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Hippest Hoppers

Danielle
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2/1/2010 3:21:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
East vs. West

I'm gonna hafta go with East Coast. Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Rakim, Talib Kweli, ODB, Mos Def, Big Pun, Funkmaster Flex, Jim Jones, KRS-One, RZA, Wu Tang, Beastie Boys, Doug E. Fresh, Papoose, MC Lyte, Run DMC, DMX... these are just a few of the people who come from the East Coast - and that's only NYC alone! I'm sure if you look up everyone from the East Coast you'll find a lot more people that I'm forgetting. Nevertheless, I think it's pretty safe to say that the East dominates in this regard. I was just surprised that it's still even an argument when my roommate brought it up to me. Some of the best of the best come from my hometown(s). Hell even Tupac was from NY.

Brooklyn's Finest

I realized that many people actually believe that Jay Z has surpassed Biggie (I personally don't) including Jay himself... according to Nas anyway. Then of course you got Talib Kweli and other greats coming from my BK home town. Who do you think the best rapper out of Crooklyn is? Most people would agree that it's BIG vs. HOV and I do realize that Biggie hasn't put out as many records as Jay Z, etc. Some people think that people only consider Biggie cuz he's dead adding that his being gone adds to his popularity. On the other hand, some people think Jay Z is better simply because Biggie didn't have the opportunity to put out as much good stuff. I personally think Brooklyn's Finest hands down has to be none other than Biggie Smalls.

... of all time

Biggie. Let me say it again: N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S. I know this is a hot debate and there's good arguments for others (Tupac, obviously, Rakim, Jay Z, and the amazing albeit lesser known ie. not commercial rappers I'm sure many people will mention in a desperate need to establish their rap cred - haha jk). But for me, no other hip hop artist just blows me away as much as the Big man. Biggie always puts me in a good mood. His flow was original; his style was raw. He raps about real sh-t. He tells a story. He's smooth. His samples and beats are great. I love the way he creates complex rhymes out of simple words; melodies out of structure. I love his voice! I love his vibe. I love him. There are other great ones, but nobody touches how Biggie's affected me from childhood til today. I spent a great deal of my childhood in the BK projects (don't ask) and I can't imagine Biggie not being a part of it lol. Anyway, he's my personal favorite. Who's yours?
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Puck
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2/1/2010 3:30:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Eh I actually prefer the UK, Aus hip hop more than US as it tends to be more musical based. Even then in small doses. :)
GeoLaureate8
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2/1/2010 3:39:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I don't get into the whole East vs West thing, but greatest of all time?

I would definitely say Canibus. Nas even said that the four rappers he's scared to battle are Canibus, Pac, Biggie, and Eminem.

Canibus is the only rapper to construct a 1000 bar (lines), infinite rhyme. It's a 1 hour long song and the lyrics/rhymes all line up with 5 layers that can be mixed to infinite combinations and beats. Next, he's making a 10,000 bar, 10 hour long, infinite album. Nobody's got stamina like that!

Plus, he has by far the biggest vocabulary, best rhyme structure, and aggressive flow ever! Not to mention, he currently resides in my current hometown, Las Vegas.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
popculturepooka
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2/1/2010 4:12:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Looks like I gotta rep for the west.

Hieroglyphics\souls of mischief, blackalicious, Jurrasic 5, Planet Asia, Ras Kass, Dialated Peoples, Alkoholiks, Psycho Realm, Cypress Hill, Living Legends, Ice Cube, Tupac....not to mention all of our Bay Area rappers....

That being said my (new) favorite rapper of all time is actually from the midwest: Lupe Fiasco. lol

I relate so much to him it's ridiculous. I love his subject matters, his complex and clever rhymes ("you far from the hood like limousine trunks"), his flow, his swag - everything. lol I mean once I heard him collaborate with some of my favorite Japanese rappers that pretty much sealed it for me.
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Danielle
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2/2/2010 10:46:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Lupe Fiasco is good, and I agree that Canibus is among the best. But just because Nas is scared to battle him doesn't mean he's as good as Biggie... Hah, also, I'm sure other rappers could create 1,000 bar rap if they really wanted to.
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Danielle
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2/2/2010 11:02:09 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
And yeah I'm more familiar with American rappers because that's what I was exposed to as a kid. I haven't started listening to much overseas rap until later (though I know NOTHING about Japanese rap, PCP) ... I guess my favorite would have to be Jehst.
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feverish
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2/2/2010 1:01:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Coast to Coast (like buttered toast).

East > West. Seriously.

I would estimate that 70 - 80% of my hip hop vinyl is East Coast. PCP provided a great list of quality west coast acts and the only obvious additions I would make to it (off the top of my head) would be Madlib/Lootpack etc. , The Pharcyde of course, PUTS (although he did say "without" mentioning the Bay Area), Beat Junkies, other Solesides artists, other Soul Assasins artists, Scratch Pickles, Digital Underground, obviously Dre/NWA/Dogg pound etc. (forgot about Dre?), Def Jeff (and Delicious Vinyl production in general), Maestro Fresh Wes, DJ Quik, Freestyle Fellowship and Above The Law.

This might seem like a long list (although I'm sure I missed a few) but combined with PCP's one I think it is a fairly comprehensive list of really high quality West Coast hip hop. If, on the other hand, I was to attempt a list of all the East Coast hip hop artists I considered equally talented, relevant and influential we we would literally be here all day.

5 Boroughs

Biggie > Jay-Z and yes Brooklyn and The Bronx have always produced some of the best rappers (Big Daddy Kane, Mos Def, Masta Ace, KRS, Ultramag) as well as most of the early DJ pioneers. However when it comes to MCs I think overall Queens is very strong competition for BK (Pharoah Monche, Rakim, Kool G Rap, Q-Tip, Tragedy, Nas, LL, Blaq Poet etc.) and probably wins on producers too (Pete Rock, Large Professor, Marley Marl).

Can't forget Uptown for Big L and Staten Isle for the Wu.

GOAT

Biggie > Pac but neither should be called the greatest of all time. As for Canibus, just no. He wouldn't make my top 50.

If I'm trying to be objective then KRS is the GOAT, with Kool G Rap, Kane and Rakim also in the running. If we're talking about my personal favourite I would probably go with Kool Keith.

As for non-US hip hop, I listen to a lot of UK hip hop obviously enough. Jehst is sick but there are quite a few I would rate higher, including Roots Manuva, Skinnyman, Klashnekoff, Orifice, Verb T and Rodney P.
popculturepooka
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2/2/2010 4:46:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 11:02:09 AM, theLwerd wrote:
And yeah I'm more familiar with American rappers because that's what I was exposed to as a kid. I haven't started listening to much overseas rap until later (though I know NOTHING about Japanese rap, PCP) ... I guess my favorite would have to be Jehst.

I could update you. :) I don't know how enjoyable you'd find it though since I'm assuming you don't know Japanese. But you'd be surprised how many American artists collab with Japanese artists (Kanye for example) and how high quality it is. Then some Japanese artists are pretty sick as well including a female MC who's top 5 ever in Japanese hip-hop.

Here's a track with Lupe and Big-O:

Personally, I like Korean rap too, though, I only have a basic understanding of Korean. Korea has some *seriously* talented MC's.

I've heard good things about French and German rap as well.
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Danielle
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2/2/2010 4:48:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Canibus would be in my top 50, but definitely not near the top.

Am I the only one who thinks LL Cool J is a terrible rapper?

Also, KRS is far from the best in my eyes. He's got the old school vibe going on but his lyrics are far from stellar. Take a random KRS song like one of the first I've heard - Sound of Da Police. Here's a verse from it:

Check out the message in a rough stylee
The real criminals are the C-O-P
You check for undercover and the one PD
But just a mere Black man, them want check me
Them check out me car for it shine like the sun
But them jealous or them vexed cause them can't afford one
Black people still slaves up til today
But the Black police officer nah see it that way
Him want a salary
Him want it
So he put on a badge and kill people for it
My grandfather had to deal with the cops
My great-grandfather dealt with the cops
My GREAT grandfather had to deal with the cops
And then my great, great, great, great... when it's gonna stop?!


Eh. I just think he's really overrated. His rhymes are average and he may have been a big influence in the game but just because he's one of the originals doesn't mean that people who have come after him haven't bested him (Nelly not included lol).
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Danielle
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2/2/2010 4:49:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 4:46:21 PM, popculturepooka wrote:

I've heard good things about French and German rap as well.

I've heard some okay French rap; never heard any German either...
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popculturepooka
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2/2/2010 5:16:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 1:01:47 PM, feverish wrote:
Coast to Coast (like buttered toast).

East > West. Seriously.

I would estimate that 70 - 80% of my hip hop vinyl is East Coast. PCP provided a great list of quality west coast acts and the only obvious additions I would make to it (off the top of my head) would be Madlib/Lootpack etc. , The Pharcyde of course, PUTS (although he did say "without" mentioning the Bay Area), Beat Junkies, other Solesides artists, other Soul Assasins artists, Scratch Pickles, Digital Underground, obviously Dre/NWA/Dogg pound etc. (forgot about Dre?), Def Jeff (and Delicious Vinyl production in general), Maestro Fresh Wes, DJ Quik, Freestyle Fellowship and Above The Law.

This might seem like a long list (although I'm sure I missed a few) but combined with PCP's one I think it is a fairly comprehensive list of really high quality West Coast hip hop. If, on the other hand, I was to attempt a list of all the East Coast hip hop artists I considered equally talented, relevant and influential we we would literally be here all day.

Yeah, you definitely picked up my slack. I'd add Okwerdz, Blu, Crooked I, E-40, and Zion I to that list as well.

If I'm trying to be objective then KRS is the GOAT, with Kool G Rap, Kane and Rakim also in the running. If we're talking about my personal favourite I would probably go with Kool Keith.

The GOAT? I'd say Rakim, probably.

As for non-US hip hop, I listen to a lot of UK hip hop obviously enough. Jehst is sick but there are quite a few I would rate higher, including Roots Manuva, Skinnyman, Klashnekoff, Orifice, Verb T and Rodney P.

Yes! New material! Thanks!
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popculturepooka
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2/2/2010 5:18:43 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 4:52:54 PM, theLwerd wrote:
As a side note, I think Eminem is very underrated.

Really? I think it's just about right.

I see him in almost everyone's top 10 mc's - if not top 5.
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mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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2/2/2010 5:19:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 4:48:06 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Canibus would be in my top 50, but definitely not near the top.

Am I the only one who thinks LL Cool J is a terrible rapper?

lol, he's my favorite. I don't know any of his songs, but I met him when I was like 11 and he was a really nice guy :)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Danielle
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2/2/2010 5:37:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:18:43 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 2/2/2010 4:52:54 PM, theLwerd wrote:
As a side note, I think Eminem is very underrated.

Really? I think it's just about right.

I see him in almost everyone's top 10 mc's - if not top 5.

Really? I never hear him being considered in most people's top 10 let alone top 5. I think people feel that their list sounds more legit if they include old school rappers, foreign rappers and/or underground rappers -- meanwhile, I think Eminem is really talented and should be noted for his prowess.
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feverish
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2/2/2010 5:37:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 4:48:06 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Canibus would be in my top 50, but definitely not near the top.

Am I the only one who thinks LL Cool J is a terrible rapper?

lol no, and with good reason. He has been responsible for some of the whackest, watered-down, commercial love-ballad shite rap in the history of hip hop BUT...

Ask anyone over thirty who really knows hip hop, he was an incredible MC, His first tunes Can't Live Without My Radio and Rock The Bells (especially the original of the latter with the Mardi Gras/Peter Piper break) were old school fire and he continued to drop the occasional lyrical landmine in the midst of his pop pap rap like Momma Said Knock You Out and I Shot Ya.

He was also an incredible battle MC, as a kid he battled Kool Moe Dee who was a legend at the time and many thought LL took it. Much later he ripped fat chunks out of a certain gravelly voiced rapper named Canibus. (lol I'm just trying to provoke Geo now).

Also, KRS is far from the best in my eyes. He's got the old school vibe going on but his lyrics are far from stellar. Take a random KRS song like one of the first I've heard - Sound of Da Police.

That tune has a pretty simple lyrical style but it is superbly constructed to convey a detailed and impassioned message. I would debate KRS lyrics against Biggie lyrics happily.

Eh. I just think he's really overrated. His rhymes are average and he may have been a big influence in the game but just because he's one of the originals doesn't mean that people who have come after him haven't bested him (Nelly not included lol).

Nah, he's the don lol. Listen to the albums Criminal Minded, Blueprint and Return of The Boom Bap, also see him live even now. He was one of the first to rap about guns (not that that is necessarilly good, just saying) one of the first to rap about politics, he also pioneered reggae sampling and ragga hip hop and developed the album format in hip hop significantly.

As a side note, I think Eminem is very underrated.

I disagree strongly. I rate him highly but when I talk to kids about hip hop, many (and not just white kids lol) think he's the best ever, which I think is just insane.
Danielle
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2/2/2010 5:38:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:19:54 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:

Am I the only one who thinks LL Cool J is a terrible rapper?

lol, he's my favorite. I don't know any of his songs, but I met him when I was like 11 and he was a really nice guy :)

Lol, when I was little I had a huge crush on Will Smith -- He's a nice guy too but that doesn't mean I'd consider him my favorite rapper lol. Big Willie Style ftw though. That CD reminds me of a hilarious childhood phase I had... haha.
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GeoLaureate8
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2/2/2010 5:51:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
feverish is gonna make my head explode! Canibus not top 50!? He said in a song from the 90s that he could "kick a rhyme longer than your whole album." And he actually did it in 2006. Poet Laureate INFINITY and no one has tried to top that. (The Game's 300 bars ain't sh** compared to PLI).

You can name any MC and he'll destroy 'em. He already killed Rakim, Kool G Rap, Common, KRS-One, Nas, and LL. Not to mention, in a documentary, KRS said Canibus is on a whole nother level and Common actually said Canibus wrote such a ill verse in their collab, he had to go back and rewrite his rap!!
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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2/2/2010 5:53:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:37:48 PM, theLwerd wrote:
At 2/2/2010 5:18:43 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 2/2/2010 4:52:54 PM, theLwerd wrote:
As a side note, I think Eminem is very underrated.

Really? I think it's just about right.

I see him in almost everyone's top 10 mc's - if not top 5.

Really? I never hear him being considered in most people's top 10 let alone top 5. I think people feel that their list sounds more legit if they include old school rappers, foreign rappers and/or underground rappers -- meanwhile, I think Eminem is really talented and should be noted for his prowess.

Word? Clearly it must be different on opposite coasts then, lol. Because I have VERY RARELY ever heard a list of top MC's without him mentioned. It usually goes, in no particular order, "Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, Tupac, Eminem...." and then the rest differ.

Like feverish, I've come across TONS of kids who think he is the greatest rapper ever, too. I don't think he is, but he's definitely in the top 1-2%.

And, hey, I like my foreign and underground rappers! ;)
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Danielle
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2/2/2010 5:54:04 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:37:54 PM, feverish wrote:

Ask anyone over thirty who really knows hip hop, he was an incredible MC, His first tunes Can't Live Without My Radio and Rock The Bells (especially the original of the latter with the Mardi Gras/Peter Piper break) were old school fire and he continued to drop the occasional lyrical landmine in the midst of his pop pap rap like Momma Said Knock You Out and I Shot Ya.


He was also an incredible battle MC, as a kid he battled Kool Moe Dee who was a legend at the time and many thought LL took it. Much later he ripped fat chunks out of a certain gravelly voiced rapper named Canibus. (lol I'm just trying to provoke Geo now).

Lol I love MSKYO! You bring up some good points but I have to say that I think LL was a little b-tch regarding the whole Canibus situation and I liked Canibus' song better :p


That tune has a pretty simple lyrical style but it is superbly constructed to convey a detailed and impassioned message. I would debate KRS lyrics against Biggie lyrics happily.

Orly? I might take you up on that...

Nah, he's the don lol. Listen to the albums Criminal Minded, Blueprint and Return of The Boom Bap, also see him live even now. He was one of the first to rap about guns (not that that is necessarilly good, just saying) one of the first to rap about politics, he also pioneered reggae sampling and ragga hip hop and developed the album format in hip hop significantly.

As I said, just because he was the first doesn't necessarily mean that he was the best at it. I do agree though that his reggae sampling was really hot. And what do you mean by he developed album formatting? The Beatles are usually given props for that...

As a side note, I think Eminem is very underrated.

I disagree strongly. I rate him highly but when I talk to kids about hip hop, many (and not just white kids lol) think he's the best ever, which I think is just insane.

See my above post on the matter.
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Danielle
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2/2/2010 5:57:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I agree with Geo that feverish is not giving Canibus his props when they're most definitely deserved. Also, PCP, most people list their favorite rappers as Biggie, Jay Z, Tupac, Nas and KRS-One. Only kids who don't listen to rap include Eminem in their top lists. I do listen to hip hop and I still think he's top 10. By underrated, I don't mean he's not popular -- I mean many rap connoisseurs overlook him, probably for that reason alone: the fact that many people who don't know sh-t know and like Eminem and glorify him.
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GeoLaureate8
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2/2/2010 6:03:52 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Disclaimer: I may be exaggerating a bit, but I definitely think he smashed those rappers. However, I still give them their props. KRS, Kool G, Nas, Rakim, etc. are legends.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
feverish
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2/2/2010 6:12:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 5:51:51 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
feverish is gonna make my head explode! Canibus not top 50!? He said in a song from the 90s that he could "kick a rhyme longer than your whole album." And he actually did it in 2006. Poet Laureate INFINITY and no one has tried to top that. (The Game's 300 bars ain't sh** compared to PLI).

I said I was trying to provoke you he he. Seriously though, I respect and rate him but I am not a fan, longer =/= better (of course) and yes I did once make a list of my top 50 rappers (ok I am a geek) and Canibus was definitely not on it.

You can name any MC and he'll destroy 'em. He already killed Rakim, Kool G Rap, Common, KRS-One, Nas, and LL. Not to mention, in a documentary, KRS said Canibus is on a whole nother level and Common actually said Canibus wrote such a ill verse in their collab, he had to go back and rewrite his rap!!

When did he kill any of them?

At 2/2/2010 5:37:54 PM, feverish wrote:
KRS....developed the album format in hip hop significantly.

At 2/2/2010 5:54:04 PM, theLwerd wrote:
And what do you mean by he developed album formatting? The Beatles are usually given props for that...

I mean he took the rock idea of concept albums into a hip hop industry dominated by singles.
Danielle
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2/2/2010 6:20:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/2/2010 6:12:48 PM, feverish wrote:

I mean he took the rock idea of concept albums into a hip hop industry dominated by singles.

Maybe KRS was instrumental in developing some aspects of rap like the idea of concept albums (which really he didn't invent but just borrowed from rock), though I think Rakim was more influential in terms of defining and enveloping the hip-hop culture in his music. I do think that KRS is among the best, just not THE best. I dunno what it is about him that has just struck me as being overrated for whatever reason. I'll have to listen to him sometime soon and get back to you :p
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popculturepooka
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2/2/2010 6:31:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Lol, consider my mind blown, L. I've never had the experience of what you are talking about from rap connoisseurs with Em and him being underrated. Interesting.

Feverish, you actually wrote a list of your top 50? Awesome.

I like Canibus but there is only so much I can take of his voice. Him and Talib Kweli. Talib is my dude but his voice is....off to me.
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LeafRod
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2/6/2010 5:05:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Canibus just kind of bothers me. Even his lyrics can be cool in terms of rhymes but they feel a bit too out there (maybe why Geo likes them) and even repetitive. I checked out his song with Common and I preferred all of Common's stuff. His verses seemed more... I dunno. If I were writing both sets of lyrics I'd be more proud with Common's, because they seem more viscerally interesting.