Having grown up in the suburbs, and with the recent developments in American history. Ole JEB decided it’s time he tapped deeper into the culture of his people.
He drank deeply from it’s aged wooden cup and reflected upon who might be the 10 Most Important Rap acts alive. The overarching fact about rap music is that it’s importance to be cool and current, is reflected onto the music. This reflection of black culture is poorly representative of the true story of black past and present. Rap or hip hop is a myth. Stories told in a secret language by black Hulk Hogan’s. Drugs, guns, money. Is that why rap is trend setting in all culture? Which for some reason really deeply includes white suburbia. Not to get off on a rant, this list is not by any means definite. You’re going to hate one of these people for sure. Still, if most of these folks aren’t on your party playlist you might be missing out. So we need some rules because of Kendrick. He’s like the Akhenaten of rap. That’s King Tut’s dad, he was cool. The rules are they have to be alive, have a charted hit that is at least five years old and still perform today as a solo act or a group.
- Three 6 Mafia: North Memphis likes them. I define the trip six as Juice, Pat and DJ Paul. These pure hit makers won an oscar? For a movie in which the protagonist had his prostute fellate someone in trade for a used microphone. Dj Paul, Project Pat, and Juicy J are more than the “Most Known Unknowns”. They grew a crew of misfits which included the darkest man in rap Crunchy Black. Lil Wyte a 2010-2013 Gathering of the Juggalos alumni. They also had the best reality show on television “Adventures In Hollyhood”. Dj Paul did it all with a little arm too, legends.
- Method Man: He kept the ‘90s type of flow alive and vibing. Dirt McGirt (O.D.B) and Method Man were the only real remaining threat after the Wu-Tang breakup. Method Man was like the Marilyn Manson of Hip Hop, aggressive flows and collaborations with Fred Durst. He made oral health a fashion statement. He just kept an Oral B toothbrush in his mouth for a few months and that alone is a testament to Wu-Tang being for the children even in solo endeavours
- A Called Quest: R.I.P Phife Dawg. These guys are the most relevant Legends in the Game The last album has cemented their place on high in rap. The previous albums are best described as predictive courses in sampling poetry. They invented the now normal standard of a wide breadth of samples reaching back include black girl power 70’s bands and some weird ass band called The Cyrkle.
- Drake: I know, people either hate Jimmy from Degrassi, or love Aubrey Graham. Either way he’s your girls favorite rapper so he has to be on this list. If you saw any of his Coachella guest set you would agree fully. Yet if you heard his new english accent on More Life you might not. He’s helping Grime infiltrate! Singing rapper? You can’t cage rap. No one never thought rap would be arena worthy. Drake can’t fit his crowds into the standard rap venue. Those women would destroy the place! Women got drake on this list.
- Migos: Quavo, Offset and Takeoff. I dare you to try and fight these dudes over the Dab craze. They made it happen. In the game since 2009, they broke through in 2013. Ever since they’ve garnered comparisons to Gucci Mane and Future. It’s no surprise they all use the same producer Zaytoven. Known as the purveyors of the new flow. If Migos break up rap will change and people will search for that sound they have. Gritty and still somehow polished, like clean dirt featuring wild guns.
- Gucci Mane: Just how bold Gucci is alone lands him the five spot. A self proclaimed murderer, drug dealer and ice cream man. He’s the only person to go into jail with an ice cream cone tattooed on their face and have no problems. As a matter of fact Gucci was in jail during 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, he did a short stay in a psychiatric hospital for some of 2011. Then in 2013 Gucci went into jail for a gun charge until May 2016. How did he even have time to flow on Black Beatles? DId he record it over a jail phone?
- Future: A member of The Dungeon Family which is a famous collective of acts like Goodie Mob and Outkast. Future is the cousin of one of rap’s biggest producers Rico Wade. His success in “The Future” was predicted by his old name. Really though his takeover was more like Manifest Destiny. His album “Dirty Sprite” kickstarted a defunct drug company and lifted the street price of Actavis and Hi Tech Prometh Syrups to over $800 per bottle! He Influenced white business.
- Two Chainz: Well he’s got a few on. Pretty Girls Like Trap Music is the summer standard. Chainz not only turned in another hit record, he turned his old trap house into a museum. Formerly known as Tity Boi all the way back in 97. Chainz has evolved while growing his notoriety. Duffle bag boy no more Chainz keeps moving up. Guest spots on the View? What will he think of next.
- Kanye West: Clearly someplace in between Walt Disney and Jesus himself. Kanye West is rap. He won’t do what you want. He won’t do what you think. He doesn’t listen to what you’d expect. In 1996 Kanye started out as a producer. By 2001 Yeezy would have five tracks on the Blueprint! Three years later, he’d have his own album. Three months after it’s release, it goes platinum. September of the next year he would tell the whole county “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”. He did this standing next to Shrek! Next to Austin Powers! For the record George Bush never said he did care about black people. He said “I resent that” So, there’s that.
- Jay-Z: Sean Carter was born on December 4th 1969. Since that moment he’s been hustling. In 1995 he started his rise to one billion. This was the same year as one of the top 5 famous moments in hip hop history. The famed Big L freestyle battle. By 2001 Jay would release The Blueprint. One of the most fabled rap albums of all time. Recorded in two weeks, Jay also supposedly “wrote” the album in two days. We all know Jay doesn’t write, it all comes off the dome. He’s a sports agent, a former Nba team owner and, his wife is Beyonce! Jay-Z Wins.
Love it or hate it there it is! If you hate this list submit a counter point. If you demand someone be added, let us know! Just like rap, lists grow and change. They adapt and become more reflective of us all as individuals. Just wait till next summer.
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James Earl Brassfield or simply JEB is a writer, podcast host, humorist, actor and “Black Hunter Thompson” type madman of no ill repute. Language has yet to evolve fully to describe his unique view of Northeast Ohio and the world. JEB produces work across all media with his original and clearly stated voice. @Jearlbrass