It is nearly impossible to get a bunch of passionate hip hop fans to agree on anything. But I tried anyhow, starting with a series of polls on Facebook that aimed at figuring out which emcee or group was the best in the game as driven by the letters of the alphabet. No specific rubric or criteria was given; just a simple request for answers to the question, "Who is the best emcee or hip hop group beginning with the letter 'A'?; 'B'?; 'C'?; 'D'? …" and so on. The responses were immediate and spurred some pretty spirited discussions. A general consensus was ultimately reached for each and per the request of Music Editor Leilani Polk, I'm bringing the poll results to Ear Buds. Each week, I'll reveal a letter and its "winning" artist, and then I'll re-open the question for further debate. Once we finish the first 26, we'll start it all over again fresh.
Canibus, Cage, The Clipse, and the Cold Crush Brothers (shoutout to Charlie Chase) all got love and were mentioned, but this was a one-emcee race. This cunning linguist (see what I did there) is widely regarded for his ability to freestyle and still spit consciously. One of the things his longevity has meant is battles against Ice Cube during rap’s golden era and much more recently against Drake. He won both those battles and the letter C.
Chicago’s emcee laureate, Common, is a rare artist who has always enjoyed critical acclaim yet found a way to achieve financial success well after becoming a household name. His 1994 hit I Used To Lover H.E.R. is one of the best concept records in Hip Hop history.
He was an inaugural member of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label in 2004 before launching his own Think Common Entertainment in 2011. He has even displayed his talents in the White House when fellow Chicago favorite son President Barack Obama extended him the invitation that same year. The Executive Branch gave him its vote of confidence. Do you?
Infinite Skillz is a Hip Hop fan and emcee. Click here to find out more about his music.