Who are the Top 5 Rappers of All Time? Orange Mixtapes Weigh In.

Who’s the GOAT?

I had a friend send me an informative video on “arguably” the greatest rapper of all time. It made me take a step back and think about my top 5 and why they the top 5? What is their importance to hip-hop? What is their importance to the culture? What is their top 5 status and why?

Well, this article will answer the question of who  are the top 5 rappers as of right now and why they are listed the way they are.

Honorable Mentions (Why Not Top 5): Jay Z (Topic Choice), Nas (Inconsistent), Ice Cube (Inconsistent), Eminem (Inconsistent/Gimmicky/Pop Driven), Lil Wayne (Inconsistent/Overuse of Similes).

 

5. Rakim

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If you are EVER reading a list and Rakim is not in the top 5-10, STOP READING it IMMEDIATELY. This is the Godfather of modern hip-hop. There’s a part of all of your favorite rappers that came from Rakim. He’s the bridge between the old school Kurtis Blow(s) and, at the time, new school Biggie(s). His monumental record “Paid In Full,” showed rappers that you can change your flow, technique, scheme, and still get your point across. His streetwise words of wisdom are the blueprint for rap today. Give respect where it’s due.

Here’s the groundbreaking verse from Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid In Full”

 

‘Thinkin of a master plan

’cause ain’t nuthin but sweat inside my hand

So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent

So I dig deeper but still comin up with lint

So I start my mission- leave my residence

Thinkin how could I get some dead presidents

I need money, I used to be a stick-up kid

So I think of all the devious things I did

I used to roll up, this is a hold up, ain’t nuthin funny

Stop smiling, be still, don’t nuthin move but the money

But now I learned to earn ’cause I’m righteous

I feel great! so maybe I might just

Search for a 9 to 5, if I strive

Then maybe I’ll stay alive

So I walk up the street whistlin this

Feelin out of place ’cause, man, do I miss

A pen and a paper, a stereo, a tape of

Me and Eric be , and a nice big plate of

Fish, which is my favorite dish

But without no money it’s still a wish

’cause I don’t like to dream about gettin paid

So I dig into the books of the rhymes that I made

To now test to see if I got pull

Hit the studio, ’cause I’m paid in full’

 

4. Notorious B.I.G.

biggie

It’s almost impossible to break up Tupac/Biggie on a list. It is almost just as hard not to have them tied for 1/2 or to have them listen as 1 or 2 respectively. This is one of those times. While I can say they may have been higher with a more extensive body of work, their lives were cut short and that could not happen.

Legendary tracks and legendary freestyles. Biggie showed what it meant to be an MC and it showed in all of his catalog. With a demanding character and a bombing voice, Biggie was a force to be reckoned with. He had a knack for telling stories that made you visualize the happening (i.e. “Ready to Die.”) With a career spanning 3 years, we got hip-hop staples like “Juicy”, “Big Poppa”, “One More Chance”, “Hypnotize”, “Mo Money Mo Problems”, and “Sky’s The Limit.” It’s hard for some artist to get that many hits in their entire career, let alone within 3 years. Sadly, Biggie was taken from us too soon. RIP.

Check out B.I.G’s monster verse on Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)”

 

“Uhhhhhh,

Uhhhhhh,

Niggas is mad I get more butt than ash trays,

Fuck a fair one I get mines the fast way,

The ski mask way,

Uhh,

Ransom notes,

Far from handsome…but damn a nigga tote,

(What ya’ tote)

more guns than roses,

Foes is,

shaking in their boots,

Invisible bullies like The Gooch,

Disappear…vamoose…you’re wack to me,

Take them rhymes back to the factory,

I see,

The gimmicks…the wack lyrics,

The shit is depressing…pathetic…please forget it,

You’re mad cause my style you’re admiring,

Don’t be mad…UPS is hiring,

You shoulda been a cop…fuck hip-hop,

With that freestyle you’re bound to get shot,

Not from Houston but I rap-a-lot,

Pack the gat a lot,

The flav’s bout to drop uhh”

 

3. Tupac

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As said before it’s tough to not have Tupac tied with Biggie. I’m really splitting hairs here, but it comes down to making socially conscious songs that gives Tupac the edge. Let’s be honest, Tupac was literally crazy and it could be heard in his music. At one time, he’s telling us of his promiscuous natures in “I Get Around.” Next, we have him telling us a heartfelt tale in “Brenda’s Got A Baby.” It’s this type of range, coupled with lyricism, that puts him on this list and higher than Biggie. He would threaten everyone with violence, take a bullet, and then release music that could not be rivaled. It was a gift. Never have we had another rap artist that could act as a chameleon through different topics and flows. An artist that can hype the crowd and empower the people at the same time. Sadly, we will never get to see his ceiling. RIP.

Check out one of Tupac’s greatest verses from “Keep Ya Head Up”

 

“Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice

I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots

I give a holla to my sisters on welfare

2Pac cares, if don’t nobody else care

And, I know they like to beat you down a lot

When you come around the block, brothers clown a lot

But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up

Forgive but don’t forget, girl, keep your head up

And when he tells you you ain’t nothin’, don’t believe him

And if he can’t learn to love you, you should leave him

Cause sister, you don’t need him

And I ain’t tryin’ to gas ya up, I just call ’em how I see ’em

You know what makes me unhappy

When brothers make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy

And since we all came from a woman

Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman

I wonder why we take from our women

Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?

I think it’s time to kill for our women

Time to heal our women, be real to our women

And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies

That will hate the ladies that make the babies

And since a man can’t make one

He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one

So will the real men get up

I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up”

 

2. Kendrick Lamar 

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I’m going to preface this ranking by saying, IF Kendrick drops another classic album, he will be the GOAT. No questions asked, no debate.

Can you name a rapper that actually got other rappers to respond to a verse… because they were not named (Control Verse)? Can you name a rapper with a Harvard archived album (To Pimp A Butterfly)? Can you name another “Artist” that has a greater than 90% aggregated score on there first 3 studio albums (Section 80, Good Kid Maad City, To Pimp A Butterfly)?

If you can name another rapper with all of these, please tell me and I will add them to this list. These reasons along with K. Dot’s lyrical prowess and social consciousness are the reasons he’s regarded as the GOAT in many rap circles.

Take a look at one of the greatest verses K.Dot has given below on Big Sean’s “Control”

 

“Tell Flex to drop a bomb on this shit

So many bombs, ring the alarm like Vietnam in this shit

So many bombs, make Farrakhan think Saddam in this bitch

One at a time, I line ’em up and bomb on they mom while she watchin’ the kids

I’m in a destruction mode if the gold exists

I’m important like the pope, I’m a muslim on pork

I’m Makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York

King of the Coast, one hand, I juggle them both

The juggernaut’s all in your jugular, you take me for jokes

Live in the basement, church pews and funeral faces

Cartier bracelets for my women friends I’m in Vegas

Who the fuck y’all thought it’s supposed to be?

If Phil Jackson came back, still no coachin’ me

I’m uncoachable, I’m unsociable

Fuck y’all clubs, fuck y’all pictures, your Instagram can gobble these nuts

Gobble dick up ’til you hiccup, my big homie Kurupt

This the same flow that put the rap game on a crutch

I’ve seen niggas transform like villain Decepticons

Mollies’ll prolly turn these niggas to fuckin’ Lindsay Lohan

A bunch of rich ass white girls lookin’ for parties

Playin with Barbies, wreck the Porsche before you give ’em the car key

Judgement to the monarchy, blessings to Paul McCartney

You called me a black Beatle, I’m either that or a Marley

(I don’t smoke crack motherfucker I sell it)

I’m dressed in all black, this is not for the fan of Elvis

I’m aimin’ straight for your pelvis, you can’t stomach me

You plan on stumpin’ me? Bitch I’ve been jumped before you put a gun on me

Bitch I put one on yours, I’m Sean Connery

James Bonding with none of you niggas, climbing 100 mil in front of me

And I’m gonna get it even if you’re in the way

And if you’re in it, better run for Pete’s sake

I heard the barbershops spittin’ 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

And I ain’t rockin no more designer shit

White T’s and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes anonymous

I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ wit

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

Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas

They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas

What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high

Who tryna jump and get it? You better off tryna skydive

Out the exit window of 5 G5’s with 5 grand

With your granddad as the pilot he drunk as fuck tryna 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”

 

1.Andre 3000 

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There’s always the argument that 3 Stacks does not have the solo album to back up his claim to fame, but that does not matter. Andre has dominated every feature, album, and single that he has ever touched. Also, he is the most consistent. That’s what stands out to me above anyone else on this list. There has never been a time that someone has said Andre has fallen off or that someone had to carry him through a track. With a career ranging from 1991 – present, it tough to find a fault in the flow or delivery. Rather it’s been while he was wearing baseball jerseys, odd fluffy pants, or old school prep school sweaters, Andre 3000 has always given you verses that made you rewind them and mutter WTF did I just hear.  Who else has done more for the game of hip-hop than Andre?  He legitimately paved the way for rappers to be what they want to be and do what they want to do.

For instance, “arguably” one of the greatest verses of all time was given by 3 Stacks on UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem”

 

“So, I typed a text to a girl I used to see
Saying that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be

And I apologize if this message gets you down

Then I CC’ed every girl that I’d see-seed ’round town

And hate to see y’all frown but I’d rather see her smilin’

Wetness all around me, true, but I’m no island

Peninsula maybe, it makes no sense, I know crazy

Give up all this pussy cat that’s in my lap, no looking back

Spaceships don’t come equipped with rear view mirrors

They dip as quick as they can, the atmosphere is now ripped

I’m so like a pimp, I’m glad it’s night

So the light from the sun would not burn me on my bum

When I shoot the moon, high jump the broom

Like a preemie out the womb, my partner yelling, “Too soon

Don’t do it! Reconsider, read some liter-
-ature on the subject. You sure? Fuck it

You know we got your back like chiroprac-tic

If that bitch do you dirty we’ll wipe her ass out in some detergent

Now hurry, hurry, go on to the altar

I know you ain’t a pimp, but pimp remember what I taught ya:

Keep your heart, Three Stacks, keep your heart

Hey keep your heart, Three Stacks, keep your heart

Man these girls is smart, Three Stacks, these girls is smart

Play your part…play your part.”


In reality, there should be no argument in the top 2, if you are a student in hip-hop.

If you don’t agree with the list.. @ me. (@grandmasterATAY)

 

“If you’re not first, you’re last”

-@GrandmasterATAY

 

 

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