge fan of his music, but he is one of the most brilliant lyricists of all time. His ability to rhyme difficult words, construct complex rhyming patterns, and freestyle are unrivaled.
  2. Andre 3000. I wish he had a solo album, but he’s complex and deeply lyrical while occupying a sub-genre of hip-hop that’s generally known for its more simplistic lyrics. His opening verse of “Da Art of Storytelling Part 4” is one of my favorite rap verses of all time.
  3. Lil Wayne. Lean is seriously ruining his career, but this guy is a machine. He’s been doing this for a long time, and between his official releases, features, and mix-tapes, he churns out an absurd amount of music each year. The way he writes songs—on the fly—is amazing to watch, and he launched the careers of two other hip-hop superstars: Drake and Nicki.
  4. Tupac brought depth and substance to a genre that was largely one-dimensional. He was nuanced. He was vulnerable. He was a contradiction. He was a poet.
  5. Kanye. I haven’t liked any of his music since Graduation, but he’s left a huge mark on the hip-hop culture. He’s helped spawn two new sub-genres, first with his chip-and-dale style oldies samples, and then again with his bass-driven 808’s style. As a producer, he catapulted Jay-Z’s already great career. He made it ok to be preppy and rap (before later ruining hip-hop fashion).

Into hip-hop? What’s your top 5?