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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:42 pm 
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One byproduct of too much of hip hop's history and legacy being broadcast by entities that are controlled by rock fans is that too many hip hop artists are overpraised for what they've done to bring hip hop to 'rock' audiences. Another unfortunate byproduct is that hip hop artists' direct contributions to hip hop (independently over other genres i.e. 'rock') get downplayed by these same entities.

Run DMC are FAR more than just 'some rap group that blended rock' with hip hop. That isn't even their most widespread and influential place of impact on popular music. They INVENTED hardcore hip hop. Everything that became associated with 80s street hip hop (hard-hitting, minimalist beats, an emphasis on bass, aggressive, almost-confrontational lyrics, and a look that was a direct reflection of what was stylish on the streets) came from Run DMC. That's why they're #1 (along with the fact that their first four albums are great.)

Become familiar with what hip hop was musically before Run-DMC and you can hear/see the obvious shift that they spearheaded. They completely reinvented the genre. And the sound/look that they pioneered influenced the next two decades of hip hop.

That's why "It's Like That" is such a hugely important song--it was the first shot fired from hip-hop's second, and most influential, generation. The song that announced the forthcoming 'Golden Age' of hip hop. It was their first single and the song that announced the end of hip hop's early era. The disco-and-funk influenced production, the glittery-glammed outfits, and the smiling faces were about to be relics.

They cast the largest shadow over the entire genre.


Oh and yeah, they used some big, loud guitars and stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:44 pm 
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I Bro made this thread to avoid your posts..... Huh. :snacks:


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:48 pm 
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To avoid my posts? Really? LOL


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:52 pm 
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Chris F. and I helped launch the hip hop lists on this site. Back then, there were only rock lists. Tough Critic put up some lists, too. Back then, cats seemed to enjoy going back and forth about the lists. And seems like a lot of this stuff went unchanged for months/years. I don't get it. I don't think I've been an asshole in my responses. I'm a writer so I may over-elaborate--but I like to be clear on why I do/think/say what I do


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:54 pm 
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420 Bro wrote:
Yeah I guess, I just don't see his list as being the 'end all' for tiers. Personally, Rakim more than anyone was probably the first virtuoso MC and freestyler, and it radically changed hip-hop more than some band that fused it with rock. Public Enemy did that better later. And N.W.A. weren't the first gangster rappers (BDP, Schooly D), but they were the most revolutionary and the most insightful perhaps with also the best charisma easily. They're both greater imo, and I think everyone should have a chance to voice why they think who should be above who with a proper list. Then we can get that list together and work out the changes from there.


My suggestion for criteria for your greatness list:
Popularity - Album sales, chart positions
Influence - How an artist changed hip hop musically
Impact - How an artist changed hip hop culturally
Critical Acclaim - How well an artist is received by critics/fans
Skill - Lyrics, beats


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Those are pretty much the criteria I use (doesn't EVERYone?)

I basically look at 'quality' as 'the strength of their discography.' Pretty straightforward. To avoid it being just my personal estimation of their disco's 'strength,' I look at 'critical acclaim,' and what I consider to be 'resonance.' I've written abt hip hop for over ten years and followed the genre since the 80s; I actually remember 90% of this stuff as it happened; so I try to consider the resonance at the time and the ongoing resonance when looking at influence and impact. I also focus on HIP HOP music and culture. I acknowledge the importance of crossing over, but I don't turn it into the end-all, be-all.

Which brings me to sales/chart positions. This is something that obviously has to be considered; but it's tricky when dealing with hip hop. Of course it's a factor, but so many MAJOR figures in hip hop music/culture had moderate-to-poor sales. So sales, is to a large degree, the bottom of the totem pole in my estimation of overall 'greatness.'

Art isn't math; but if I wanted to concisely break down my method, its: discography greatness/acclaim + impact on hip hop music/culture + influence on other hip hop artists directly + commercial success


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:15 pm 
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The individual rappers' 'skills' are considered, but aren't the determining factor for me as far as 'hip hop artists' greatness goes. I started the 'Greatest Lyricists/MCs' list so that there would be a clear line drawn. The Greatest Hip Hop Artists List is indicative of how great the act's overall art is; meaning--how strong is the music they made? If they're not great rhymers, do they have a strong artistic vision and a strong discography and a huge impact? Cuz there are plenty of great hip hop artists who might not be super-lyricists. Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, 2Pac, ATCQ are all iconic hip hop artists, but we could find stronger emcees out there.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:23 pm 
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2Pac doesn't fit there, at all thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:23 pm 
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FYI:
The only people that love 2Pac's "Changes" are people that are too young to have listened to him when he was alive. That song is a cheesy shell of better 2Pac songs laced with a generic 80s sample so that labelheads could continue to milk a genius' corpse. His lyrics are recycled from earlier songs. The man made much strong material when he was breathing. "Shed So Many Tears" was earth-shattering in hip hop circles for it's sheer emotion, "Keep Your Head Up" and "Dear Mama," "I Ain't Mad Atcha" were all among his most celebrated singles. "California Love" was just his biggest pop hit--but among hip hop fans, he was already a legendary figure before that song dropped; and it's not the song that is considered by his definitive masterpiece at ALL.

"California Love" and ESPECIALLY "Changes" are overly-celebrated by younger fans, non-Americans, and/or by those who ignored his work before he was signed to Death Row.

I referred to "Juicy" as 'hip hop's national anthem' in an earlier post. What I meant was; there is no hip hop head that does not KNOW the first lines of this song. It's ingrained in the culture's DNA. Even if ur not a Biggie fan; if ur under 40 and don't know what comes after the line "It was all a dream!" it's like u don't know hip hop.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:26 pm 
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There are plenty of other great rappers I could name that weren't super-rhymers. 2Pac was one of many. If you listen to Run post-1988 and Pac's stuff--they're not that far apart skill-wise. Run's rhymes improved dramatically over his first two years in Run DMC (DMC's didn't so much) and Q-Tip is quite a clever rapper who's put together some really dope rhymes as his career has progressed. He went from being the guy with the goofy quirky jokes in his early days to actually developing more skill and dexterity on the mic post-1996.

So yeah, Pac deserves to be there. And that's no diss.

True story.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:37 pm 
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One of the reasons no pre-Run DMC hip hop acts were in my top ten was because so many of the early hip hoppers careers were singles-oriented (albums were generally tossed off with lots of filler) and the pinnacle of so many of their careers were insanely brief. But they have tons of influence and impact and there are tons of great singles from that era (some well-known like 'The Message' and some not so well-known like The Funky Four+1's "Feel It") that have been rehashed by hip hop artists so much younger fans may not know where they originally came from. That's not to say there weren't some great albums here and there by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa and Mantronix; but there wasn't the same level of consistency in approach that came later. But their impact/influence is undeniable. And their music was great.

Nas dropped outta my top ten bcuz of his artistic missteps, but he was still close. He re-defined the standard for East Coast lyricism in 1993-1994; when the first wave of monster rhymes (Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, KRS, Kool G Rap) were either going into decline (for various reasons) or pursuing strictly underground sensibilities. Popular east coast hip hop was being dominated by quirky, Native Tongues-inspired alt-rap in those days (from 1991-1993/4) and Nas brought the New York street E.M.C.E.E. back to prominence.

Big Daddy Kane is hugely influential and one of the best rhymers to ever do it (if you've never heard "Set It Off," "Raw," "Wrath of Kane," "Warm It Up, Kane," "Nuff Respect Due," u need to get familiar) but his greatness as artist is REALLY limited to his first and second albums only. That means his artistic peak was basically about 18 months. After that, he started making sappy R&B-crossover tunes and posing naked in magazines.

I mentioned why the Beasties dropped on my list. Great discography, not enough influence on hip hop-specifically (especially not their post-1990 stuff.) Hugely influential on alternative music like Beck, the Butthole Surfers and Cibo Matto tho and very important with, again--a great discography.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:59 pm 
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420 Bro, I PM'd you my greatest list, but I'll post it here too:

1. Run D.M.C
2. Public Enemy
3. 2Pac
4. Notorious B.I.G
5. N.W.A
6. Jay-Z
7. Eric B & Rakim
8. LL Cool J
9. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
10. Nas
11. Outkast
12. Wu-Tang Clan
13. A Tribe Called Quest
14. Dr. Dre
15. Beastie Boys
16. Eminem
17. De La Soul
18. Afrika Bambaataa
19. Boogie Down Productions
20. Snoop Dogg


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:29 am 
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stereowilliams, why the hell are you in this thread? You don't represent DDD's opinions, so please be a kind sir and either shut up or post a list of your favorite rappers.


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:34 am 
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1. Run D.M.C.
2. Erik B. & Rakim
3. 2pac
4. N.W.A
5. Public Enemy
6. Notorious B.I.G.
7. Jay-Z
8. Wu-Tang Clan
9. De La Soul
10. Jay-Z
11. Outkast
12. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
13. The Beastie Boys
14. A Tribe Called Quest
15. Eminem
16. Boogie Down Productions
17. Snoop Dogg
18. Afrika Bambaataa
19. Dr. Dre
20. LL Cool J


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 Post subject: Re: DDD's Greatest Rap/Hip-Hop Artists
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:48 am 
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wait. is this going to be a collection of our attempts at an objective list or is it are subjective favorites? i think it should be the latter if it already isnt. Just confused cause ive seen post kinds of lists posted.


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