The Top 5 is Still Alive

So I wrote that BIG and Pac are NOT The greatest of all time NOR are they in the Top 5…AND that the Top 5 are STILL alive and over 30 (Shiddddd The top 3 is 40 and up)
The Whole LIST is almost 40

What does it take to be labeled the GREATEST of ALL TIME (in my eyes?)

Now this is my criteria

  • Classic Album (Gotta have at least 1)
  • Classic Songs (Gotta have at least 5)
  • Memorable verses (gotta have at least 2)
  • Lyrical Skill…can rhyme with NO beat and it’s still hot
  • Lyrical Content…Has to have the ability to rhyme about something…not just the latest whatever is out drink, bitches, cars
  • Storytelling Foundation of Hip Hop is to be able to tell a story and make it hot and visual

…Who would they be? Okie Dokie…


1. Rakim (44)

Classic Album: Paid in Full (Arguably THE greatest Hip Hop release ever)

Classic Songs: Paid in Full, Microphone Fiend, My Melody, Eric B is President, Know the Ledge, Mahogany

Memorable Verses:
“I’ll take 7 MC’s put em in a line
and add 7 more brothers that think they can rhyme,
and it’ll take 7 more before I go for mine…
and that’s 21 MC’s ate up at the same time.

“I start to think and then I sink into the paper, like I was ink
when I’m writing I’m trapped in between the lines…
I escape when I finish the rhyme”

Lyrical Skill: Paid in full was over almost no beat…his words make you wait for the next

Lyrical Content: From Know the Ledge (Knowledge) from Juice to The Ghetto, to getting ill on “The Punisher”…what else?

Storytelling: Mahogany…nuff said.

eclectik commentary:

The God emcee, there’s really not much you can say about him…he’s the Walter Payton of Rap; he came in changed the game forever
Lyrically to this day he’d body any one on the Mic, he’s been on songs with Nas, Kool G, Em…and no one out shined him
Nas even dedicated a whole song to him on Streets Disciple (U.B.R)

NBA Equivilant: Jordan
NFL Equivilant: Walter Payton


2. LL Cool J (44)

Classic Album: Bigger and Deffer (BAD)

Classic Songs: BAD, I can’t live without my radio; I need Love, Big Ole Butt, Around the way girl

Memorable Verses:
“Mcs they retreat cause they know I can beat em
And eat em in a battle and the ref won’t cheat em
I’m the best takin out all rookies…
So forget oreos eat cool j cookies”

“I want a girl with extensions in her hair…Bamboo earrings at least 2 pair”

Lyrical Skill: He’s eaten Many an emcee in a battle

Lyrical Content: Hip Hop’s first ill Love song to Mama said knock you out

Storytelling: Big Ole Butt, The Do Wop is one of the most underrated GREATEST Hip Hop Story songs ever

eclectik commentary:

In my opinion LL has the BEST argument for being called the G.O.A.T #1
Ladies Love ran through all comers: Kool Moe Dee, Ice T, Hammer, Canibus, Made I need Love, The Women love him, Fellas think he’s cool… He has classic on top of classics
Movies, TV Shows, Each release he has AT LEAST One Hit on it

NBA Equivilant: Isaah Thomas
NFL Equivilant: Barry Sanders


3. KRS One (47)

Classic Album: Criminal Minded (Arguably the other greatest Hip Hop release ever)

Classic Songs: Criminal Minded, South Bronx, The Bridge is over, My Philosophy, Love’s gonna getcha

Memorable Verses:

“Manhattan keeps on makin it,
Brooklyn keeps on takin it,
Bronx keeps creatin it,
and Queens keeps on Fakin it!”

“Girls look soo good,
but their brains aren’t ready I don’t knooow;
I rather talk to a woooman cuz their minds are so steady so here we Goooo”

Lyrical Skill: He Sonn’d people before  LL did…classic battle; one man took on All of Queens and shut it down

Lyrical Content: Come on…he’s the Teacher AND made Criminal Minded….peep You must learn, I learned a ton just off that song alone.

Storytelling: Loves gonna getcha, The remix for P is free…it goes on.
…dont forget SELF DESTRUCTION!

eclectik commentary:

KRS is probably all around the greatest ever from: Lyrics, delivery, stage performance, content, and impact…he and Rakim were like the Lakers and the Celtics
LL was like The Pistons; KRS led the Stop The Violence movement and actually taught through song and lyrics…along with dismantling Sucker Emcees
(And he threw Prince B from PM Dawn OFF the stage)

NBA Equivilant: Magic Johnson
NFL Equivilant: Emmitt Smith


4. Nas (39)

Classic Album: Illmatic

Classic Songs: It aint hard to tell, If I ruled the World, I gave you power, One Love, Life’s a Bitch

Memorable Verses:

“Deep like The Shinin’, sparkle like a diamond,
Sneak an uzi on the island in my army jacket linin,
Hit the Earth like a comet, invasion,
Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian, half-man, half-amazin”

“Feel the wind breeze in West Indies,
I make Coretta Scott-King mayor the cities and reverse themes to Willies,
It sounds foul but every girl I meet to go downtown,
I’d open every cell in Attica send em to Africa”

Lyrical Skill: The entire illmatic CD,Every song that came out in the 90s that he made/was featured on was a must listen…beat didn’t matter.

Lyrical Content: He did a story backwards…he ethered Jay, Did the Song I can…can rhyme about anything

Storytelling: I gave you power…nuff said.

eclectik commentary:
Nas is basically Rakim for the newer generation; problem is they don’t appreciate him…lyrically he’s either #2 or #3 all time
(You’d be surprised at who I’d put there at the other spot) Illmatic is a certified classic from beginning to end, the only other albums on this top 5 that could be considered that are: Paid in Full and Criminal Minded
I admit he kinda lost me in-between Nastradumas and I am…but the lyrical skill is forever ill.

NBA Equivilant: Iverson
NFL Equivilant: Marshall Faulk

Seriously though HE said:

Sentence begins indented, with formality
My duration’s infinite, money-wise or physiology
Poetry, that’s a part of me, retardedly bop
I drop the ancient manifested hip-hop, straight off the block
I reminisce on park jams, my man was shot for his sheep coat
Childhood lesson made me see him drop in my weed smoke


5. Jay-Z (42)

Classic Album: Reasonable Doubt

Classic Songs: Politics as usual, Aint No.., Streets is watching, dead Presidents, Hard Knock Life

Memorable Verses:

“Divine intervention Can’t stop I, from drinkin Mai-Tai’s,
with Ta Ta Down in Nevada, ha ha, Poppa,
I dabbled in crazy weight without rap,
I was crazy straight…Potnah, I’m still spendin money from eighty-eight”

“While y’all pump Willie, I run up in stunts silly
Scared, so you sent your little mans to come kill me
But on the contrilli, I packs the mack-milli
Squeezed off on him, left them paramedics breathin soft on him”

Lyrical Skill: The First two CDs showed he had the skill the word play with BIG and the imagery of Reasonable doubt.
Lyrical Content: He makes party songs, Songs for the streets, and songs for the ladies

Storytelling: You must love me, Regrets

eclectik commentary:

Personally I feel this is the weakest of the top 5 (Thus being 5) He’s become a horrible shell of his former self and in my opinion hasn’t made a complete “Decent” CD since The Blueprint (The Black Album was garbage)
As far as my criteria he kinda falls short on the storytelling too BUT I cannot deny the hits, the wordplay, and the influence
Even if he was a BIG Dick rider and his rhyme game is next to wack these days.

NBA Equivilant: Karl Malone
NFL Equivilant: Jerome Bettis

Of course people will disagree…and that’s fine
But when you do, come with some actual factual a decent argument…call me crazy but:

BIG he only had 2 CDs…It’s not my fault.
Ready to die is a modern day classic…but it wasn’t even the best CD to come out that year
(Illmatic, Dare iz a Darkside and Tical also came out in 94) He had the potential to be one of the greats…but the 2 CDs (especially Life after death) doesn’t hold up

Pac didn’t have the lyrical skill…the songs he has a couple of classics but nothing that stacks up to these 5
The wordplay and the criteria just doesn’t match up for me

I understand people love Andre 3000 and that is fine but I cannot Top 5 or Top 10 a emcee who’s never had a solo album, group is a different thing and I believe lyrically I can name 10 I’d rather roll with

Ice Cube is definitely in the next 5, cannot deny his skill and place in Hip Hop
I wont even broach the Lil Wayne topic….Kanye would Body Wayne.

Case Against:

People will say that LL has fallen off, or isn’t as dope as he was in the Golden Era
I agree he isn’t the same and released some subpar albums, but he’s still making a hit or two here and there as well
And you cannot make that argument against LL and not say the same thing for everyone else on the list, Rakim and KRS havent blown up the world in the last decade either … BUT body of work you cannot deny any of them.

Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap (Both HOF on this site), Redman, Ghost … all dope too but I believe the 5 up top there at their very best shine a little brighter and has more CLASSIC singles than anyone else and fit the criteria I put up there

I’m only mentioning that the best emcees are over 40 years old or damn close … Hip Hop is eternal.

If need be I’ll do another post with the rest of my top 10 if anyone is interested.

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  • zach

    the last emperor, one be lo, and canibus far exceed anyone on this list…………. I would argue non of them are top 5 , although at one moment in time they “may” have been.

  • RayyLive

    I don’t see how Big Daddy Kane didn’t make this list!

  • bobby

    Nice list and I mostly agree however I would drop Jay and LL from the list in exchange for Scarface at spot #5 and Cube at Spot #3…It seems as though Cube is a close call for you so I don’t think I need to list the reasons why I think he’s one of the GOATs but criteria for ‘Face;

    -Classic Album (Gotta have at least 1) – Mr Scarface is Back, The Diary (He’s never had a wack album)

    -Classic Songs (Gotta have at least 5) – Hand of the Dead Body, I Seen a Man Die, My Block, Mr Scarface, No Tears

    -Memorable verses (gotta have at least 2)
    “Screaming for vengeance I swear that I meant this descended
    Surrender suspended cause, niggas, I meant it
    Calm like an Islamic brother from the Nation
    Still got the mind of a motherfuckin mental patient”

    “Lookin for the nigga who pulled his pistol on my homie
    An eye for an eye, so now your life is what you owe me
    Look deep into the eyes of your muthafuckin killer
    I want you to witness your muthafuckin murder, nigga”

    Some may argue the merits of Face’s lyrical skill, but I have always thought that songs showcasing his lyrical ability were often overlooked for what most listeners (even myself) really wanted to hear, which brings me to what I feel is his best asset and thats his story telling. In my opinion Scarface is unmatched in the category of storytelling, his tales dripped with atmosphere and rivalled the beast hollywood has to offer. All this with consistency, he has never dropped a wack album, almost thirty years later and he still brings the fire.