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Philaflava's Top 100 Current MC's

by Travis on October 31, 2007

Once again, the new “Mind Squad” got together at to come up with the Top 100 MC’s CURRENTLY in the biz. Before the hate begins, because I know it will, let me explain a few things. There were five people involved in making the list, Jason Gloss, founder of Philaflava, who is fairly balanced in his tastes, B. Ware of Hobby In The Lobby, who I would also consider fairly balanced, Noz of Cocaine Blunts, who I credit with influencing me to start my own blog, and doesn’t hide the fact he likes the Southern and Hyphy hip hop, Blastmaster, who is a prominent contributor to Philaflava who is also strongly into the Hyphy & Southern hip hop movement. Then you have yours truly, Travis, of Wake Your Daughter Up and I don’t hide the fact that I’m more old school and into the indie/underground movement and don’t have much love for the majority of the Southern/Hyphy stuff currently out there. I like to think I have a fairly open mind, but I soon learned that I’m not as open minded as I thought I was.

The artist influence, importance, catalog, consistency and quality of material were all a deciding factors. It was NOT simply about skills. The five of us had to list our top 30 when taking those factors into account. Right off the bat, Noz and I had a discussion on the inclusion of Lil Wayne, which was just a sign of things to come. Here is my top 30 that I submitted at first. After some discussions, I probably would have changed it a bit afterwards and forgot a few artists as well, but oh well…

1. Jay-Z
2. Ghost
3. Kanye
4. Lil Wayne
5. Big Boi

6. Black Thought
7. Royce Da 5’9
8. Nas
9. Common
10. Sean Price
11. Phonte
12. Talib Kweli
13. Slug
14. Andre 3000

15. Devin The Dude
16. Lupe Fiasco
17. Saigon
18. Pharaoh Monch

19. Prodigy
20. Elzhi
21. Pusha T
22. Pimp C
23. Chamillionare

24. TI
25. Aesop Rock

26. Masta Ace (on strength of the upcoming eMC)
27. Redman
28. Blu
29. Wordsworth
30. One Be Lo

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular knows I am not a fan of Lil Wayne, but when I looked all the deciding factors, I had to include him in my list of top 30 MC’s currently doing their thing. After the five of us dropped our top 30, we debated, subtracted, added and dwindled it down to where we were all as happy as we were going to be. As I said, being the only indie/underground head in the whole group, it made for some interesting debates with Blastmaster and Noz. Noz wanted to include Trick Daddy, which I’ve always found pretty much talentless so we had an interesting discussion about that. I had to fight pretty hard to get Phonte included on the list as well. I will credit Blastmaster and Noz for hyping me to B.O.B. who I ended up liking.

I think most of the people that visit WYDU share similar views and tastes as I do, its only natural, birds of a feather flock together type of shit. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of people in an uproar over the list. Do I agree with the list? No, I don’t, but with five different people with five different tastes, this is the best and most non biased list we could come up with. Personally, I’d say about 25% to 30% of the list I’d drop. Shit, there are probably five artists that I probably never have heard, which to me kind of questions their importance. I’m not saying I know everything about hip hop, but I like to think I’m pretty deep into the music. None the less, here is the list. I’m expecting a lot of disagreement, and I’ll probably agree with most of it….but remember that a list is basically an opinion, so don’t go catching feelings over some bullshit internet list. Feel free to list your own top 10, who we might have missed (Rhymefest), or any other shit you want to get off your chest in an intelligent manner.

Philaflava’s Top 100 MC’s Currently

B. Ware tha Siniq (Philaflava/Ohword/
Blastmaster (Philaflava/MP3x Master)

Travis (Wake Your Daughter Up)
Noz (Cocaine Blunts)
Jason Gloss (Philaflava)

Writings, done by all of us…the half assed writing is mine….

100. Uncle Murda – While some have already cast Murder away as a gimmick shock rapper, if they took the time to listen to his most inspired material, 2 Hard For Hip Hop, they would see that he isnt some ICP/Necro groupie with NYC street cred. He has Redman’s voice, Jay-Z’s conversational style and the attitude and demeanor of a less patient BIG. His commercial appeal may be questionable in the short term, as he went over the deep end with the cop killing shit right before he got his deal, but in 2007 there are far less endearing subjects to get stuck on. Tracks like “Mind Full of Demons”, “Tell Em What They Want T Hear”, “Shootin and Missin” and “I Shot the Sheriff” show a ton of promise and should give even the staunchest o
f change resistant fans of raw NYC street rap at least a glimmer of hope for the future.

99. Gift of Gab

98. One Be Lo

97. B.O.B. – Everything you like about Andre 3000 and none of the bullshit you hate. The guy is a goldmine. Not only a tremendously talented emcee, but BOB produces huge sounding potential hits for a crop of young artists that will prove to be the future of Southern rap.

96. Supastition

95. Turf Talk – Turf spits sandpaper cadences against Rick Rock & Droop-E’s space ship landing soundscapes. Like his big cousin 40, he’s certainly an acquired taste, but one worth acquiring.

94. Inspectah Deck

93. O.C.

92. Casual

91. Tame One – A lot of people wrote off Tame shortly after The Artifacts split and while his ’06 release “Spazmatic” was completely forgettable, it was his ’07 mixtape “The Grudge” that allowed Tame to show-off his talent on “No Hook” and “Yes Yes Ya’ll.” He maybe an A&R nightmare, but he’s a producers dream. Now he just needs to find that producer…

90. Kool Keith – If you think Keith fell off, think again. It’s a number game; for every 10 albums he drops, 1 of them is bound to be dope and that one was “Project Polaroid.” Vintage Keith returned on “Diamond District,” “The Overviewer” and made every Ultra fan smile again with “Mechanism Nice” on the underwhelming Ultra release “The Best Kept Secret.”

89. El-P

88. KRS-ONE – What can you say about KRS that hasn’t been said before. Often considered one of the top three MC’s off all-time, KRS may not be what he used to be in term of relevance, but KRS proves he can still bring it on the recent release with Marley Marl.

87. Noreaga

86. Lupe Fiasco

85. Phonte

84. Reef The Lost Cauze – Reppin’ Philly, Reef is an MC’s MC. Armed with a dope voice and an ill flow, Reef comes hard on every track, ripping every line to shreds with his hard, in your face style.

83. Hell Rell

82. Fat Joe

81. MURS – He may not be “M.aking U.ndergorund S.hit” anymore, but MURS has definitely made enough noise to get signed to Warner Bros. MURS traded in his Power Peralta skateboard for a candy painted ’64 when he chills with the big homie Snoop Dogg or E-40, but he didn’t forget how to rhyme. Look for “MURS for President” as proof of that in 2008.

80. Aesop Rock

79. J.R. Writer – A mixtape rapper’s mixtape rapper. A one-trick pony for the most part, but he is really really good at that trick. 16 for 16, he is as good as any punchline rapper on the planet.

78. Apathy – Apathy’s metamorphosis from a backpacking punchline rapper into a gun-toting thugged out punchline rapper may lack authenticity, but its hard to argue with the resulting material. Eastern Philosophy is an excellent exploration of the typical gangsta-minded subject material, but it stands out because Apathy is intelligent, witty and not afraid to poke fun at himself. Songs like “All About Crime”, “Chemicals” “The Buck Stops Here” and “One of Those Days” are focused and well-executed efforts full of slick rhymes and varied flows that stand out against the typical battle rap whiteness that you would expect from Ap.

77. Juvenile – Juve improved drastically on the severely underrated “Reality Check.” Not only did his writing and flow tighten up, he had an opportunity to say some important shit and he took full advantage of it.

76. Slug – Despite what some may think of Slug, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t one of the more vivid rhymers the game has seen. Case in point, his recent “Sunshine” single which makes the listener feel the harshness of the hangover, the warmth of the sun on your skin or the breeze blowing through your hair while riding a 10 Speed. Sean also demonstrates the ability to cover more than just relationship problems with political views and deeper issues on his most recent studio LP.

75. Sadat X – By no fault of his Dot X was always in Puba’s shadows while in Brand Nubian. But this distinct nasally voice emcee arguably has the better career with a string of memorable guest spots and solo albums “Wild Cowboys,” “The State of New York vs. Derek Murphy,” “Experience & Education” and “Black October” under his belt.

74. R.A. The Rugged Man – A criminally slept-on emcee that’s been spitting since the early 9
0’s when he first signed to Jive as a teen. R.A.’s redefined his flow throughout the years and on tracks like “Chains” featuring Killah Priest and Masta Killa off his ’04 debut “Die Rugged Man Die” he showed the growth. Most recently he embarrassed Hell Razah, Tragedy Khadafi and Timbo King on “Renaissance” and took home “Rhyme of The Month” for his haunting lyrics about his father’s Nam stories.

73. Ras Kass – Rassy has fallen on hard times, but still commands the respect of the hip hop nation for what his potential could be. Long seen as one of the best left side lyricist, Ras Kass looks to rebound after a long battle with Capitol. He still spits ill rhymes on his recent string of mixtapes that show why he shouldn’t be dismissed.

72. Blaq Poet – Poet has been around for a long minute, first appearing back in the Queens Bridge/ Bronx wars. Recently, Poet has dropped his own solo project that demonstrates why he should still be considered on prominent MC that keeps the essence of New York alive with his gruff voice and hard ass delivery.

71. Talib Kweli

70. Mitchy Slick

69. Juelz Santana

68. Percee P – A boom-bap dinosaur that values stylistic perfection over innovation, diversity or pop appeal? Absolutely. But in a year when most of the number one singles will be remembered (or forgotten) for their dance steps and unintelligible lyrics, Percee and Madlib’s nineteen track smoked out throwback opus managed to walk the line between refreshingly old school and sonically innovative.

67. Kurupt – The Philly born lyricist was on fire during the Death Row days, but since its demise his career has been unstable and unimpressive to say the least. Like Ras Kass, Kurupt has all the talent to be one of the best. He’s an eastcoast lyricist with a westcoast mentality and that’s a fierce combination. Labeled as one of the greatest freestylers ever to appear on the Wake Up Show, Ricardo Brown has yet to fully capitalize on his talent. Until then he’ll always be that guy who was on “The Chronic.”

66. Rockness Monsta – The greatest voice in the history of rap music? Maybe. But Rock is a much more than just an excellent vocalist though. When he puts his mind to it he’s also one of the dopest lyricists in the game and the ultimate yang to partner-in-rhyme Sean P’s yin. With a Heltah Skeltah album being promised for 2008, there’s still hope for this Brooklyn resident who’s only stayed somewhat relevant through the years thanks to a couple mixtapes, an occasional guest verse, and a bunch of hooks.

65. Trife Da God

64. Boots Riley

63. Joell Ortiz – There weren’t a lot of solid front-to-back NYC hip hop releases in 2007, but “The Brick: Bodega Chronicles” was one of them. Whether Joell will be able to g-check Dre into letting him actually drop an album on Aftermath in the next five years is a big question though. Nevertheless, 2007 was a great year for Ortiz, enjoy your moment in the sun while it last Joell.

62. Project Pat – It is hard for any rapper to outshine Super Producer beats, but to do it consistently for over a decade is an incredible feat. With his signature flow and agressive lyrics, Pat has quietly been one of the best rappers in the South for a long time. After serving a 4 year bid, Pat, Paul and J droped one of last year’s most fun and creative albums and he started to get the attention he has deserved for a very long time. Even while Paul and J slip toward watered down, uninspired, comfortable mediocrity, a Project Pat verse is still something to behold.

61. W.C. – There are very few West Coast artists who release dope, cohesive, and well produced albums with the consistency of Dub C. From the days with Maad Circle, WC has been a stylistic innovator and an idiosyncratic gang-bangin’ rhyme master. With Guilty By Affiliation WC shows the hip hop audience that A) Ice Cube is still good for something (he executive produces one of the best produced albums of the year, and shows up for a great guest appearance on “80’s Babies”) and B) there is at least one West Coast rapper who sounds as hungry in 2007 as he did in ’97, or the early nineties for that matter.

60. Killah Priest – A year ago if I’d seen KP on somebody’s end of the year list I would’ve lost respect for their opinions on all matters hip hop, but in case you missed it, Priest dropped arguably the most lyrically impressive album of the year with The Offering. And despite the fact that most of the producer’s names look like the results from a random Myspace search, The Offering shows that Killah Priest still knows what good production sounds like.

59. MJG – MJG has always been an underrated emcee. Sure, everyone loves his work with 8-Ball, but No More Glory doesnt receive nearly the praise it deserves and for a long time his rotund rhyme parter garnered the majority of the accolades. While he crushed countless verses on Living Legends, it was his stand-out turn on Stay Fly that forced people to start paying attention again. While the duo’s work had been fairly even in the past, MJG seems more confident than ever and steals the show on Ball and G’s Ridin High. Relax and Take Notes.

58. Papoose – Putting out 30 mixtapes in 2 years is not exactly indicative of quality control, but in between the forced metaphors and wooden flows, Pap has delivered some excellent music. The Law Library and Game themed series are both excellent and with the right production, Pap has a great album in him. Hopefully this time off is an effort to avoid a Canibus-like fate.

57. Kanye West

56. Cassidy

55. Elzhi – 1/3rd of Slum Village; this ’01 addition to the group has been making noise for a minute in the D. Best know for his structured rhymes, El has destroyed SV tracks like “Time Travel” and “Reunion” and kicked things up a notch on Little Bro’s jawn “Hiding Places.”

54. Posdnous

53. Redman – Despite the moaning of disappointed Reggie Noble addicts suffering from severe withdrawal from his long absence from this rap game, Red Gone Wild still stands at the end of the year as one of the top 20 or so albums dropped in 2007. Not a great record, but it shows definitively that Redman is still a premiere emcee if given the proper production. Unfortunately the album is riddled with boring guest appearances and Erick Sermon’s lazy production of late. Hopefully ’08 sees the release of Muddy Waters 2 or the rumored second Meth & Red album.

52. Fabolous

51. The Game – Say what you will about The Game, but not many people can deny the fact this man hasn’t put out two great albums. “The Documentary” and “Doctor’s Advocate” may have been products of great production, but The Game is responsible for a lot of that success himself. Whether he’s beefin’ with Budden, Yuk, Ras Kass or the entire G-Unit, The Game doesn’t hesitant to end careers. Come to think of it, he may have ended it for Ras Kass.

50. GZA

49. Lil Fame

48. Masta Ace – Ace may not be the best lyricist with the dopest flow, but he is by far one of the most consistent MC’s the game has possibly ever seen. Ace paints vivid imagery on his albums and with the release of his “super group” on the horizon, Ace promises to reiterate why he deserves to be a top 20 MC.
Masta Ace Myspace

47. Young Buck

46. Trae – Restless was the one of the best albums of 2006 and Trae’s most complete work to date, but people are fucking up if they dont check his back-catalog. He was great as Z-Ro’s right hand man in Guerilla Maab and albums like the stellar Losing Composure were clear signs of the genius to come. Trae has been markedly adept at communicating the traditionally murky SUC sound to a new generation of listeners, and it looks as though Life Goes On will keep Trae batting at a high average.

45. Method Man – With some great, although too brief, appearances on the leaked “8 Diagrams” material and the still underappreciated 4:21 album last year, there’s reason to believe Mr. Mef still has a real hunger for making dope hip hop. And with his TV and Film career seemingly waning perhaps he’s finally realizing some more royalty checks might not be half-bad.

44. E-40

43. Young Jeezy

42. Killer Mike – Killer Mike has a perfect combination of aggression and humor. “I Pledge Allegiance” to “The Grind” are fantastic and if he can get his politics right he may be able to put out a classic. “The Juggernot”, “Dueces Wild” and “That’s Life” are great indicators of his potential.

41. 50 Cent

40. Pharoahe Monch

39. Crooked I

38. Brother Ali – A lot of people may spend time wondering what race he is, but you won’t spend much realizing how dope he is. Brother Ali is a breath of fresh air in Hip-hop. From his heartfelt lyrics to soulful swagger found on the ’07 release “The Undisputed Truth,” B.A. continues to impress which passing album.

37. Young Dro – Dro has a formula. It works. His incredibly original flow and cadences keep your attention as Young Dro educates the youth on a variety of subjects, via well-paced couplets, ranging from exotic seafood and European organized crime to car/fruit similies and Morgan Freeman-driven inspirational dramas.

36. Common

35. K-Rino - There are very few emcees who debuted in the 80′s that are still putting out quality music. There are even fewer who have the ability put out their best album in 2007. Worst Rapper Alive and Time Traveler were both dope, but Book Number 7 is an incredibly well-balanced display of lyrical dexterity and song making ability. K-Rino may be the best in the business at executing interesting and entertaining concept songs, and Book Number 7 finds a great equilibrium between that type of ambitious material, solution-oriented socio-economic political music and straight battle raps.

34. Prodigy

33. Ludacris

32. Tragedy Khadafi – While it’s brevity left a lot of fans feeling like it was just a teaser, The Death of Tragedy, was still one of the best releases to come out of New York’s scene this year. Trag has gone through many stages of development in his twenty-plus year, but his contribution has been largely unheralded despite the fact that he remains one of the defining architects of the Queensbridge sound.

31. Chamillionaire – Cham is still quite nice with it, but would benefit from a rhyme parter or a capable crew to trade 16s with. His flow can be a bit tedious without other emcees taking the edge off. A Color Changin Click reunion would be ideal.

30. Royce Da 5’9 – Often considered a throw back to be a throw back MC to the late 80′s when MC’s just went to the mic and ripped it to shreds. His voice and delivery are equal to no one, commanding respect on the mic. Royce demonstrates what exactly an MC means.
Royce Da 5’9

29. M.F. Doom – More in the headlines for alleged lip-synching or faux-heart attacks than his rhymes this year, MF remains one of the most compelling personalities on the independent scene. However, if DOOM is unable to capitalize on his previous brilliance and release some work on par with Madvillainy, MM…Food, or Vaudeville Villain, he will continue to drop in the ranks. Hoping for something as brilliant as Operation Doomsday seems out of the question at this point, but who knows, he’s been written-off before, a few times.

28. Kool G. Rap – Most rappers fall off, but perhaps because he’s never even gone gold, Kool G Rap’s hunger to spit jaw-dropping ill lyrics and cadences seems to never go away. It’s hard to think of even an individual track where he vocally disappointed, which means that the greatness of his work is largely contingent on the beats he has to spit over. Here’s to hoping there’s some serious heat on Half a Klip.

27. Z-Ro – It’s a little known fact that the Z in Z-Ro represents his lapsed Zoloft prescription. His constant string of records, usually patchwork performances recorded in between prison terms, play like hustlers suicide notes. While many rappers profess to explore the other side of the game, only H-Towns most depressed truly internalizes that struggle. And his technicality bears a rapid fire flow that most could only dream of.

26. Joe Budden

25. Sean Price – Sean Peeeeee! The hardest working man in Boot Camp is often lauded for his complex and humorous rhymes that make him one of the current favorite guests spot rhymers on the scene. P Body isn’t the most technical vocalist on the list, but always supplies the lines that make the listener pay attention.

24. Peedi Crakk – He’s possibly the illest Latino (well, half) rapper out right now. Whether he’s rippin’ shit with his fellow Philadelphians Beans, Freeway, Thought or remaking “Brand New Funk” with DJ Jazzy Jeff, you can’t front on Peedi’s show-stealing ability. Don’t be surprised to see this kid crack the top 10 in a few years—pun.

23. Saigon – Despite his stellar mixtape track record Saigon is still a little more hype than real thing at this point. While “Illmatic” comparisons and classic claims may be overly optimistic publicity stunts, there is a good chance that “The Greatest Story Never Told” will have a spot on everybody’s end of the year lists, if it actually drops.

22. Cormega – If anybody needs to write a paper about the poetry of rap music they should visit Cormega’s solo catalog. One of the most vivid lyricists in the game, his long-time independent status has kept him out of the public eye for the most part (hence also out of the top emcee lists of most publications). 2008 will prove to be a make or break year for Cormega though, who hasn’t dropped a solo in years, and continues to tease fans with compilations, instrumental albums and dvds.

21. Cam’Ron

20. T.I. – His recent troubles with the law and sub-par fifth solo release leave a salty taste in the mouth’s of TI fans all over America (and it’s not just cuz they need to brush their grillz). Just last year TI seemed the heir apparent to the legacy of Jay-Z, able to craft insightful lyricism, street bangers, love songs, and hood/suburb anthems all on the same record. But short of Johnnie Cochran rising from the grave there’s no way TI’s stock as an artist is going to go up in the coming years. Keep your head up, and give Mystical Toomp’s number on his way out Tip.

19. Raekwon – Armed with a mixtape every three months, Rae fights to keep his name in peoples mouths and on their minds. Often mention in the top tier of Wu lyricists, Rae spits the illest mafioso rhymes that provide vivid imagery of the crime game.

18. Freeway – There are very few emcees who manipulate cadence as well as Freeway. While he has been quiet for a while, tracks like “Paper Gangsters, “Criminal Opera” “Its Over” and “Step Back” provide assurance that he is still just as unorthodox and aggressive as he was in 2003.

17. Andre 3000 – Though it look like he’d succumbed to full term Baduizm, quitting rap in favor of fruity bullshit, a string of scene stealing guest appearances proved that he’s still one of the best rappers alive, when he actually wants to rap.

16. Scarface – The past two decades have seen Face slowly evolve from the brash lunatic fast rap gangsta of his early records to a slower, more reserved elder statesmen of Southern hip-hop. Simply put, no emcee has aged with as much grace.

15. Malice – What Malice may lack in aritstry in comparison to Pusha T, he more than makes up for with his stone cold flow.

14. Big Boi – One of the most consistent rappers ever, which truly is a feat when you take into account the guy he raps with. With his incredibly dynamic fl
ow and witty wordplay, Big Boi will always be the dependable part of an Outkast album.

13. Bun-B – With Pimp C handling the production (whether he’s making or choosing the beats), the hooks, the concepts, and his own verses, Bun B just has to be the illest 16-24 bar spitter he can be. Fortunately for both members of UGK, Bun is one of the nicest topical verse murderers on the planet. While his solo album had its highs and lows, and “Underground Kingz” may have been Pimp’s shining moment, Bun still has one of the most consistent careers and promising futures in the industry.

12. Black Thought – Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock or The Roots crew, you’ve missed one of the best lyrical performances in 2006 on “Game Theory.” This lyrically lyrical lyricist completely wrecks the album from start to finish. When Thought is on, not many are better. See “Web” and “Boom,” where he does an ill rendition of G. Rap & Kane on the ’04 release “The Tipping Point” or “In The Music,” “Here I Come” and the self-titled track ‘Game Theory” off the ’06 release “Game Theory.”

11. Devin The Dude – The undisputed crown prince of self deprecation rap. He smokes weed, he drinks brew. That’s all he raps about because it’s all he do.

10. Pimp C – Pimp C not only produced one of the year’s best LPs, but he provided some of his best mic work ever in 2007. He has always had a dismissive attitude towards pussies, but as of late Chad has taken not giving a fuck to new heights. Couple his brashness with what seems like an endless supply of different flows, and you get one of the best rappers doing it.

9. Jadakiss – Jadakiss is really the last hungry descendent from the BIG legacy that still has a chance to create a classic album. Based on pure rap skill there’s definitely an argument to be made that Kiss deserves to be in the top five, but until he realizes that his “I’ve got a song for everybody” type of albums lack cohesion and focus he will be relegated to incredible mixtape rapper status. Hopefully maturity and a little in between record label limbo will light a fire under his ass in ’08.

8. Styles P – One of the most influential “street lyricists” of the 20th and 21st centuries, chances are Styles P is your personal GOAT’s favorite current rapper. It has taken him a very long time to come out of the “the cat that’s not Jada, but is still good in the Lox” syndrome, especially after an album like Time Is Money. But this year Styles proved that given the right production he could still make a beast of an album (see: Ghost Sessions). Between that release, his par for the course (well, for him) demolition of the mixtape circuit (see: Independence and The Phantom Menace for all the proof you need) Styles appears to still be the one member of the Lox crew who’s capable of making a great album.

7. Pusha-T – The only thing holding Pusha back from being the best rapper alive at this point is probably Malice. Not because his older brother is better than him, or so weak that he drags Terrance down, but because they are such an ill dynamic duo that they will probably never go solo (or at least not for a few years). T’s arrogance is unparalleled, his wit is caustic and his rhymes are just brutal. Eghhhk.

6. AZ – Arguably the best lyricist on the entire list, AZ’s popularity will always been hindered by the shadow of Nas and the fiasco of The Firm album. From a pure artistic standpoint however, not becoming famous may have been the best thing to happen to AZ. He has no reason to create crossover attempts, or try to fit into any of hip hop’s current trends and fads, and is able to focus on making music that is sonically engaging and lyrically and stylistically superior.

5. Jay-Z – Once considered the best lyricist, Jay has slipped down the list after only a mediocre showing on his “Kingdom Come” release last year, but hopes to show back up with his new release dropping this December. Does Jay Hova still have it? We all shall soon see, but regardless, he still has to be considered one of the top ten best in this day of age and arguably top 10 of all-time.

4. Nas – So much can be said about an artist with such a controversial roller coaster-esque recording career. He’s capable of making classic material, he’s capable of making horrible pop crossover attempts (fortunately this seems to be largely behind him), and he’s capable of sounding completely uninspired over his equally uninspired production choices. Like it or not though, Nas is still one of the best rappers in the game and if “Less Than An Hour,” and “Surviving the Times” are any indication he still has another dope album in him somewhere.

3. Lil Wayne – If productivity is a signifier of genius then Wayne is rap’s Ray Charles. Though it’s been two years since his last proper solo LP, he’s spent that time churning out a seemingly endless string of verses, each delivered with a unique fractured style that is probably more indicative of a pillhead slur than any real ambition. But if that’s what it takes to get a rapper to try and do something different then so be it. And it makes his coherent moments seem all the more valuable.

2. Beanie Sigel – Few hip-hop artists embody the notion of career growth as well as Beanie Sigel. Most great rappers drop their classic album the first time out and spend the rest of their careers trying to live up to the hype of that first hungry record. Beanie on the other hand has arguably gotten better with each release. And considering B. Coming seemed to have been forced together rather quickly after a jail stint, my money is on “The Solution,” being a top contender for album of the year, whether it drops in 07 or 08.

1. Ghostface Killah – It’s fitting the most beloved rapper on Philaflava ranks numero uno on our list. GFK saved the
Wu and hip-hop for many of us. “Fishscale” may have fell short of the mark, but that didn’t stop him from crankin’ out “More Fish” months later. Whether he’s working on solo material, Theodore Unit projects, the Doom collabo and now “8 Diagrams” Ghostface Killah stays grindin’. The king of the underground may not ever make another “Supreme Clientele” but chances are whatever darts Ghost throws at us will be closer to the bull’s eye than others.

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