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The Top 10 Rappers of The Decade

By Artisin Tags: Music, Rap

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

0diggsdiggShare The 00's weren't exactly the golden age for Hip Hop that the 90's were. The audience changed as well as the content of the music. The political and social problems that justified rap's aggression took a backseat to cars, girls, and bling bling. Gangsta rap became cartoonishly violent, without a rhyme or reason to the madness. Hip Hop went mainstream, and some would say lost it's identity in the process. Despite this, the 00's saw some 90's artists reach their highest potential, and spawned several new artists that we watched grow and change the game with each album. With that said, this list is not based solely on commercial success, nor is it based on lyrically prowess alone. So don't be too upset if you don't see your favorite rapper that sold 359,837,345 albums, or your favorite rapper who can rhyme every syllable in a bar. In order to accurately rank each artist, personal bias was thrown aside, and each artist was gauged by: Skill on the mic: flow, lyrical content, rhyme scheme, adaptability Song Crafting: Hooks, Hits, Concepts, Execution, Meaning Appeal: Persona, Style, Mass and Cult followings Albums: Critical acclaim, Classics, Cohesiveness
10) The Game

Skills on the mic: 8 Song Crafting: 8 Appeal: 8 Albums: 8 Why He Made The List: The Game may not have the same agility on the mic as some of his peers, and he tends to name drop too much, but his verses are intricately packed with gritty west coast street tales and hard multi-syllable rhyme schemes that both usher in a new breed of left coast rappers, and allude to the better days of west coast rap. Listening to The Game will mentally transport you into his shoes on a journey you'll never forget. The Game has gotten better with each album he drops, as he proved he could do it without the help of 50 and Dre. Expect Game to really blossom throughout the next decade and secure a higher position. Best Album: LAX (2008) Highlight Song: Dont Need Your Love Quotable: "My love for her is not about jewelry or cars I love her cause she loves me, just for who I are Who I is, who I am, resembles the rims on the Lam' I shine like Shyne when Barrington Levy was sayin' "Didilly whoooa!" I got love for the streets, peace to New York and every hood in the East Before I was ducking cops, gunshots, I used to be an LA Dodger, now I'm a(angel) From the city of lost souls, Impalas and polished gold Between the car, and the rims, we got a lot of chrome Your hood not alone, they knocking, we not at home And when they bust in, we not Caesar, but got it wrong Cause they try to wire phones, I'm talking Verizon phones The ones they put wires on, they got us on tap But I put wires on, my Bentley, in fact I spit it through the wires on a Kanye track" - Angel
9) Ghostface Killah

Skills on the mic: 9 Song Crafting: 8.5 Appeal: 8 Albums: 9 Why He Made The List: Ghost has been in the game since the beginning of the 90s, so if some of you '88 and up-ers are grimacing about his placement, get up on your rap game. Dropping his second solo album Supreme Clientele in 2000 with the hit song Cherchez LaGhost, the Killah got into his niche and evolved throughout the decade with each album often receiving above average reviews (except for maybe Bulletproof Wallets), and made him the sole carrier of the Wu-Tang Clan flag. His fans will testify that Ghostface does not disappoint. With Ghost's dexterity on the mic and story telling abilities, he is a tough contender for the crown, and we look forward to many more classic albums. Best Album: Supreme Clientele (2000)/ The Big Doe Rehab (2007) Highlight Song: One Quotable: "It was him, the corner store and a buttered roll The s*** dropped when I gave him two stomach holes One to the face, he fell sideways I was up close, so part of his nose was stuck to my padres Standin' over him shaking, kid screaming He slapped my girl, that's the reason why I was fiending to lean him Everything got real slow, I ain't hear s***, my word At least 40 seconds, I stood dead stiff I pound him with the gun out, Big Din came, opened my hand Removed the gun and the 16 spun out He floored past 90 on the BQE I threw up all on his door, splashed his Gucci seats I couldn't speak, I'm in a state of shock About now there should be yellow tape on the block, a raid at my spot Hey yo, I feel a li'l bugged out, insane I lost my mind People tellin' me, 'Ghost, you acting mad strange'" - Walk Around
Cool Royce Da 5'9

Skills on the mic: 10 Song Crafting: 8 Appeal: 7 Albums: 8 Why He Made The List: Royce is undeniably one of the best rappers spitting in the game right now. The peak of his lyricism and song making ability was on display in his Death is Certain album, which many critics and fans alike consider a Hip Hop classic. His Bar Exam mixtapes, especially the first one, have been home to some of his (and Hip Hop's for that matter) best verses. While his skills seem sharper than ever, Royce needs more songs like What I Know and Gun Harmonizing, and less songs like Far Away and Mines In Thiz if he wants to advance up the list to the spot he deserves. And with Slaughterhouse signing to a major label Royce is set to get the next decade popping immediately. Best Album: Death is Certain (2004) Highlight Song: T.O.D.A.Y. Quotable: "Every bullet's a note I write with a firing pin every time the trigger pull it's a quote Inside a poof full of smoke Sniffing lines of that gunpowder I'm hotterthan a pair of boots and a coat And a turtleneck The best rapper alive could be the best rapper that died I'm murderous If you ain't get it by now I'm suicidal I'm wild, a nigga better than me is who I ain't heard of yet So I ain't murdered yet He ain't even been born, his momma's a virgin, she ain't even furtile yet Prepare to get back - next time you take a s*** Stand and turn around and look in the toilet then compare me to THAT don't compare me to none of these motherf***in wannabe hustlers tough until they standin in front of me ducking it's off with yo' head nigga 'less you one of them Dodgers We sound off as one, we gun harmonize!" - Gun Harmonizers
7) Lupe Fiasco

Skills on the mic: 10 Song Crafting: 10 Appeal: 8.5 Albums: 9.5 Why He Made The List: Perhaps the most important, intellectual, insightful, and intriguing lyricist to come out this decade. Lupe Fiasco is what would happen if Nas and Jay-z had a baby. Lyrically he plays with words and creates metaphors so intricate that many of them fly over most listener's heads. Indeed it is impossible to catch every little detail in Lupe's music upon first listen. And thats the beauty of his music. He is a breath of fresh air in a stale culture of surface rappers. His relatively short duration this decade limits a higher position for the brilliant emcee, but Lupe is probably the best contender for the number one position if he can remain consistent and relevant enough over the next few years. With his third album Lasers coming out in the beginning of 2010 Lupe is ready to prove why he's the best. Best Album: The Cool (2007) Highlight Song: American Terrorist Quotable: "So through the Grim Reaper sickle sharpening Macintosh marketing, Oil field augering Brazilian adolescent disarmament Israeli occupation, Islamic martyrdom, precise Yeah, laser guided targeting Oil for food bartering, terrorist organization harboring Sand camouflage army men CCF sponsoring, world conquering, telephone monitoring Louis Vuitton modeling, pornographic actress honoring String theory pondering, bulimic vomiting Catholic priest fondling, pre-emptive bombing and Osama and no bombing them They breaking in my car again, deforestation and overlogging and Hennessy and Hypnotic swallowing, hydroponic coughing and All the world's ills, sitting on chrome 24-inch wheels, like that" - Hurt Me Soul
6) Lil Wayne

Skills on the mic: 8.5 Song Crafting: 10 Appeal: 10 Albums: 8.5 Why He Made The List: I know, I know. Your either pissed that Lil Wayne is not number one on the list, or that he is on the list at all. For the "best rapper alive" crowd, if commercial success were the driving force behind this list then Lil Wayne would be number one. And for the "worst rapper alive" crowd, go listen to The Carter, then insert foot into mouth. Lil Wayne could also qualify for the most improved rapper category, as he consistently became better lyrically from his Hot Boyz days, and matured artistically to become the icon that he is now. Without a doubt the hardest working man in showbiz, Wayne released a slew of new material mid-decade to amass an enormous following. However, Wayne has yet to release a true masterpiece. And while his artistry has taken on a new experimental path with tremendous success, his lyricism has suffered. If Wayne can figure out how to blend the "mixtape Weezy" with the "album weezy", then he can definitely be a contender for the throne. Best Album: The Carter Highlight Song: Go DJ Quotable: "I play the bulls*** from the backseat champ Yea I'm in the backseat still got the seat back Feet back stay from where the fake be at Niggas snitch for the shine, where the patience at? Nigga make his own brother face his back Give love and take it back Good grief man this world is quite heavy on my aching back Cops killing for crack, you know the story, snakes eat rats Face the facts you can't change him can't shoot it if you can't aim it Can't miss him, if he kill you then you can't blame him That's just how the dice roll when you can't fade him Get too deep up in that water and they can't save ya Me I come out of that water like I was just bathing And watch my step on the wet pavement Yea I'm from the hood so I rep 'em where I can't take em Holly Grove Holly Grove was his last statement So nigga get that look off your face And recognize you got a crook in the place They call me W-E-E crooked letter Y I'm so high I skeet skeet in any nigga dime like she's mine Street sweeper in the back of the hatch make me pop the latch Leave you bloody with the cops to match Bullet holes in ya speakers from the chopper blast" - Oh No
5) Kanye West

Skills on the mic: 8 Song Crafting: 10 Appeal: 10 Albums: 9.5 Why He Made The List: Lets get it clear, Kanye was the behind the scenes man that made Jay's Blueprint what it was thanks to his amazing production. In spite of this, Jay didn't give Kanye a chance to shine, so Mr. West decided that he would take the spotlight. Dropping four albums, Kanye improved lyrically and sonically with each installment. Lyrically Kanye is no Royce, but his verses are packed with wit and punch that make him a solid rhymer. Musically, Kanye's compositions tend to outshine his rhymes, but the overall song is usually nothing short of spectacular. While some consider the raw, lyric-focused College Dropout or the more musically inclined Late Registration to be his best work, it's Graduation where the rapper/producer finds his balance and delivers his most artistically mature album yet meshing the two sounds together, delivering what is arguably a Hip Hop classic of this decade. 808s and Heartbreak is a nice experimental album, but in the end it only served to tarnish his album track record. However, his influence is undeniable as even the once doubtful Jay-Z has begun to take on a Kanye-esq sound with his music. Best Album: Graduation (2007) Highlight Song: Through The Wire Quotable: "N-n-n-now, my flow Is in the pocket like wallets, I got the bounce like hydrolics I can't call it, I got the swerve like alchoooool-ics My freshman year I was goin through hella problems Still I, built up the nerve to drop my ass up outta collllllll-ege My teacher said I'se a loser, I told her why don't you kill me I give a f*** if you fail me, I'm gonna folllllllllll-ow My heart, and if you follow the charts, to the plaques or the stacks You ain't gotta guess who's back, you see I'm so Chi that you thought it was bashfull but this bastard's flow will bash your skull And I will, cut your girl like Pastor Troy And I don't, usually smoke but pass the 'dro And I won't, give you that money that you askin fo' Why you think, me and Dame cool, we a**holes That's why we here your music in fast fo' Cuz we don't wanna here that weak s*** no mo" - Get 'Em High
4) T.I.

Skills on the mic: 9 Song Crafting: 10 Appeal: 10 Albums: 9 Why He Made The List: Much like Wayne, this decade witnessed the growth of T.I. from just another average rapper to a hit making rapping machine. Each album T.I. released marked a growth for the former d-boy. I'm Serious and Urban Legend reflected the drug dealing ups and downs, and life in the projects of Atlanta while King proved T.I.'s hit song making ability and appeal with the smash What You Know. Dealing with the loss of his best friend, T.I. delivered the conflicted T.I. Vs T.I.P. where he fought with his inner demons and fears. However, his artistic development finally climaxed when he was busted for illegal weapons two years ago leading to his best album yet, Paper Trail, which showcased a lyrically, sonically and artistically sharpened Tip with a panache for creating swagged out anthems, while finally coming to terms with his past. With his cool southern drawl and confidant demeanor, no other rapper on this list has a swagger quite like his. Best Album: Paper Trail (2008) Highlight Song: Respect This Hustle Quotable: "A lot of little mes, I see, got beef But what's the possibility, stop, see, you not me Hardly worth a hill of beans, Step up to the guillotine Get decapitated, Don't see how half of you rappers made it Say good bye to the fame and the fortune c'est la vie What the game need with you, nigga? They got me I ride through the city so clean, Seat really low, auto-mo billies, so pretty, but I'm illy tho No comparison Ain't a nigga more thorough than this gangsta American Flow doper than heroin King like Evelyn, Champagne man So deranged and belligerent Ranked up there with Benjamin Who? Andre 3K, B.I.G., Jay-Z, UGK, Scarface, Makavelli the great, Wayne, Common, Kanye and Lupe So f*** what you say You welcome to ask who you made, Bet they say as of today, I'm back on top like a toupee" -56 Barz
3) Jay-Z

Skills on the mic: 10 Song Crafting: 9 Appeal: 10 Albums: 9 Why He Made The List: While he "dumbed down [his] rhymes to double [his] dollars", Jay still took a big stinking s*** over 99% of rappers out this decade. Jay combines wit, lyrical agility, and business and street smarts into his subject matter to captivate audiences by the millions. His album The Blueprint is considered a classic, and is listed in Rolling Stones top 500 albums of all time. That alone is enough to cement Jay's status as one of the best rappers of the decade. However some criticize Jay for changing, and crave another Reasonable Doubt. But in the words of Jay "I'm doing better than before why would I do that?" While none of his later albums could match the quality of The Blueprint, Jay continues to grow as an artist, adapting to the times to maintain his super power status. Best Album: The Blueprint (2001) Highlight Song: Heart of The City Quotable: "The game's f***ed up Nigga's beats is banging, nigga your hooks did it Your lyrics didn't, your gangster look did it So I would write it if y'all could get it Being intricate will get you wood, critic On the internet, they like you should spit it I'm like you should buy it, nigga that's good business Forget this rap s*** I need a new hustle A little bit of everything, the new improved Russell I say that reluctantly cause I do struggle As you see I can't leave so I do love you But I'm just a hustler disguised as a rapper In fact you can't fit this hustle inside of a rapper Back when crack was what these pills are, I was a real star complete with real cars, no video ones You can come and set up a camera, let the video run And my real life, complete with real, ice VVS boulders all invisibly set Head and shoulders, my invisible neck You see Hova wasn't digital yet Before Steve Jobs made the iPod I was getting hand jobs, we call that intimate Back when rappers wouldn't dare play lyrical roulette With a automatic weapon I was repping with a tech Fresh like Mannie be, chain like anti-freeze Shoebox full of cash, dealer man hand me ki's Pantries full of Arm & Hammer, don't take Nancy Drew to see what it do, I'm a damn G Just sent a million dollars through a hands free That's big money talk, can you answer me? Before the answer was a 3 I was down in Georgetown with a Hoya chick, lawyer chick Sure he's rich now cause he saw the s***, all this s*** That's why they call him Hov', cause he came before all this s*** Bought a 6, quarter seven, skipped on them quarter eights Bought a 9 for non-stop clock work all the time Guess who's back? Since this is a new era got a fresh new hat Ten year veteran, I've been set I've been through with this bulls*** game but I never quit I used to think rappin at 38 was ill But last year alone I grossed 38 mill' I know I ain't quite 38 but still The flow so Special got a 38 feel The real is back" - The Prelude
2) Nas

Skills on the mic: 10 Song Crafting: 10 Appeal: 9 Albums: 9 Why He Made The List: Hip Hop wouldn't be the same if Nas never existed. Probably the most capable lyricist on this list, Nas is responsible for what is perhaps the best Hip Hop album this decade - Stillmatic. His high profile beef with Jay-z also spawned Ether, arguably the best diss track in history. While none of his albums after Stillmatic could capture the same genius, they were great albums nonetheless, subtract the sub par Streets Disciple. What Nas lacks in star power, he makes up for in his mysteriousness and legendary status. His rhymes are written past the margin with poetic wordplay (Purple), brilliant social commentary (What Goes Around), wild concepts (Rewind, Book of Rhymes, Fetus) and vivid stories (Get Down, My Country, Sekou's Story). Nas proved this decade that not only is he still relevant, he is the most prolific rapper out since, well, himself. With a collaboration album between himself and Damian Marley dropping in 2010, along with a new solo album, Nas intends to top the list again in 2020. Best Album: Stillmatic (2001) Highlight Song: What Goes Around Quotable: "My skin is a art gallery, right? With paintings of crucifixes Hoping to save me from all the dangers in the music business Was once a young gangsta hanging with youth offenders But since I tasted paper it started loosening the friendships Watching kids freeze in winters, they still poor How could I tease them with Benz's, and feel no remorse? Driving past them in the lively fashion, diamond colors clashing Red stones, blue stones, red bones and black ones f*** did I expect? With bucket seats in a Lex And spending time in Chuckie Cheese with Little Des Got guns when I'm with my daughter Hate to bring a violent aura in her presence She knows what daddy taught her, it's lessons Black princess it's a ugly world I put my life up for yours, see I love that girl Could you believe even my shadow's jealous My skin is mad at my flesh, my flesh hates my own bones My brain hates my heart, my heart makes the songs Though my songs come from the Father I'm lonely...Hold me, it's getting darker" - Every Ghetto
1) Eminem

Skills on the mic: 10 Song Crafting: 10 Appeal: 10 Albums: 9 Why He Made The List: Its official. Eminem is the best rapper this decade. Maybe even of all time. His second album The Marshall Mathers LP dropped in 2000, and sits along with Stillmatic as best Hip Hop album of the decade. Throughout the MMLP Slim delivers electrifying rhymes that both shock and amaze including Stan, is one of the greatest stories told in Hip Hop. The emotion that Em puts into his songs is rivaled only by Tupac as evidenced by his bone chilling Kim, which had listeners ready to dial 9-1-1 thanks to its realism. Em also helped craft the Dr. Dre classic 2001, another one of the best albums of the decade. A slew of beefs kept Eminem doing what he does best - spitting. Creating some of the most entertaining disses in history against Ja Rule, Benzino, Canibus, Everlast and Jermaine Dupri among others. While Encore and Relapsedon't match the caliber of his earlier work in the decade, Slim Shady still proves that nobody is f***ing with him on the m.i.c. Best Album: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) Highlight Song: Stan Quotable: "That's why the city is filled with a bunch of f***ing idiots still (still) That's why the first motherf***er popping some s*** he gets killed (killed) That's why we don't call it Detroit, we call it Amityville ('Ville) You can get capped after just having a cavity filled (filled) (Ahahahaha) that's why we're crowned the murder capital still (still) This ain't Detroit, this is motherf***ing Hamburger Hill! (Hill!) We don't do drive bys, we park in front of houses and shoot and when the police come we f***ing shoot it out with them too! That's the mentality here (here) that's the reality here (here) Did I just hear somebody say they wanna challenge me here?? (huh?) While I'm holding a pistol with this many calibers here?? (here??) Plus some registration that just made this s*** valid this year? (year?) Cause once i snap i cant be held accountable for my actions that's when accidents happen, when a thousand bullets come at your house and collapse the foundation around and they found you and your family in it GOT DAMN IT HE MEANT IT WHEN HE TELLS YOU" - Amittyville

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