There’s a lot of debate about who the best rapper of all time is.
It’s a mad hard question to answer. So I’m gonna make it a little easier for myself by splitting it up a bit. These are the greatest rappers: all time edition (part 1.)
Scope Part 2 here.
Scope Part 3 here.
Most Musical Rapper: Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def)
Mos Def is the closest I can come to for greatest rapper of all time, but people could argue with that. It’s much harder to argue that Mos is the most musical rapper of all time. No one can hit the beat better than Mos does, and even when he’s just rapping it almost sounds like he’s singing. I think Chance the Rapper is the closest to continuing this legacy.
He’s undeniably the most musical rapper because of his actual singing, though. On songs like Umi Says he doesn’t even rap, and he sounds like he’s famous because of his singing. Not to mention his bit on Kanye’s Drunk and Hot Girls, where he takes the song to another level, again, without rapping at all. If he wanted he could just be a singer.
All of this is without even mentioning some of the production he’s done. He made the beat for some of the songs on Black on Both Sides, including the intro (Fear Not of Men) and May-December, which doesn’t even have any lyrics. Mos Def is so musical that he could have even held it down as a producer.
For proof of all this, pick up Black on Both Sides on iTunes.
Most Unique Rapper: Ol’ Dirty Bastard
This section’s gonna be a little shorter than the last one because it’s pretty obvious. No one ever rapped like ODB before him, and no one has rapped like him since. As the great Method Man once explained, “there ain’t no father to his style, that’s why he’s the Ol’ Dirty Bastard.”
His flow is so original it’s hard to even call it a flow, because it’s more of a staccato peppering of what dude wants to say. He went by the beat of his own drum so much that he owned a bulletproof suit. Not to mention that he’s the only member of the Wu who isn’t still alive. The world just couldn’t handle someone as unique as the ODB.
For proof, scope Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.
Best Storytelling Rapper: Nas
This is an easy choice if you’ve ever heard a Nas track. I mean, on Stillmatic, he rapped a whole story backwards (Rewind) and it’s still better and easier to follow than most rap out there. To listen to Nas is to know who he is and where he came from, and if anyone wants to know what the 90’s were about (in Hip Hop and New York), they just gotta listen to Nas’s older shit.
For proof, you gotta start with Illmatic.
This concludes part 1 of the greatest rappers of all time.
When you talk about some shit like this, there’s sure to be debate, so come at me.
Also, scope Part 2 here.
Scope Part 3 here.