Hip Hop Since 1978

“When I first started to spell, my words fell into rhyme/ turned into song, everything else fell into line/” Talib Kweli on NY Weather Report. 

I write this post today due to the 100 or so mofos that I come in contact with on a daily basis who keep trying to convince me that the likes of Lil’ Wayne are ill MCs and also due to a comment by a fellow blogger asking me what defines a dope emcee. 

Since back in the early 70s as hip hop was born, the main elements that defined a ill MC was the lyrics and his flow. The combination of both is a rarity as we will always have a dude with lyrics but no flow ala Tupac or a dude with mad flow but weak lyrics ala Jay Z. 

Secondary to the lyrics and flow is the swagger, which surprisingly to me in the 21st Century this seems to be more important to the shorties! I mean look at Jeezy, Ross and Weezy, they got the swagger down to a T but they suffer lyrically. Ross has no flow at all, Jeezy has mad punchlines but his delivery leaves a lot to be desired. Wayne has a dope flow but wack lyrics and no substance in his rhymes. 

The next element about an MC that is even higher ranked than the swagger is to have some substance in your lyrics, I do not have a problem with gangsta rappers but if you are just going to be spitting about the thug life without offering to me both the good and the bad then you ain’t making no fuckin sense. Ice Cube on his albums Death Certificate and Amerikkka’s Most Wanted is a good example of a gangsta rapper who gave tales of the hood and told us how gang life was a necessary yet avoidable evil plus ways to get out and counter it. Ross on the Port of Miami only offers the prayer and in most cases on the album glorifies moving cocaina. 

Some Mc’s are so great they come in and change the game, I can think of 2 right now, feel free to enlighten me. Rakim came in the game and changed how niggaz wrote their rhymes, he made it more complex and also introduced the in rhyme. The other was KRS ONE, he made battles go from just being able to move the crowd to love you to crushing your opponent lyrically, to belittle his flow, lyrics and mannerisms to the point that he was a joke, check the battle with MC Shan. Kool Moe Dee had done the same with Busy Bee earlier but KRS made it too cool. 

These are the qualities of an ill MC and that is why my list of the top whatever will always be different from whose hot or who is in the billboard top 10. MC Hammer sold mad records that doesn’t make him a dope MC, Nonini makes mad dough off his shows but that doesn’t make him a dope MC.

Let me offer my own bars for the closing coz I quote too many mothafuckaz might as well quote myself “In a world full of lies I bring you truth/ Every artist ain’t good just coz he sways the youth/ just coz majority’s for it, it doesn’t mean that it’s right/ look at the parliament you elected and tell me that I ain’t lied/ You so naive it’s like thinkin, that Kibaki gave up drinkin/ And I gave up rhymin, while I been writin since the Fu Shnikens/”



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