October 26, 2013 at 3:33pm
Claim of Thrones-
“I heard the barbershops be in great debates all the time
Bout who’s the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas
Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y’all
New niggas just new niggas, don’t get involved
I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ with
But this is hip-hop and them niggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you niggas
Trying to make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas
They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas
What is competition? I’m trying to raise the bar high
Who tryna jump and get it? You’re better off trying to skydive
Out the exit window of 5 G5’s with 5 grand
With your granddad as the pilot he drunk as fuck trying land
With the hand full of arthritis and popping prosthetic leg
Bumpin Pac in the cockpit so the shit that pops in his head
Is an option of violence, someone heard the stewardess said
That your parachute is a latex condom hooked to a dread…”
-Kendrick Lamar excerpt from the song “Control”
Do you know that rap music has a lineage that’s written in stone as a map for success? (…What?) Ok. Let’s flip to the rap scene. Now it isn’t a shocker that pre-Napster rap was actually a more lyrical and artistic form of expression in comparison to today’s standards. Albums really took time to craft and perfect before ever seeing a sales shelf. Remember when you used to go into a music store and you would see the new release section with the new UGK, the new Outkast, the new Jay-Z, new DMX, new Too-Short, new Scarface, new Eminem CD on sale and on the same day. And I know you remember actually being conflicted with what you were going to buy that day. The competition was everywhere even though it didn’t seem like it at the time. Now you check for a few artists a year, and the rest are just word of mouth “MC’s”. Then “MC’s” are so sensitive now that they’d feel more secure in their careers and feelings if they can make records with everybody in the game that’s popular or else they can’t come over to play at their club parties. Today’s “MC” have been more like today’s NBA star, just putting out sub-par lyrics or taking flops to protect their Labels/Organizations investments. But by hiding behind trending twitter phrases and often distracting visuals, they’ve allowed an MC that shares those same sentiments to be the first to step in the cypher and bomb first with a passion for lyricism not seen since “Dedication 2” (still waiting to see ONE of the O’Bannons). When I first heard Kendrick Lamar spit, back in 2009, I knew he had a rare quality to his presence. But now I’ve realized that it’s much deeper than that. I have a unique theory, and hip hop heads prepare to be mind f***ed. (Razzle dazzle!) Meek Mills was right. (You just lost me.) There are indeed, levels to this shit. In fact there are levels of the craft that must be mastered in order to achieve levels of success and longevity in rap/hip-hop. In fact, there are successful MC’s that carry most these traits that are usually their lyrical lineage well into their respectable careers, while those with less traits fall by the wayside. The lineage begins with 5 of the original trendsetting lyricists and artist of all time:
AfrikkaBambatta – The Art of Noise: crafted his own sounds and vision into original music, influencing pop culture.
Kool G. Rap – The Art of Street Life: crafted his own street life into original music, influencing pop culture.
Big Daddy Kane – The Art of Swag: crafted his own fashion and showmanship into original music, influencing pop culture.
Slick Rick- The Art of Storytelling: crafted his own gift of spinning tales into original music, influencing pop culture.
Rakim – The Art of Lyricism: crafted his own gift of using syllables and metaphors on his delivery into original music, influencing pop culture.
That’s it. The five original kingpins of the ink pen are right there and since their arrival, all artists have adopted their crafts in order to have longevity in the rap game. Don’t believe me? Let’s start with the most successful rapper of all time, Jay-Z. An MC that spun tales of his street life, while changing fashion trends and as for his lyrical delivery… well, he did master the triple entendre. That’s four out of five, so you can see the pattern in this. Now for the sake of time, let’s look at Gucci Mane. (Why?) Just work with me! He speaks mostly on his street life, so that’s one. He’s not a producer of innovative sounds (Burr doesn’t count?) Nope. I would give him the swag factor but I don’t see too many people lining up to get an ice cream tat on their faces after he did it. His lyrics… HAHAHAHAHA. (HAHAHAHA!! That’s funny!) Storytelling is a no unless it’s on twitter, so he finishes with one out of five. That shows in his presence as an MC in the game… He has none. Use this table to measure your favorite MC by their actual skill. I bet you any MC with at least three out of five of these skills mastered will see over 10 years of longevity and success in the rap game. Those underneath… Expect five years or less, tops. Right now, Kendrick, Sean, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Tyler, Electronica, Big Krit, J. Cole and Pusha T are sitting at a three out of five and still swinging for the fences. If any of them pick up a fourth, consider them some of the next icons of the rap game. (Wow… You actually surprised me on that one.) Thanks, ya sissyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyah!!!
- Where is New York?: NYC’s Deteriorating Rap Scene (hghrgrnd.com)
- Watch Pt. 3 of Eminem’s Interview with Zane Lowe (complex.com)
- Eminem’s homophobic ‘Rap God’ lyrics: Still getting away with it? (music-mix.ew.com)
- The 10 Best Songs We Never Would Have Heard if Jay Z Really Retired 10 Years Ago (allhiphop.com)
- Rap and Fashion (jordynsequeira.wordpress.com)
- Humpback Hov Releases Statement Clapping Back At Claims That He’s Choosing Paper Over Politics In Barneys Racial Profiling Scandal! (bossip.com)
- Jay Z’s Barneys Collection Unveiled: Clothing for the 1 Percent (theroot.com)
- Eminem Embraces Hip-Hop History in ‘Rap God’ (rollingstone.com)
- Eminem’s ‘Rap God’ video is part ‘Portal,’ part Max Headroom (theverge.com)