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 to figure 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.
Normally I try to have a little suspense or mystery about the weekly winners of the alphabetical rap battle that is The Hip Hop ABCs. Other than the Titanic movie I guess, most people don’t tune in when they know the ending already. Well, this isn’t some sappy movie about an ill-fated ocean liner.
This is the Hip Hop ABCs. This is the Letter K and it belongs KRS One.
Voting reached a consensus almost immediately when it came to the Boogie Down Productions frontman. That is more than we can say for Kanye West who is, in fact, a genius whether you like him or not. Kool G Rap is a legend that inspired a lot of 1990s golden era rap. Kendrick Lamar’s star currently shines bright and his talent reaches far deeper than his "Control" verse. Kool Herc literally started hip hop, but Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody.
He was the uniting force behind the 1989 anti-violence anthem “Self-Destruction” that would surely be placed in any respectable Hip Hop time capsule. KRS One’s career spans four decades and more than 20 albums. Kris Parker, a South Bronx native, has written books and starred in movies. “The Teacha” is in such demand still as public speaker that he could book an international tour today and not need to spit a single line. Don’t get it twisted though. He can definitely rhyme.
Seeing KRS One perform live is a bucket list item I’ve gladly checked. It should surprise no one who has heard me talk about hip hop for more than five minutes that he is my personal favorite. KRS One is also the undisputed king of the Letter K.
Did we get it right? Who gets your vote for this letter?
Infinite Skillz is a Hip Hop fan and emcee. Click here to find out more about his music.