These are my favorite MCs ever and why:
Kanye West: although he doesn’t floor me with his rapping skills, I am a big big fan of his beat production and most importantly I enjoy that he doesn’t take himself too seriously or talk about killing people or anything. He’s somewhere in between KRS One and Dr. Dre, and I pretty much just really like his sense of humor and the way he can write a hook. “Jesus Walks” is one of my all-time favorite rap songs ever for this reason.
Blackstar (Mos Def/Talib Kweli): These two are the epitome of what hip-hop is supposed to be all about, a uniting force that focuses on equality and togetherness. Mos Def’s voice and delivery is frankly just badass, it just seems to pour out of him. Talib’s delivery is a little more herky-jerky but it gives him character and also he has some of these best wordplay and use of metaphors and similes I can think of. I enjoy them both as solo MCs but I love them best when they are together. The best alliance in hip-hop (whooa-oooh!)
Eminem: Although he doesn’t always rap about things I can relate to, the biggest reason I like Eminem is because he’s got the most sincere, honest and caustic style ever. I think he is arguably the best MC ever, and he’s one of the only MCs that gives me the chills when I am listening to him because of how harsh his lyrics are and how totally badass it sounds.
Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5: I like him a ton not only because of his voice and because of the fact that he always says “Yo” in a super deep voice right before he starts rapping, but most impressive is the way his words flow out in a constant stream and he hits the syllable right on, keeping a steady rhythm with the way he accents his rhyme. Awesome.
The Streets (Mike Skinner): I almost wouldn’t really call Mike a rapper, since his music is more like some sort of contemporary “geezer” poetry over some very very unique beats. However, he is an excellent storyteller and I always find myself paying close attention the plot he lays out in a song. Also, a lot of his songs are about the things that most guys my age go through: girlfriend stuff, getting too wasted all the time, hanging out with your best guy friends, trying to have as decadent of time as possible, etc. Plus, the music he composes is awesome.
Honorable mentions go to Jay-Z and Nas, but they kind of cancelled each other out nyuk nyuk nyuk and also Blackalicious although I don’t know them well enough to put them at the top quite yet
All for now-