THE 24 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 discussion 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 artist 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 their 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 mentioned in discussions of who is “the best.” It seems appropriate that I was chosen to write this piece since in many people’s 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 through their 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.
Hit continue reading to find out who are the 24 MC’s Ace is talking about.
Via Mickey Hess.
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 Mark the 45 King-produced album.
2- G DEP
Some may be surprised to see Dep on this list but he’s been consistently putting words together in unique was since his appearance on Gangstarr’s “At the Mall” from their Moment of Truth album.
3- GRAND PUBA
You cannot forget the impact that Puba 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 because of minimal record sales, but in terms of lyrics, Chubb really had a knack for connecting the dots and making words sound incredible.
Com is not in most people’s top 20 but his lyrics speak for themselves. He has done it the highest level lyrically and still remained true to his conscious message.
6- PHONTE (LITTLE BROTHER)
Someone from the ‘Now School’ and reppin Little Brother to the fullest, Phonte has really been raising eyebrows with his standout performances featuring on several albums and LB mixtapes. His consistency gets him on this list easily.
7- LAURYN HILL
I am sure I’m not the only one who wishes L Boogie never discovered she could sing. Her lyrical prowess as a straight up MC is missed by the many mainstream fans who bought her album.
How can you front on this Wu-Tang 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 highest level with writtens and off the dome which are both equally incredible.
I know you’re thinking “What is this guy doing on here?” With his overwhelming commercial success and his proven ability to make hits, Luda’s talent as a lyricist gets lost in all the hype. Straight up, this guy is nice.
11- BLACK THOUGHT
Super talented as an MC, THOUGHT’s lyrical ability sometimes gets overshadowed and often drowned out by the great Roots movement.
12- ROYCE DA 5’9
Most don’t mentioned Royce anywhere in 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 one of the most skilled from his early BLACK STAR days to the present.
14- MOS DEF
For the casual fan, MOS DEF’s talent as an actor has overshadowed the fact that on the microphone he is incredibly talented
15- ELZHI (SLUM VILLAGE)
As in the case with Phonte, I hate to single out one member of a group because it’s the contribution of each member that truly makes musical chemistry. With that being said, ELZHI has consistently delivered incredible lyrical performances on the S.V. projects yet most don’t know his name.
So many of us confuse song making with 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 the Internet. His ability to put words together in unusual rhyme patterns is unparalleled.
17- LADY OF RAGE
Reppin for the ladies, the Lady of Rage is one of those rare talents who writes all her own material and has always been able to hold her own against the best, male or female.
18- LORD FINESSE
With his crowd-pleasing punchlines and his affiliation with the DITC crew, FINESSE has been one of the best and most entertaining MC’s in the game.
This original member of the BOOT CAMP CLIK led the way with incredible flow and intense wordplay first on the BLACKMOON album and then with his contributions on all the BCC releases thereafter.
Somewhere in between all the success of Naughty By Nature and the long list of hit records that came with it, people forgot that TREACH was pretty nice. Maybe we were too busy saying “Haaay, Hoooo” and “Yea you know me” to recognize his talent, but he deserves to be on this list.
These guys deserve to be on this list 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 Zealand is well diggiity documented.
22- KING TEE
I am not sure who his influences were 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.
23- KEITH MURRAY
You will rarely hear KEITH MURRAY’S 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 he 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 people in the U.S. will recognize his ability.
GRAND DADDY IU
B REAL (CYPRESS HILL)
SCARFACE (GETO BOYS)
ANDRE 3000 (OUTKAST)