4:44 doesn’t have the number one hits, the dazzling pyrotechnics, or the naked competitiveness that Kendrick brings to bear on DAMN. Tell us what you think about this feature. There is no doubt that with that professor-level raps and velveteen vocals, Hill could’ve dominated the music industry for a decade at least. It was PE's last masterpiece, a glory to behold. The LP included hit singles "Area Codes" and "Rollout (My Business)," his highest-charting single to that point. A-B test TLET against De La Soul Is Dead, or any other contemporary release, at the same volume to hear the difference. There is no doubt that Rakim is one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. His performance on the record supported this, with a liquid delivery that mirrored the progression of the beat. At the time, though, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone — even the most cynical members of the anti-Eminem camp — who actually believed this; by then, he’d already leapfrogged his hip-hop peers to battle the likes of pop music’s finest when it came to sales and chart position. Emerging from Marley Marl's Juice Crew, the Brooklyn MC had a smooth confidence as he nonchalantly spit the most intricate bars he could write. Although Rick Ross' album God Forgives, I Don't debuted at No. His style was rooted in the wizardry of East Coast lyricism, but tracks like “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” branched beyond that foundation, also incorporating a no-nonsense precision that had been relegated to acts from other regions—Juvenile, Trick Daddy—who were gaining attention at the time. (and Puff Daddy). No matter how successful they got, they never lost that attitude, taking it with them as they stepped on stages and broke down barriers for hip-hop culture all around the world. And then, not content to rest on his laurels, he released Dedication 3, another mixtape with DJ Drama, before the year let out. We may never know the specifics of Drake’s writing process, but if one thing out of the summer’s controversy was crystal clear, it was confirmation that Drake’s final touch is intangible. 1 hit, "Heartbreaker." Game's success, though, was split with 50 Cent, who was a major part of both singles; ironically, Game ended up with the stronger release, but 50 had scene-stealing verses (and hooks) on the album's biggest singles. But one thing we know for sure, it’s more about a general feeling among fans rather than any discernible facts. He is also known for founding Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics and he also previously co-owned Death Row Records. Or maybe it just felt that way because Rakim’s otherworldly artistry had taken him to the furthest reaches of the cosmos, where light and sound take longer to reach planet earth and mere mortals can only do their best to play catch up as they follow the leader. We all know the story, whether we’ve read the Bible or not. Of course in hip-hop, being the best is intrinsically about being BIG. Known as DJ Run, "Kurtis Blow's Disco Son,” Run began to MC and honed his skills by battling with Blow. Prior to, he often leaned too far into the streets—despite his penchant for. He was a viable, competent artist in multiple arenas, and he had the discipline to incorporate his varied and conflicted missions into a single mantra. More impressive than the sheer productivity, though, was how assured the two projects were. He is one of the richest figures in hip hop with an estimated net worth of $820 Million. Meanwhile, as Run-DMC proclaimed the cash money gospel, another Rush Management client, BK's own Jimmy Spicer rapped about the power of "Money (Dollar Bill Y'all)" and scored the biggest hit of his career, as well as one of the year's freshest records. As history tells it, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana saved rock from the death grips of hair metal in the early ’90s. was born and raised in Brooklyn. Twenty-five years later, at 46, Q-Tip brought the members of A Tribe Called Quest together to record a new album. Riding the lesson of Snoop's ascent that how you say things can trump what you're saying, Method Man, Wu-Tang's first breakout star, employed melody to an equally addictive result. It is widely considered that Rakim’s rapping set a blueprint for future rappers and helped secure East Coast hip hop’s reputation. Despite the relative flop of T.I. on his own. Rookies and new jacks need not apply—this debate is strictly for the catalog artists, people who have shifted the culture in previously unmovable ways, artists whose music has permeated and resonated over an extended period of time. His current statue isn't best explained in his raps but by an image: The cover art to the Jay Z-assisted "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe (Remix)" featured a young Kobe standing next to an aging Jordan. He wasn’t floating on meticulous instrumentals with Redman and Method Man on this album, either. Instead, Chance’s persona is impressive because Chance has created a world for himself, out of the unlikeliest of parts, and 2016 was the year we all began living in it with him. He is the first hip hop artist to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song, won by the movie 8 Mile. —Rob Kenner. He rode into '94 on a string of guest spots with the likes of Mary J. Blige and Supercat, but things changed during that summer. With "Stronger," Yeezy scored arguably his biggest hit ever, another testament to his crossover appeal (and made Yeezy an early adapter to EDM). As his Trap or Die mixtape continued to gain steam nationally, his debut LP, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, was released. Most of us thought nothing of the shots Push took at Cash Money on the album’s final track, “Infrared,” but Drake noticed, and finally took the bait. On his 2013 loosie, “5 AM in Toronto,” Drake famously rapped, “Most number-ones ever, how long did it really take me?” Well, not long. In Sept. 1991, Q-Tip rapped that “the job of resurrectors is to wake up the dead.” He delivered the line in the same verse, on “Jazz (We’ve Got),” that saw him explain “the aim is to succeed and achieve at 21,” which is how old he was at the time. He also headlined the Anger Management tour, and he participated in both the Up in Smoke and Family Values tours as well, solidifying his fanbase in both hip-hop and hard rock circles. —Brendan Klinkenberg. Gangsta Gibbs has now given us two gems alongside Madlib the Loop Digga, mixing his Gary, Indiana traphouse raps with the legendary producer’s penchant for crate-digging. —Rob Kenner, CREDENTIALS: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. 3 dropped the closing days of 1999 and The Dynasty dropped 10 months later), but he was fresh off skating to four-times platinum, and he did drop two of his biggest singles ever, "Big Pimpin'" and "I Just Want to Love You (Give It to Me)." Many jaws (including my own) dropped to the floor when we heard Drake’s vitriol. He was previously married to Tashera Simmons. Timing plays a role in this success, but really, so much credit is owed to the fact that DMX was rapping with a truly original, at times jarring, audaciousness. Grandmaster Caz caught wreck on the Cold Crush Brothers joint "Weekend," and T Ski Valley took it back to his Erotic Brothers Disco days on the NSFW "Sexual Rapping." ", Finally, T.I. . And they were changing because of the Notorious B.I.G. What are the qualifications to be considered a great rapper in 2018? He’s trying to evoke exactly what his particular brand of happiness—one colored by empathy and nostalgia as much as pure moment-to-moment joy—feels like musically. Amidst all the confusion, a veteran stepped up and released the biggest single of his career. Not many people would take 1997's In My Lifetime, Vol. Hailed as the first to rap and DJ simultaneously, he earned the title Grandmaster Caz and became the standout member of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers, rocking countless park jams, recording singles for the Tuff City label, and battling the Fantastic Five in the seminal hip-hop movie, Wild Style. When he wasn't spinning records at Harlem's Rooftop Roller Rink, Lovebug was laying down raps. After coming out swinging with back-to-back No. Biggie was the most unavoidable voice in hip-hop that year, and for good reason. After the first misstep of his young career—an ill-advised album called Walking With a Panther—LL Cool J linked with Marley Marl and started rhyming like he had a chip on his shoulder. In 2010, Kanye West made a triumphant return to rapping full time. Future was born on November 20, 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA as Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn. So Much Fun was great because it was one of his most focused and cohesive projects yet, and the James Brown of rap was able to double down on his signature, forward-thinking style without making compromises. For what it’s worth, Luda was, over the first-half of the 2000s, rap’s commercial King. Other songs had him detailing that the reason he buys jewelry that mimics constellations and makes it rain when he’s in a club is to simply “hide the pain.” It’s all deep shit that, in the hands of any other MC, would make for super downer music. He became the first rapper to flood the market in a modern way that wasn't really possible (or expected) previously. After already selling millions, OutKast gained wider recognition with the release of Stankonia and massive singles like "B.O.B." Once again, he proved he has a better grasp than anyone of making music designed for internet consumption—even during a moment in which public opinion had swayed against him for the first time. Without dropping a solo project in 2015, Cole managed to make more moves than nearly everyone save for Drake. One of his best songs, “March Madness,” has him belting about having sex with women he really didn’t want to bed all because he was high as a giraffe’s ass. "—saw Rozay's once sluggish elocution evolve into a fluid dynamo. Down below we’ve mentioned, Widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, Christopher George Latore Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G.